Homemade Cosmetics: Lady‘s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris)
In medieval times, alchemists used to collect rain water from the leaf centers of lady’s mantles because they believed it possessed magical and medicinal powers. This belief probably stemmed from the plant’s generic name, which comes from the Arabic word “alkimiya” (universal cure for disease).
Today, we might not believe in magic as much as our medieval ancestors used to, but we can still make use of the plant’s potential, which lies mainly in cosmetics and the treatment of female ailments.
Lady’s mantle is a humble plant native to cool temperate and subarctic regions of Europe and Asia, with a few related species native to the mountains of Africa and the Americas. It can grow up to 1 ft 3 inches / 40 cm in height. Particularly unmistakable are its leaves, comprising seven to eleven lobes forming the typical shape of a 3/4 circle. If lady’s mantle grows in calcareous soil, its leaves can have a slightly silvery film on them. The blooms are tiny and inconspicuous with a green-yellow color. Thanks to its humbleness we can find it practically anywhere from lowlands to submontane areas, around brooks, on meadows or on the edges of roads.
The stem contains mainly tannins, bitter compounds, a bit of salicylic acid, essential oils, organic acids and a lot of minerals. Since ancient times, this herb has been recommended mainly to women for gynecological problems.
PICKING THE HERB
The best time to pick lady’s mantle is from May to September, during sunny weather, late in the morning after the dew evaporates. The stem has the biggest medical potential. It is best when used fresh, but can be dried at a temperature of 104°F / 40°C. It is best stored in sealable jars.
Lady’s mantle has regenerative effects which are especially strong on the female body. Why that is, is not really known. Tincture from lady’s mantle can be used in mouthwash for its anti-inflammatory effects and for its high tannin content which helps stop bleeding. As an infusion, it regulates the production of oily skin secretion – that is why it is very suitable for treating inflamed skin and acne. Its oily macerate is suitable especially for pregnant women, because it prevents stretch marks from appearing. Its skin-stretching effect can also be used to battle wrinkles.
First, we are going to need a lady’s mantle tincture. Put a fresh lady’s mantle stem in to a clean glass and sumerge it in 40% alcohol (vodka or some spirit is suitable).
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