What to grow with Alchemilla mollis

With its frothy lime-green summer flowers and attractive apple green leaves, Alchemilla mollis is a delightful plant in its own right. But it really comes into its own when paired with other plants, especially those that have magenta, red, dark blue or purple flowers.

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Alchemilla mollis, otherwise known as lady’s mantle, thrives in sun or part shade, so it’s very versatile and useful around the garden. Grown as a ground cover or front of border plant, it can act as the ‘glue’ that brings a planting scheme together. It can also be used to underplant larger plants, such as roses.

A popular cottage garden plant, it also lends itself to more contemporary planting schemes. It also makes an excellent cut flower.

For best results, grow in moist but well-drained soil. If it is cut back hard after flowering, it should produce a second flush of flowers in late summer.

Here are some summer-flowering plants that go especially well with Alchemilla mollis.

Alchemilla mollis really comes into its own when paired with other plants, especially those that have magenta, red, dark blue or purple flowers.

Hardy geraniums

Alchemilla and hardy geraniums in shades of blue, magenta or purple make wonderful planting partners. Both thrive in sun or shade, making this a versatile combination. Both plants will benefit from a being chopped back after flowering to encourage more blooms.

Contrasting lime alchemilla and purple hardy geraniums

Alliums

With purple, pompon flowers on tall stems, alliums look great underplanted with frothy Alchemilla mollis. The strappy foliage at the base of the plants can look unsightly as it dies back and lady’s mantle can do a good job of concealing it.

Mauve flowerhead of allium ‘Purple Sensation’

Geum

The acid bright colours of geums such as ‘Scarlet Tempest’, (pictured), ‘Tangerine Dream’ or ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’ contrast beautifully with the lime flowers of lady’s mantle. These two plants are a good combination for a cooler part of the garden, out of direct sun.

Orange-red geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’

Honesty

Honesty, Lunaria annua, is grown for its fragrant purple or white flowers in spring and early summer. The purple type pairs especially well with Alchemilla mollis. It’s usually grown as a biennial and seeds itself freely around the garden. A good combination for a sunny or partially shaded spot.

Purple flowers and seedpods of honesty

Peony

Peonies have sumptuous but fleeting flowers in a range of colours from white to dark crimson. Growing Alchemilla mollis at the base of the plant complements the jewel flowers and provides interest once the peony has finished flowering.

Pink bloom of peony ‘Hawaiian Coral’

Penstemon

Penstemons also have flowers in a range of colours, from white to purple and from pink to deep red, all of which complement those of lady’s mantle. Their long narrow leaves contrast with the rounded leaves of alchemilla, too. A good combination for a sunny spot.

Pink-red penstemon ‘Razzel Dazzel’ planted with lime-green alchemilla

Roses

Roses tend to have ‘bare legs’ so any plant that can disguise this is very welcome. The soft mound of Alchemilla mollis is the perfect supporting act to all kinds of roses and the lime green flowers complement flowers of any colour.

Advertisement Pink rose ‘Buxom Beauty’

Salvia

The acid green of Alchemilla mollis complements many salvias, especially those with pink, purple or dark blue flowers, such as Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’, shown here. The mounded form of the lady’s mantle contrasts beautifully with the tall flower spires of salvias, too. A good combination for a sunny spot.

Deep-purple salvias standing out against a bed of alchemilla

Caring for Alchemilla mollis

Grow Alchemilla mollis in moist but well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Cut back the foliage hard once it has finished flowering, then feed. This will encourage a new flush of leaves and more flowers in late summer.

Lady’s Mantle, Alchemilla mollis: “Gentle Alchemy”

Alchemilla mollis is ubiquitous in English cottage gardens for good reason. Lady’s mantle is an unfussy, low-maintenance plant that looks fabulous at the front of borders from early spring, when foliage starts to appear, through late autumn.

This herbaceous perennial, which is semi-evergreen, produces a neat mound of lush scallop-shaped leaves that are finely serrated at the edges. From June to September, the plant also produces frothy sprays of vivid chartreuse flowers. These well-behaved mounds look wonderful in and around paving and paths, and the color works particularly well with rusty-toned brickwork and terracotta.

Photography by Britt Willoughby Dyer for Gardenista.

Above: Lady’s mantle mingles with daisies (Erigeron karvinskianus) at the front of a border. A nine-by-six-centimeter pot of Alchemilla mollis is £14.97 for UK readers, at Crocus. Alchemilla looks particularly stunning after rain or first thing in the morning when iridescent water droplets sit like jewels on top of the leaves; these beads of water were said to be used by alchemists, hence their Latin name Alchemilla. Mollis is taken from the Latin for “gentle.”

The plant’s common name is said to have come from an ancient legend of it being used to adorn the Virgin Mary, as her cloak was thought to resemble its scalloped leaves.

Above: For US readers, Alchemilla Mollis is $10 at the Monticello Shop.

Cheat Sheet

  • As a front-of-the-border plant, lady’s mantle is an excellent foil to blues and purples, pairing particularly well with other garden stalwarts such as the cranesbill geranium ‘Rozanne’.
  • This adaptable plant will grow in almost any position from dry shade to full sun, although in the latter it will need watering. In shade it looks wonderful paired with lacy ferns and velvety hostas. It’s also rabbit- and deer-proof.
  • This plant will self-seed, which for many gardeners is a welcome addition. (Cut down the flowering stems before they set seed if you want to keep it in check.)
  • The acid flowers are popular for cutting and can be used fresh or dried.

Above: A gravel path’s edge is softened by plantings that spill over into the walkway: ferns, euphorbia, and Alchemilla mollis. See more of this garden bed at Old-Lands: A Modern Welsh Garden from a Bygone Age. Photograph by Britt Willoughby Dyer.

Keep It Alive

Cut any remaining foliage to the ground in early spring and it will quickly start to regrow. After the first flush of flowers, cut the stems back and the plant may produce another wave of flowers.

Give these plants space to grow, allowing at least a foot around them for growth and good air circulation. To produce new plants you can divide established mounds in spring or autumn and replant.

For more growing and care tips, see Lady’s Mantle: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design. For more of our favorite companions to plant with lady’s mantle, see our curated Garden Design 101 guides to Flowering Perennials and Ground Covers, including plant guides for Bacopa, Ivy, and Alyssum.

Alchemilla Mollis, Lady’s Mantle

Alchemilla Mollis, Pleasant Partner-

Experienced gardeners often rave over Alchemilla mollis. It is also a favorite among flower arrangers. Perhaps the velvety green leaves with their full moon scalloped edged shape, or maybe the fine filigree filler of the flowers that are the distinct chartreuse color that is bright, yet blends so well. Whatever the draw, this is a very choice plant for your garden.

Such pretty leaves

Photographers and gardeners alike are fascinated by the way dewdrops glisten in perfect little globules on the leaf surface. Like tiny reflecting globes scattered across its surface

botanical drawing

The leaves are its biggest attraction:scalloped dishes of green with a peach fuzz texture. They grow in a low mound shape. The flowers are a chartreuse to yellow color which match up exactly with Ruta graveolens, herb of grace; a froth of foam atop stiff stems that don’t quite seem able to carry them.

Easy to grow – everyone says so, and amenable to both sunny and shady situations, this is a flower that I first met in the books of famous English gardeners. That meant I had to grow it just to see what all the fuss was about. In my drier conditions it is not as prone to romp, but holds it’s own. Average soil in moist and well-drained position, it will grow best with some shade. It doesn’t care to dry out, so keep it watered in dry weather; mulch also is welcomed by Lady’s Mantle.

The small yellow-green flowers of lady’s mantle*

In cottage gardens, herb gardens, and shade gardens, Alchemilla mollis may have a home. It is an old fashioned favorite, and yet its color is modern. Favored for cut flowers due to their mellowing and blending visual qualities, they are perfect filler flowers and the leaves create interest. Try them as edgers, or a different kind of groundcover, although they are not evergreen; most of the seasons of the year the Lady’s mantle will provide a weed suppressing cover under crabapple, or other small, trees. I like this choice plant in partnership with meadow sweet, which blends in colors and flowers, but has a different leaf structure of fine filigree.

I called Alchemilla a pleasant partner because it goes so well with other plants, yet without losing its own personality.

The root and leaves are said to be edible, but I haven’t tried them; it also has medicinal uses: a healing herb for women, it contains salicylic acid and has sedative properties.

The whole herb is gathered in June and July when in flower and when the leaves are at their best, and dried. The root is used fresh.

“Lady’s-mantle has been used very little in the kitchen. The young leaves can be added to tossed salads as a bitter accent. In northern England at Easter time, leaves of lady’s-mantle, bistort (Polygonum bistorat) and lady’s-thumb (Persicaria vulgaris) were mixed with oatmeal and barley and boiled in a bag to make an herb pudding known as Easter mangiant.” –Herb Companion

The legend of the Lady’s Mantle follows that a medieval princess fell helplessly in love with a young serf. Upon hearing of the romance, the king imprisoned the fair maiden; in his grief, the serf would walk the fields each morning and gather the leaves of the Lady’s Mantle where his lover’s tears had fallen.

The name Lady’s Mantle in German ~Frauenmantle,~ was first given by the 16th-century botanist, Jerome Bock, known by the Latin version of his name; ~Tragus.~ It appears under this name in his famous History of Plants, published in 1532, and Linnaeus adopted it.

Lady’s Mantle was carried to attract love

Advice on Lady Mantle from renowned Tracy DiSabato-Aust

*small photo of flower by Eric Hardy
large photo by Linda N.

More About Lady’s Mantle

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Aug 22, 2019.

Clinical Overview

Use

Lady’s mantle has been traditionally used both topically and internally as a treatment for wounds, GI complaints, and female ailments (eg, menstrual or menopausal complaints); however, clinical studies are lacking to support these uses. Animal studies do not support the use of lady’s mantle in diabetes, and limited studies of use in wound healing have been conducted.

Clinical studies are lacking to support specific dosing recommendations for lady’s mantle. A gel made from the leaves has been used topically for mouth ulcers. Oral dosages of 5 to 10 g of the herb in 1 L of water daily, or of 2 to 4 mL of the liquid herb extract have been traditionally used for the treatment of diarrhea.

Contraindications

Contraindications have not been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

None well documented.

None known with use at low doses.

No data.

Scientific Family

  • Rosaceae (rose)

Botany

Alchemilla, an aggregate of species collectively referred to as “lady’s mantle,” is native to cool, temperate regions of Europe and Asia, with some species cultivated in North America, and grows in meadows, woodland clearings, and pastures. It is a perennial herb that grows up to 40 cm in height and consists of a short rhizome carrying ascending or sprawling stems and large (up to 8 cm in width) circular or kidney-shaped grey-green leaves at the base. The main ribs of the leaf protrude to the lower face and have small teeth at their tips. The inflorescence is a compound terminal cyme of dense clusters of small, yellow-green flowers, with sepals occurring in 2 rings of 4 without petals. The fruit is of the achene type (formed from one carpel). The entire plant is covered in fine, soft, short hairs.1, 2, 3 A synonym is Alchemilla vulgaris.

History

In the Middle Ages, alchemists used rain water or dew collected in the leaf center for its purported magical and medicinal powers, a custom derived from the plant’s generic name “alchemilla,” which is from the Arabic word “alkimiya,” meaning “universal cure for disease.” The plant has long been associated with the Virgin Mary due to the shape of its leaf lobes, which resemble the edges of a mantle, and was one of several herbal plants used in wreaths during Corpus Christi celebrations. Traditional uses for lady’s mantle include as a mild astringent, anti-inflammatory, antidiarrheal, diuretic, menstrual cycle regulator, treatment for digestive disorders, and relaxant for muscular spasms. Externally, lady’s mantle has been widely used in bath preparations, wound healing, skin bruises, and as an herbal cosmetic.2, 3, 4, 5

Chemistry

Lady’s mantle, similar to most members of the Rosaceae family, contains flavonoids and phenolic acids, which may account for its antioxidant activity.6, 7, 8, 9 The flavonoids quercetin, rutin, and kaempferol have been identified, as well as the phenols gallic acid and caffeic acid, although concentrations among species vary.3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11 The presence of tannins (elagitannins such as pedunculagin and alchemillin) at concentrations of 6% to 8% has also been described.2, 3 Aldehydes, alcohols, terpenes, esters, acids, and hydrocarbons have been identified in the essential oil.12

Uses and Pharmacology

Cardiovascular effects

Animal data

In one study examining the vascular effects of methanol and aqueous extracts of A. vulgaris in rats, the methanol extract was high in quercetin and had a relaxant effect on aortic tissue, while the aqueous extract was higher in gallic acid content and resulted in enhanced contractility.11, 13 Oral administration of the methanol extract had a hypotensive effect.13

Clinical data

No clinical data exist regarding the use of lady’s mantle for hypertension or other cardiovascular diseases.

Diabetes

Despite the plant’s purported use in diabetes, lady’s mantle showed no effect on hyperphagia, polydipsia, body weight loss, hyperglycemia, or hyperinsulinemia in a study involving mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetes.14

No clinical data exist regarding the use of lady’s mantle in diabetes.

Wound healing

Inhibition of the activity of the proteolytic enzymes elastase, trypsin, and alpha-chymotrypsin has been attributed to the tannin content of lady’s mantle extracts.3, 15, 16 Promitotic activity in epithelial cells and myofibroblasts was demonstrated in rats administered A. vulgaris extract.17 In a study of rats with induced endometrial adhesions, A. mollis aerial plant parts administered daily by gavage resulted in modulation of inflammatory cytokines (including tumor necrosis factor, endothelial growth factor, and interleukin 6).18

In an open-label study in patients with recurrent aphthous ulcers, topical applications of A. vulgaris gel resulted in faster self-reported healing of ulcers.19, 20

Other uses

In vitro, lady’s mantle leaf extract demonstrated some activity against human bacterial and fungal pathogens, including Helicobacter pylori.9, 21 An inhibitory effect against influenza viruses was also observed in vitro.22 In a rat model of endometriosis, A. mollis extract significantly reduced adhesion scores and reduced mean endometrioma volume (from 101.35 to 11.87 mm3).18

A. vulgaris administered as part of a mixture of 4 plants was studied for its potential weight loss properties in humans. Significant and progressive weight reductions were observed over 3 months, with higher levels of weight loss observed in subjects with body mass index (BMI) 25 to 30 kg/m2 compared to those with BMI greater than 30 kg/m2.23

Dosing

Clinical studies are lacking to provide dosing guidelines. Lady’s mantle has been used topically as a 3% gel for oral, nonherpetiform ulcers.19, 20

Oral dosages of 5 to 10 g of the herb in 1 L of water daily,3 or of 2 to 4 mL of the liquid herb extract have been traditionally used for the treatment of diarrhea.24

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.24

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Information regarding adverse reactions with the use of lady’s mantle is limited.3, 24

Toxicology

Information regarding toxicity of lady’s mantle is limited. No morphological changes or cytotoxicity were observed in an in vitro study.17 The tannin content of lady’s mantle extracts may be toxic at higher than usual doses.24 In another study, the quercetin content of lady’s mantle was too low to be mutagenic.25

Index Terms

  • Alchemilla

1. Alchemilla mollis (Buser) Rothm. USDA, NRCS. 2016. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 2016). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA. Accessed July 28, 2016.2. Bisset N, ed. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals: A Handbook for Practice on a Scientific Basis. Stuttgart, Germany: CRC Press; 1994.3. Ghedira K, Goetz P, Le Jeune R. Alchemilla vulgaris L.: Alchémille (Rosaceae). Phytotherapie. 2012;10(4):263-266.4. Luczaj LJ. A relic of medieval folklore: Corpus Christi Octave herbal wreaths in Poland and their relationship with the local pharmacopoeia. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012;142(1):228-240.225757055. Smolyakova IM, Andreeva VY, Kalinkina GI, Avdeenko SN, Shchetinin PP. Development of extraction techniques and standardization methods for a common lady’s mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) extract. Pharm Chem J. 2012;45(11):675-678.6. Olafsdottir ES, Omarsdottir S, Jaroszewski JW. Constituents of three Icelandic Alchemilla species. Biochem Syst Ecol. 2001;29(9):959-962.114452967. Condrat D, Crisan F, Szabo MR, Lupea AX. Flavonoids in angiosprmatophyta and spermatophyta species and their antioxidant activity. Rev Chim. 2009;60(11):1129-1134.8. Condrat D, Mosoarca C, Zamfir AD, Crisan F, Szabo MR, Lupea AX. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of gallic acid in Alchemilla vulgaris, Allium ursinum, Acorus calamus and Solidago virga-aurea by chip-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and high performance liquid chromatography. Cent Eur J Chem. 2010;8(3):530-535.9. Denev P, Kratchanova M, Ciz M, et al. Antioxidant, antimicrobial and neutrophil-modulating activities of herb extracts. Acta Biochim Pol. 2014;61(2):359-367.2494513510. Fraisse D, Heitz A, Carnat A, Carnat AP, Lamaison JL. Quercetin 3-arabinopyranoside, a major flavonoid compound from Alchemilla xanthochlora. Fitoterapia. 2000;71(4):463-464.1092502911. Takir S, Sezgi B, Süzgeç-Selçuk S, et al. Endothelium-dependent vasorelaxant effect of Alchemilla vulgaris methanol extract: a comparison with the aqueous extract in rat aorta. Nat Prod Res. 2014;28(23):2182-2185.2493875512. Falchero L, Coppa M, Fossi A, Lombardi G, Ramella D, Tava A. Essential oil composition of lady’s mantle (Alchemilla xanthochlora Rothm.) growing wild in Alpine pastures. Nat Prod Res. 2009;23(15):1367-1372.1980990713. Takir S, Altun IH, Sezgi B, Süzgeç-Selçuk S, Mat A, Uydeş-Doğan BS. Vasorelaxant and blood pressure lowering effects of Alchemilla vulgaris: A comparative study of methanol and aqueous extracts. Pharmacogn Mag. 2015;11(41):163-169.2570922814. Swanston-Flatt SK, Day C, Bailey CJ, Flatt PR. Traditional plant treatments for diabetes. Studies in normal and streptozotocin diabetic mice. Diabetologia. 1990;33(8):462-464.221011815. Jonadet M, Meunier MT, Villie F, Bastide JP, Lamaison JL. 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. 1986;17(1):21-27.363565316. Lamaison JL, Carnat A, Petitjean-Freytet C. Tannin content and inhibiting activity of elastase in Rosaceae . Ann Pharm Fr. 1990;48(6):335-340.213176617. Shrivastava R, Cucuat N, John GW. Effects of Alchemilla vulgaris and glycerine on epithelial and myofibroblast cell growth and cutaneous lesion healing in rats. Phytother Res. 2007;21(4):369-373.1723616918. Küpeli Akkol E, Demirel MA, Bahadir Acikara O, et al. Phytochemical analyses and effects of Alchemilla mollis (Buser) Rothm. and Alchemilla persica Rothm. in rat endometriosis model. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2015;292(3):619-628.2570065919. Shrivastava R, John GW. Treatment of aphthous stomatitis with topical Alchemilla vulgaris in glycerine. Clin Drug Investig. 2006;26(10):567-573.1716329020. Abascal K, Yarnell E. Treatments for recurrent aphthous stomatitis. Altern Complement Ther. 2010;16(2):100-106.21. Krivokuća M, Niketić M, Milenković M, et al. Anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of four Alchemilla species (Rosaceae). Nat Prod Commun. 2015;10(8):1369-1371.2643411922. Makau JN, Watanabe K, Kobayashi N. Anti-influenza activity of Alchemilla mollis extract: possible virucidal activity against influenza virus particles. Drug Discov Ther. 2013;7(5):189-195.2427038323. Said O, Saad B, Fulder S, Khalil K, Kassis E. Weight loss in animals and humans treated with “Weighlevel”, a combination of four medicinal plants used in traditional Arabic and Islamic medicine. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:874538.1895268824. Duke J, Bogenschutz-Godwin M, duCellier J, Duke P. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2002.25. Schimmer O, Häfele F, Krüger A. The mutagenic potencies of plant extracts containing quercetin in Salmonella typhimurium TA98 and TA100. Mutat Res. 1988;206(2):201-208.3050500

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This is the start of regular feature I’ve been planning to start for about two years now. Plants to Know a quick growing guide for plants that you should, well, know about (clever, right?).

In each Plants to Know feature, I’ll share a plant with you, a bit about growing it and the basic facts, including the TIG classfication, my personal plant categorization system.

I can’t think of a better plant to start with than one I’ve mentioned several times on this blog and is always on the top of my must-have plant list: Alchemilla mollis aka lady’s mantle.

Lady’s mantle is primarily grown for its foliage, which is instantly recognizable. Thick round leaves with scalloped edges are a bright emerald green and have the charming quality of collecting raindrops and dew.

But I grow lady’s mantle just as much for its chartreuse flowers which are about the most perfect bouquet filler ever. It blooms in big tufts in late spring or early summer and the flowers last for several weeks before turning brown. Any that are left at this point get cut back in big handfuls.

Later in summer, the leaves can get a little tired looking and any particularly offensive foliage can be cut back. In fact, the entire plant can be cut back and fresh growth will quickly follow.

I also grow a dwarf lady’s mantle—Alchemilla erythropoda—which sadly does not grow as quickly as A. mollis, but it’s perfectly charming right on the edge of the garden.

Cut it back at the end of the season or in spring. It grows relatively quickly, so you can allow large clumps to form or divide at will. In fact, I’ve divided it at all times of the growing season and this hardy bugger doesn’t seem to mind a bit. It will also reseed, but not aggressively, so small plants can be moved around wherever needed or shared with friends.

And that is one this plant’s big charms. It’s unlikely you’ll have to buy this plant, although you shouldn’t have a hard time finding it if you want to. Most gardeners will be happy to share this gem.

I think of lady’s mantle as an excellent border plant, but it’s also lovely in big clumps and as an underplanting for many trees. It provides a much-needed resting point in the garden without lacking interest. And the chartreuse flowers go well with literally every other color in the garden. It’s happy to play the best friend role to any number of plant starlets.

It’ll be happy in full sun down to quite a bit of shade, but it won’t thrive in very dry spots.

Any plant with so many wonderful attributes surely deserves one of my favorite plant classifications: Workhouse.

Do you grow lady’s mantle?

Lady’s mantle cups her hands to hold the morning dew. Despite her inconspicuous flowers, gardeners adore her for the dew drops, formed by a process called guttation (Roshchina, 1993), that glisten on the tips of each of her scalloped leaves and captivate even the most casual observer who strolls by. The herbalists adore her for her powerful traits to aid in healing, particularly, for women throughout their life span. The mystics have adored her for it has been understood by them that the dew drops from the lady’s mantle have mystic powers (De Bairacli Levy, 1973 and www.Star Child.co.uk). And this delicate plant makes a lovely Lady’s Mantle Tea, affectionately known as Happy Uterus Tea.

About Lady’s Mantle

A cultivated perennial, lady’s mantle is native to western and central Europe. We know one species, Alchemilla vulgaris, however there are as many as over 300 species grown in Europe. Each collects the dew in their soft leaves. Each inspires one to either taste the fresh dew or feel its wetness on one’s face. Lady’s mantle is magical in this way. Each seems to know a woman’s way.

Lady’s mantle easily grows in well-drained soil here in the U.S. in either full sun or part shade. Garden and nursery centers may sell lady’s mantle in their perennial section though it’s not nearly as popular here as in Europe. Cuttings and root divisions are the best ways to obtain a plant than trying to grow from seed (I’ve tried!).

The leaves and flowers are harvested when the flowers first begin to bloom. For teas, dry the leaves and flowers that you have harvested gently in a cool dark place. Fresh herb tea is magical. Simply take a few leaves and flowers and steep them in cool, or hot water (see below for recipes).

Uses for Lady’s Mantle

Lady’s mantle is a powerful female herb for anytime during a women’s reproductive life. It helps relieve mild aches and pains during menstruation, with a tea or tincture able to stop spotting between periods and lessening excessive menstrual bleeding (Soule, 1998). Lady’s mantle has astringent qualities so it is useful for loose stools, and shrinking sores in one’s mouth or skin (Hoffman, 2003). Lady’s mantle is also helpful for the menopausal years (Hoffman, 2003), easing those troubling symptoms due to its astringent and anti-inflammatory actions.

Deb Soule (1998) suggests that a tea of lady’s mantle and raspberry leaves taken daily for 3 weeks is helpful for a prolapsed uterus. De Bairacli Levy (1973) was well aware of lady’s mantle as a female tonic and remedy for the “organs of generation.” She writes that lady’s mantle is used to cure barrenness (infertility) and restore normal menstruation, as well as treat heart ailments and diabetes (de Bairacli Levy, 1973). Though, perhaps, left to folklore, there is still much left to say about this plant if only we continue to explore its powers!

Lady’s Mantle Tea Recipe

Here’s a recipe for “Happy Uterus Tea” to alleviate menstrual cramps. You can also use this tea at the very end of pregnancy (9th month) to prepare your uterus for labor and prevent hemorrhage. (pregnant women should always consult with their physician before taking herbs).

Happy Uterus Tea

  • Source:

From www.modernalternativepregnancy.com

Ingredients

1/2 cup lady’s mantle (we get our herbs here)
1/2 cup red raspberry leaf
1/4 cup lemon balm (you can add more to taste)

Directions

  • Place all herbs in a dry, pint-size Mason jar with a lid and shake until they’re mixed up well or stir in a bowl and store in a jar. This makes enough for many cups of tea.
  • To make one cup, all you need is 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of mixed herbs.
  • For a strong brew, steep a tablespoon of herbs in a generous cup of hot water for about 5-10 minutes and strain.
  • Begin drinking the tea about a week before you are expecting your period.
  • If you have problems with heavy cramping, try drinking a cup (warm or iced) every day of the month.

As a garden plant or a powerful herb; may lady’s mantle gladden your heart, refresh your soul, and nourish your body! You, too, may come to have adoration and joy for lady’s mantle, while admiring her dew-filled leaves in the morning.

This post was written by Rachel Ross of Hillside Herbals. Rachel grew up between two nature sanctuaries and received a degree in biology and a Masters in Botany. Later, she acquired an RN, and MSN, and is now a practicing Certified Nurse-Midwife. She sees the plants as powerful allies to nourish, strengthen, calm, and heal. Her humble hope is to share this knowing with you.

De Bairacli Levy, Julliette (1973) Common Herbs for Natural Health. Schocken Books. New York

Hoffman, David ( 2003) Medical Herbalism; The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press. Rochester, Vermont.

Roshchina, V.; Roshchina, V. (1993). The excretory function of higher plants. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Soule, Deb (1998) A Woman’s Book of Herbs; the healing power of natural remedies. Citadel Press. New York.

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Overview

Lady’s mantle is a perennial herb found in North America, Europe, and Asia. It has been referenced in many herbal and magical circles since the middle ages. Its first appearance in a botanical tome was in Jerome Bock’s “History of Plants” in 1532. Its scientific name Alchemilla is a derivative of the Arab work Alkemelych, or alchemy, so called for the plant’s magical potency. Folklore concerning Lady’s Mantle seems to focus on the dew that is gathered on the leaves at the center of its furrowed leaves, which is said to be a key ingredient in several alchemical formulas. The dew was also said to be collected and used as a beauty lotion. Lady’s Mantle was first associated with the worship of the Earth Mother, but as Christianity spread, and like many pagan symbols before it, it was absorbed and eventually became associated with the Virgin Mary. Although its leaves bear a striking resemblance to cilantro, lady’s mantle is in the rose family.

Parts Used

Dried aerial portions.

Typical Preparations

Teas, extracts and seldom found encapsulated.

Lady’s mantle — it’s such an interesting name for an herb that has so many possible health benefits. What is lady’s mantle used for? Given its namesake, it’s probably not surprising that women use it to help with painful or heavy menstrual periods and menopause symptoms.

But this herb is also highly acclaimed for its use in the natural treatment of swelling, common digestive problems like diarrhea, sore throats, diabetes, water retention and muscle spasms. (1) Lady’s mantle uses are many. Read on for some of the top ways to use this herbal remedy to experience its health benefits.

What Is Lady’s Mantle?

Lady’s mantle belongs to the genus Alchemilla, which includes around 300 species of herbaceous perennials within the rose family (Rosaceae). The plants have underground stems (rhizomes) that spread, and they tend to grow in clumps. Where does lady’s mantle grow? It’s native to Britain and Europe, but it is now grown in many parts of the world. In the United States, it does well in zones three through eight.

The bottom layer of plant leaves are often deeply lobed and covered in fine hairs. The leaves of the plant are also superhydrophobic, which means highly water-repellent. The plants can also have small yellow or yellowish green flowers that usually bloom in late spring or summer.

Many species of lady’s mantle are used as ornamental plants, but some also have a history of use as an herbal remedy. The two common species of lady’s mantle used medicinally include Alchemilla vulgaris, also known as common lady’s mantle, and Alchemilla mollis. Mainly the whole above-ground parts of these plants are used for medicinal purposes, but sometimes the roots are used as well.

Lady’s mantle is typically gathered in the summertime when it’s in bloom. The above-ground parts of the plant are then dried so they can be used later as herbal medicine often in the form of a tincture, extract or tea. Lady’s mantle naturally contains tannins, glycoside and salicylic acid.

5 Health Benefits of Lady’s Mantle

  1. Helps with Menstruation and Blood Pressure Issues
  2. May Help Treat Menopause Symptoms
  3. Can Help Relieve Diarrhea
  4. Protects the Liver
  5. Holds Antiviral Properties

1. Helps with Menstruation and Blood Pressure Issues

If you’re tired of the monthly struggle, let’s talk about one of the natural ways you can get rid of period cramps: lady’s mantle! Yes, it’s one of the top traditional uses of this herb, and it’s one of the reasons why a tea combining lady’s mantle, lemon balm and red raspberry leaf is referred to as “happy uterus tea.” Many herbalists love lady’s mantle for its ability to soothe the aches and pains of menstruation and even to make menstrual flow lighter.

Research published in 2015 supports the use of lady’s mantle for menstrual cramps. This study using an animal model demonstrates how extracts of Alchemilla vulgaris have vasorelaxant, which means it can help to reduce tension in the blood vessel walls. These vasorelaxant effects explain its use in pain and cramping, and this study also points toward the possibility that lady mantle’s may be helpful to cardiovascular disorders, especially cases of high blood pressure. (2)

2. May Help Treat Menopause Symptoms

There is generally a hormonal shift that occurs in women during menopause that can lead to hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia and other common symptoms. Many expert herbalists include lady’s mantle on their lists of recommended herbs for menopause since it is considered both a uterine astringent as well as a uterine tonic.

When it comes to menopause, lady’s mantle has a reputation among herbalists for being an effective herbal remedy for symptoms like hot flashes and anxiety. (3)

More research is needed to confirm the medicinal benefits of Alchemilla on menopause symptoms, but WebMD and herbal medicine professionals support its use as an herbal remedy for menopausal women.

3. Can Help Relieve Diarrhea

When it hits, most people want to know how to stop diarrhea fast! Herbs that contain chemicals called tannins are traditionally used to dry up the excessive watery secretions that occur in cases of diarrhea. Alchemilla plants contain tannins so lady’s mantle is known to help diarrhea.

As extensive research on tannins shows, tannins and tannic acid exhibits antidiarrheal properties, confirming this herb’s potential to relieve diarrhea. (4)

4. Protects the Liver

An animal model study published in 2017 in the peer-reviewed journal Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy examined the extracts of the aerial and root parts of Alchemilla mollis. The researchers used diabetic mice subjects to evaluate whether or not the lady’s mantle extracts could lower blood sugar while also protecting the livers of these animals.

What did they find? While the extracts did not appear to lower blood sugar levels in the subjects, the liver effects were very positive. Both the aerial part and root extracts exhibited liver protective activity and “significantly lowered” liver enzymes at doses of 100 mg/kg and 200 mg/kg. (5)

5. Holds Antiviral Properties

Another impressive attribute of lady’s mantle is its antiviral ability. An in vitro study published in 2017 examined the antiviral activity of bioactive substances extracted from the roots and aerial parts of Alchemilla vilgaris.

Overall, lady’s mantle was shown to have antiviral effects that were dose-dependent. The extract that showed the greatest antiviral activity in vitro was the extract from the roots, which also had the highest content of catechins in comparison to the other samples. (6)

How to Use Lady’s Mantle

You can find lady’s mantle mantle tea and supplements online or in select health food stores. One of the most popular supplement forms is lady’s mantle tincture.

What is lady’s mantle tea good for? It’s an especially great idea to have it in tea form when digestive issues or sore throats are the problems at hand. In addition to sipping on lady’s mantle tea, it can also be used as a gargling agent for sore throats. Of course, make sure the tea isn’t too hot.

You can purchase lady’s mantle in tea bag form, or you can make your own tea by combining one cup of boiled water with two teaspoons to one tablespoon of the dried herb. Let it steep for at least 10 minutes before straining and drinking the tea. The longer it steeps, the more potent the tea will be.

If you’re interested in adding this herb to your garden, it’s not hard to find lady’s mantle seeds online. Many people plant this herb as a ground cover or edging plant. It’s a perennial that isn’t too hard to grow in areas with cool summers and moist, fertile soil. Just make sure to give the plants plenty of room to grow by spacing them around eight to 12 inches apart from each other. The plants can tolerate full sun but grow better in shade in warmer climates. (7)

Lady’s mantle dosage depends upon several factors, including a person’s health status. To date, there is not clinical evidence to support specific dosage recommendations, but traditional use of the herb for diarrhea is five to 10 grams daily. (8)

History and Interesting Facts

Dating back to at least Medieval Times, lady’s mantle has traditionally been used to treat wounds and female ailments. Other historical ways the herb has been used include as an anti-inflammatory, astringent, diuretic, menstrual cycle regulator, digestive disorder remedy and relaxant for muscle spasms.

If you search the internet, you will pretty easily find some lady’s mantle weight loss claims. Even though you can find websites that associate this herb with weight loss, there have not been many studies to confirm this usage.

One clinical study published in 2011 looked at the effects of an herbal remedy made up of four plants, including the leaves of Alchemilla vulgaris, on human subjects. The 66 human subjects who completed the study kept up their normal diets but took the herbal supplement 30 minutes before each meal for three months.

What did researchers find? It appears that there was a notable reduction in BMI for the subjects, but it was greater in the overweight (BMI of 25–30 kg m−2) group than the obese group (BMI >30 kg m−2). One theory on why lady’s mantle can be helpful to weight loss is its tannins content, which has been reported to increase the metabolic rate of animal subjects in cold environments. Overall, the study concludes that more research is needed. (9)

Possible Lady’s Mantle Side Effects and Caution

Lady’s mantle is generally considered safe for most people when taken in appropriate doses by mouth. Some German researchers have warned of possible damage to the liver, but other experts consider the concern to be exaggerated.

This herbal remedy is typically not recommended for use by pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, some herbalists recommend taking lady’s mantle tea in the last few weeks of pregnancy to prepare the uterus for labor and prevent hemorrhage, but always check with your doctor before using any herbs during pregnancy.

There are no well-documented drug interactions or common lady’s mantle side effects.

Final Thoughts

  • The two types of this herb used medicinally are Alchemilla vulgaris, also known as common lady’s mantle, and Alchemilla mollis.
  • It has been used as a traditional herbal remedy for centuries.
  • Possible lady’s mantle benefits include its ability to help painful or heavy menstruation, menopause symptoms and gastrointestinal concerns like diarrhea.
  • The herb has also been shown in scientific research to have liver protective and antiviral properties.
  • You can use it in a variety of forms, including tea or tincture.
  • Some herbalists recommend lady’s mantle in tea form to help women prepare and recover from childbirth, but check with your doctor first.
  • More research is needed, but lady’s mantle shows some hope as an herbal remedy that can assist with weight loss efforts as well.

Read Next: Butterbur: The Herb that Relieves Allergies, Migraines & More

Lady’s mantle, Alchemilla mollis, blooming in a garden.

Lady’s mantle, Alchemilla mollis, is an old-fashioned, tough and adaptable European garden perennial grown for both its interesting foliage and frothy sprays of flowers. It is the most commonly planted of nearly 300 species in the genus in the rose family (Rosaceae) native to the mountains of Europe, Asia, and North America. Its common name supposedly comes from the resemblance of its scalloped leaves to the Virgin Mary’s cloak, although other explanations exist. Native to Turkey and the Carpathian Mountains, A. mollis has been used medicinally for stomach ailments and to dye wool green. Lady’s mantle should be planted with care as it can be invasive because of its abundant seed production. It is hardy in zone 3-8.

The large leaves are lobed, with serrated edges.

The soft, velvety leaves are up to 6” across with serrated edges. Each leaf is palmately veined with 7-11 partially folded lobes, making it appear pleated. The foliage is light green to olive green in color. Plants spread very slowly by rhizomes, forming mounds 12-15” tall that spread to two feet or more.

Numerous, long hairs on the leaves catch and hold water droplets.

The dense hairs on the leaves catch and hold water droplets, so are very attractive after a rain or in the morning when drops of dew collect on the textured leaves like a sprinkling of diamonds or beads of liquid mercury. These beads of water were considered by alchemists to be the purest form of water, and they used this water when attempting to turn base metal into gold – hence the name “Alchemilla”.

Airy sprays of yellow to chartreuse flowers cover the plants in early to midsummer. The individually inconspicuous, ¼” wide, star-shaped flowers have no petals.

The effect is fairly subtle, compared to many perennials with bold, brightly colored flowers, and some gardeners prefer to cut off the flowers. Cut stems make good fillers in cut flower arrangements, but fresh and dried.

The flower stems tend to flop after a while.

To dry, just hang cut stems in bundles upside down in a cool, ventilated spot until dry. They resist shattering and last longer than many dried flowers.

The flower stems tend to flop over after a while, making the plants look somewhat messy. There are no seedpods; the tiny brown seeds are held in the calyx, which becomes brown and papery when the seeds are ripe, with one seed per flower. Shear after blooming to improve the plant’s appearance and prevent self-seeding. New, lush basal growth will begin growing soon after trimming, and this foliage should remain good looking through the remainder of the season.

An easy-care perennial, it does well in sun or partial shade. In hot climates it may scorch in full sun, but this is rarely a problem in the upper Midwest. It tolerates most soils, except overly moist conditions, and does well in clay.

The foliage in late winter and early spring.

It is not drought tolerant and should be watered when soil moisture is lacking. The foliage will turn completely brown over the winter, and new leaves appear in spring. It is best to shear the old leaves from the crowns in early spring before new growth starts.

Use lady’s mantle at the front of the border, in cottage gardens or as a ground cover. It looks really good spilling over the edge of a path, especially when in bloom. It could even be used in large containers.

Alchemilla mollis Auslese just before blooming.

The soft, mounding appearance of this plant contrasts nicely with vertical perennials such as iris, Liatris, ferns, and Salvia (when in bloom) and the boldly textured, soft-colored foliage looks great in combination with dark green or purple leaved plants, and with finer textured plants. The cooling yellow-green or green-yellow of the flowers is a superb companion to almost all colors, but especially violet, blue, and pink. The blooming plants complement pink shrub roses nicely.

A mollis is easily propagated by seed (and readily self seeds in many gardens, to the point of being invasive in ideal growing conditions). Seedlings are easily identifiable, as they have the same three-lobed leaves as the adult plants. Volunteers are easily weeded out or moved. It will take at least two years from seeding until plants bloom. Established clumps can be divided in spring or fall, although early spring is best. It has almost no pests and is not favored by deer.

Flower buds.

A. mollis is the most widely grown of the genus, and only a few cultivars are available (and seem to be rather similar):

  • ‘Auslese’ is a European selection, chosen for its more upright, lime-green flowers. The plant is larger than the species (15-18” tall).
  • ‘Irish Silk’ grows to 2 feet tall and is particularly florific.
  • ‘Robusta’ is more upright with larger leaves than the species, growing to 2 feet tall and wide.
  • ‘Thriller’ is a slightly more compact variety with flowers that tend more toward green than yellow.

Other species sometimes available include:

  • A. alpina (mountain lady’s mantle) – a mat-forming species only 3-8” tall that needs good drainage, so would be good for rock gardens. The deeply lobed leaves have silvery-white margins. Zones 3-7.
  • A. conjuncta appears similar to A. alpina, but is larger and is hardy in zones 3-7.
  • A. ellenbeckii is a low-growing species (~2” high) with red stems and sliver-edged foliage, only hardy to zone 6.
  • Alchemilla erythropoda

    A. erythropoda – looks like a miniature version of A. mollis with yellow flowers, only growing 5-6” tall. It is another good choice for the rock garden, troughs or small spaces. Zones 3-7.

  • A. faroensis is a dwarf species from Eastern Iceland that only grows a few inches tall and is hardy in zones 4-7. The cultivar ‘Pumila’ is only 2-3” tall, and is well suited to growing in a trough.
  • A. fulgens, from the Pyrenees, is a low-growing, spreading species with bluish-green leaves. Zones 4-7.
  • A. sericata ‘Gold Strike’ is a new introduction from Jellito, with smaller, deeply lobed leaves on 12-14” plants promoted as a ground cover.

– Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin – Madison


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Lady’s Mantle

This old-fashioned flower is an easy way to add charm to your cottage garden. Perennially popular lady’s mantle creates wonderful texture and visual appeal with fuzzy, cup-like leaves that hold onto water droplets like little gems. Lady’s mantle features dainty yellow flowers that bloom in late spring to early summer in airy masses above the foliage. Initially the flowers sit above the foliage until they become too heavy and droop down gracefully. The flowers, similar to baby’s breath, last for several weeks and are excellent for both cut and dried flower arrangements. This long-lived perennial plant also blends wonderfully with other spring blossoming plants in your garden and looks great along the edge of the garden.

genus name
  • Alchemilla
light
  • Part Sun,
  • Sun
plant type
  • Perennial
height
  • 1 to 3 feet
width
  • 1 to 2 feet
flower color
  • Green,
  • Yellow
foliage color
  • Blue/Green
season features
  • Summer Bloom
problem solvers
  • Deer Resistant,
  • Groundcover
special features
  • Low Maintenance,
  • Good for Containers,
  • Cut Flowers
zones
  • 3,
  • 4,
  • 5,
  • 6,
  • 7
propagation
  • Division,
  • Seed

Lady’s Mantle Colors

In addition to its flowers, lady’s mantle is prized for its foliage. Shallow leaves of cool green with softly scalloped edges are covered with soft hairs, creating a velvety appearance. The foliage makes a nice coarse-textured groundcover that looks attractive when planted underneath small trees.

See more of the best perennials for cutting here.

Lady’s Mantle Name Origin

Here’s a fun fact about lady’s mantle: It received its Latin name of Alchemilla because of its use in alchemy in medieval times. Morning dew was a prized ingredient for many alchemical recipes, and one of the main ways to gather early morning moisture was from the leaves of lady’s mantle where dew drops had collected.

Check out these perennial problem-solvers for a tough garden.

How to Care For Lady’s Mantle

Lady’s mantle can handle a wide variety of soil conditions but prefers a slightly acidic-to-neutral soil. Lady’s mantle is drought-tolerant once established, however it will require supplemental water in high heat or full sun areas to prevent leaves from turning brown. Fertilizing is generally not necessary for lady’s mantle unless you have exceptionally poor soil. If you have inferior soil, a small amount of slow-release organic fertilizer or compost can be mixed in at the time of planting.

One of the ideal places to plant lady’s mantle is along edges of gardens or walkways where it is able to gently lean over and soften those hard edges.

There is little maintenance required for lady’s mantle. Typically it only needs the occasional cleanup of leaves as they turn brown and deadheading of flowers as they begin to fade. Lady’s mantle can remain standing in the fall, as it is semi-evergreen; it will overwinter better if the leaves are left on the plant to act as insulation. Come early spring, simply remove any brown and crispy leaves before new ones emerge.

Plant these easy-growing groundcovers for a low-maintenance landscape.

More Varieties of Lady’s Mantle

Alchemilla alpina

A miniature version of A. mollis, this has smaller pleated leaves with silver edging on slowly creeping plants with the same blooms. Zones 3-7.

Lady’s mantle

Alchemilla mollis displays a froth of chartreuse flowers throughout the summer. It grows 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Zones 4-7.

‘Thriller’ lady’s mantle

This selection of Alchemilla mollis is more upright than the species, has larger leaves, and puts on an outstanding show of bloom. It grows 30 inches tall and wide. Zones 4-7.

Plant Lady’s Mantle With:

Astilbe brings a graceful, feathering note to moist, shady landscapes. In cooler climates in the northern third or so of the country, it can tolerate full sun provided it has a constant supply of moisture. In drier sites, however, the leaves will scorch in full sun.Feathery plumes of white, pink, lavender, or red flowers rise above the finely divided foliage from early to late summer depending on the variety. It will spread slowly over time where well-situated. Most commercially available types are complex hybrids.

Exciting new selections with incredible foliage patterns have put coralbells on the map. Previously enjoyed mainly for their spires of dainty reddish flowers, coralbells are now grown as much for the unusual mottling and veining of different-color leaves. The low clumps of long-stemmed evergreen or semi-evergreen lobed foliage make coralbells fine groundcover plants. They enjoy humus-rich, moisture-retaining soil. Beware of heaving in areas with very cold winters.

Add a little sunshine to your garden with imposing ligularia. Its golden flower spikes or flattened heads of yellow daisylike flowers shine brightly in sun or part shade. The bold leaves are kidney-shape or jagged along the edges. These moisture lovers do beautifully at the edges of ponds and streams, and they must have deep, rich soil that remains moist. Position ligularia so it has a little shade during the heat of the day.

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