medicinal uses of lady's mantle

Medicinal Uses of Lady's Mantle

Medicinal Uses of Lady's Mantle

Lady's mantle is a traditional Western herb that has many medicinal uses particularly for female reproductive issues including strenghtening the uterus post-partum and relieving heavy menses.

It could be a great ally to many women, however, it is important to remember that it is not exclusively a female remedy and its astringent actions can be used like yarrow for diarrhoea, in hernias, cuts or wounds.

History and folklore

Lady’s mantle leaves are said to resemble the Virgin Mary’s cloak and it also has an affinity for the female reproductive tract so it is aptly named.

The Latin name Alchemilla is a derivative of the Arab word Alkemelych, which means alchemy, and was named for the plant's magical powers (Grieve, 1973). Alchemists at one time made use of the dew droplets that collect in the plant’s leaves for preparing elixirs (Holmes, 2006).

In Germanic tradition, Lady’s Mantle is an herb of Freya, used in fertility magic and for protection. (Wood, 1997)I. t is also associated with Fairy lore - it is said that the Fairies too (as well as alchemists) appreciate the sacred dew, which they collect and drink as a magical elixir. This dew can be used to cleanse the third eye to perceive visions and other dimensions.

Main therapeutic uses of lady's mantle

Lady’s mantle astringent action is due to its high tannin content and is used to allay excessive menstruation but the astringency also has actions for wound healing and digestionparticularly diarrhoea and ulceration. (Bartram, 1998).

It has been used as a uterine stimulant but perhaps is best for used for toning the uterus after childbirth. (Wood, 1997). It can be used to relieve period pains and to regulate periods, and was a traditional remedy for inducing sleep. It is also high in salicylic acid reduces inflammation in the digestive and reproductive systems.

Lady’s mantle can be used externally for vaginal discharge, irritation and infection. It also makes a good skin lotion for rashes such as eczema, cuts and wounds, sores and insect bites (McIntyre, 1994, p. 110).  It can be used as a mouthwash for bleeding gums, mouth ulcers and sore throats. This has been evidenced in the below study where topical application of 3% extract in glycerine (Aptarine) to minor mouth ulcers relieved discomfort and produced complete healing in the majority of patients (60.4%) within 2 days and in 75% within 3 days. (Shrivastava & John, 2006).

Monograph for Lady's mantle

Latin name:Alchemilla vulgaris, Alchemilla mollis (identical to vulgaris but generally has larger leaves and so used interchangeably)

Common names:Lady’s mantle, lion’s foot, bear’s foot, nine hooks, great sanicle

Plant family:Rosaceae

Parts used:  The leaves and flowering shoots collected between mid-summer and late summer when in flower. (Hoffman, 1996)

Habitat:Lady’s mantle is found throughout Britain and Europe. Predominantly found in pastures, banks, mountain slopes, roadsides and wood sides, it is also grown as an ornamental garden plant across the world.

Botanical Characteristics

Lady’s mantle grows to around a foot high, it largely green until it flowers around June to August a yellow inflorescence. It is a perennial and the plant is entirely covered with soft hairs. The lower, radical leaves are 6 to 8 inches in diameter kidney-shaped in general outline, ‘with their margins cut into seven or mostly nine broad, but shallow lobes, finely toothed at the edges from which it has obtained one of its local names ‘Nine Hooks’. The upper leaves are similar and either stalkless, or on quite short footstalks and are all actually notched and toothed. A noticeable feature is the leaf-like stipules, also toothed, which embrace the stem.’ (Gökçe, Selen, & Müberra, 2018)

Herbal actions

Lady’s mantle has numerous actions such as: astringent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, emmenagogue, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory (Grieve, 1973)and it’s energetics are bitter, cold, dry (Holmes, 2006).

Dosage ranges

  • 2-4ml tincture 3 times a day
  • 2-4g thrice daily
  • Vaginal douche: 60 grams in 1 litre of boiling water. Infuse 30 minutes. Inject warm for leucorrhoea, candida, inflammation; or as a lotion for pruritus.
  • Decoction (roots) offer a powerful deterrent to passive. bleeding. (Bartram, 1998)

Safety issues

There are no known safety issues but it is recommended to avoid during pregnancy. As an energetically cold, astringent plant it is also contraindicated for cold spleen conditions. (Holmes, 2006)

Ecological and conservation issues

A paper published in 2009 stated that five Alchemilla species should be considered threated and in urgent need of conservation action. A survey conducted since early 1950’s showed a loss in species ranging from 20-100% in locations in Teasdale and Weardale. They posit this is due to loss of meadows, intensive farm management and increase in motorised traffic. (Bradshaw, 2009)  Fortunately, Lady’s mantle is easy to grow domestically so one would advise cultivating the plant over foraging.

Bibliography

Bartram, T. (1998). Bartram's Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine.London: Constable & Robinson.

Bradshaw, M. (2009). The decline of Lady's mantles (Alchemilla vulgaris L. agg.) and other hay-meadow species in Northern England since the 1950s. Watsonia(27), 315-321.

Culpeper, N. (1645). The Complete Herbal(Reprint 1995 ed.). Ware: Wordsworth Reference.

Gökçe, Ş. K., Selen, İ., & Müberra, K. (2018). Antiradical, antimicrobial and cytotoxic activity evaluations of Alchemilla mollis (Buser) Rothm. International Journal of Herbal Medicine , 6(2): 33-38.

Grieve, M. (1973). A Modern Herbal.West Molesey, Surrey: Merchant Book Company.

Hallmann, C. A., Sorg, M., Jongejans, E., Siepel, H., Hofland, N., Schwan, H., . . . de Kroon, H. (2017, October 18). More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas. PLoS ONE , 12(10).

Hoffman, D. (1996). The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal.Shaftesbury: Element Books Limited.

Holmes, P. (2006). The Energetics of Western Herbs(Vol. 2). (F. Edition, Ed.) Boulder, Colorado: Snow Lotus Press Inc.

Jonadet, M., Meunier, M., Villie, F., Bastide, J., & Lamaison, J. (1989, Jan). [Flavonoids extracted from Ribes nigrum L. and Alchemilla vulgaris L.: 1. In vitro inhibitory activities on elastase, trypsin and chymotrypsin. 2. Angioprotective activities compared in vivo]. J Pharmacol, Jan-Mar; 17 (1): 21-7.

McIntyre, A. (1994). The Complete Woman's Herbal.New York City: Henry Holt.

Ozbek, H., Acikara, O., Keskin, I., Kirmizi, N., Ozbilgin, S., Oz, B., . . . Saltan, G. (2017). Evaluation of hepatoprotective and antidiabetic activity of Alchemilla mollis. Biomed Pharmacother., Feb; 86: 172-176.

Plonikov, M., Aliev, O., Andreeva, V., Vasil'ev, A., & Kalinkina, G. (2006). Effect of Alchemilla vulgaris extract on the structure and function of erythrocyte membranes during experimental arterial hypertension. Bull Exp Biol Med., 708-11.

Shrivastava, R., & John, G. (2006). Treatment of Aphthous Stomatitis with topical Alchemilla vulgaris in glycerine. Clin Drug Investig, 25 (10): 567-73.

Wood, M. (1997). The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines.Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.

 


natural remedies for period pain

Natural Remedies for Period Pain

What natural remedies can you use for period pain?

There are lots of natural remedies for period pain (dysmenorrhea) caused by intense menstrual cramps.  However, it is important to understand why these happen in the first place. Endometriosis, fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease can cause pain during a period.

Also there is an emotional connection with our psyche and our womb. High levels of stress and anxiety can also trigger cramping and spasms during a period.

Why do we get period pain?

There are hormone like chemicals called prostaglandins which stimulate the uterus to contract to shed the lining of the uterus (endometrium). The shedding of the endometrium is the bleeding part of the period!  However, high levels of prostaglandins can cause cramping and pain during your period.

These prostaglandins are derived from arachidonic acid which is an omega 6 fatty acid. A lot of our diets are high in omega 6 and low in omega 3 which is anti-inflammatory and may reduce prostaglandin levels for an easier period. This is one of the reasons why we can ease period pain with diet!

Nutritional Support for Period Pain

  • Omega 3 fatty acids- these are found in oily fish, grass fed meat such as lamb, seaweed and nuts and seeds and are the anti-inflammatory heroes for period pain! As well as increasing omega 3- also try to lower omega 6 which is found in vegetable oils such as sunflower seed or rapeseed (canola).
  • Magnesium- this great mineral can also lower prostaglandins and relax the muscles to ease cramps. You can supplement or ensure you are eating lots of dark, green leafy vegetables like broccoli and kale which are also high in magnesium!
  • Ginger-adding this warming spice to your food or having a tea has also been found to relieve period pain.
  • Calcium- studies have shown calcium to be very successful at reducing period pain. This is high in nuts, oats, spinach, beans and dairy products.

Herbal Remedies for Period Pain

Even if we eat the best diet, we are human so can still get period pain! Therefore, its great to have some herbs on hand too to help you if you if a hot water bottle is not going to cut it! My favourite herbs are:

  • Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa)
    • Wild yam is anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. This means it reduces pain and inflammation associated with uterus and ovarian cramping. It relaxes the central nervous system and also may help with hormonal imbalances through promoting liver detoxification.
  • Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
    • I love Motherwort because relieves feelings of anxiety and nervousness. This can often cause tension and pain in the body. The botanical name Leonurus cardiaca means heart of a lion so it provides strength and courage! However, Motherwort also benefits and promotes blood flow to the uterus. This makes it the perfect herbal ally for period pain!
  • Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)
    • Black cohosh is a well-known herb that relieves symptoms of the menopause. However, it also is used to treat period pain. It has pain killing actions and eases cramping of the uterus. It is effective for fibroids and also helps bring on periods if they are delayed.
  • Crampbark (Viburnum opulus)
    • The clue is in the name! This herb can be applied topically and also taken internally to relieve menstrual cramps. It relaxes the tissues and blood vessels to calm down spasms.
  • Jamaican Dogwood (Piscidia erythrina)
    • This is a powerful herb that should only be used in small amounts as directed by a herbalist.  However, it does have a profound effect on relieving uterine cramps and reducing pain quickly!

Want to know more....

If you want to learn more about managing your menstrual cycle then I have just the solution! I teamed up with the Empowerment Coach Ellen Million to share coaching and nutrition tips for a balanced body and mind during your period cycle in this webinar all about managing your moon cycle! You can buy it to watch today today here. It also comes with a free PDF summarising all the key points.

Natural remedies for Period


hormonal balance and menopause

Power of Menstrual Blood and Stem Cells

Power of the Period

Did you know that menstrual blood contains stem cells?

These amazing cells are the only cells able to specialise and turn into any type of cell in the human body. Therefore, a stem cell has the potential to become anything! For example; a skin cell or brain cell.

This is why there is a lot of research in using stem cells to replace existing damaged cells through injury or disease. By replacing damaged cells with stem cells then we could effectively regenerate our bodies!

Previously, it was thought that only embryos possessed these stem cells. This is because a developing baby needs these stem cells to then turn into the bits of the body they need. This of course poses ethical issues in the field of stem cell research if they are to be studied.

However, it has been discovered that menstrual blood also contains a special kind of stem cell that has the ability to turn into other cells. Therefore, the stem cells in menstrual blood could be used in a similar way!

Some people are already storing the blood from their babies umbilical cord so that their stem cells can be used in the future for life saving treatment.

Imagine though if we are able to use menstrual blood instead! The implications could be that every month women have the power with their own blood to regrow damaged organs and tissues and even reverse the ageing process.

Even more mind-blowing....these cells can be transplanted into anyone without rejection!

Rediscovering Ancient Knowledge

I learned about the power of menstrual blood and stem cells in Womb Awakening by Azra and Seren Bertrand.

I was amazed to learn that many sacred texts in ancient cultures also speak about the incredible power of menstrual blood to promote health and longevity.

The Baul mystics of India ingested it as the most powerful and holy of bodily fluids. It was reputed to enhance their memory and allow them to access different states of consciousness suffusing them with happiness, serenity and love.

The concept of vampires may have originated from womb shamans in Russia known as the upir who may have also drunk menstrual blood and knew the ways to prepare it with herbs to prevent coagulation and destruction of the the stem cells.

Are we now using science to reclaim some lost knowledge about how powerful periods really are?!