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Alchemilla: A medicinal herb with a long tradition
In the case of the lady's mantle (alchemilla), the name of the herb already indicates that this is an old medicinal herb. Traditionally used against menstrual and menopausal symptoms, this plant has a calming and antispasmodic effect. But Alchemilla can do more. Because both digestive complaints and inflammatory diseases also respond positively to treatment with a lady's mantle. In addition, the herb also calms heart problems and mental ailments. This article tells you which health areas are covered in detail by the active ingredients in Alchemilla and what needs to be considered when using the herb.
Lady's Mantle: A Brief Overview
The areas of application of Alchemilla are as varied as their natural locations. In addition to classic women's diseases, these include a whole host of other health complaints. Here is a brief overview:
- Botanical name: Alchemilla; Plant family: Rose family (Rosaceae)
- Popular names: Alchemist's herb, All women salvation, roof rut, woman's hair coat, woman's boning, woman's help, woman's hat, woman's mantle, woman's skirt, woman's consolation, woman's root, goosefoot, storm grass, rabbit mane, Haubn, autumn coat, Herrgottsmäntelchen, Himmelstau, crow's foot, woman's coat, woman's foot, crocodile, woman's foot, crocodile, crocodile, crocodile, crocodile , Milkweed, Mother of God's Mantle, Nine Rag Herb, Ohmkraut, Perlkraut, Raendachl, Raindrop, Röckli, Silbermantel, Sinau, Sinnau, Sintau, Taubecher, Taubecherl, Tauffang, Tauraut, Taumantel, Tauschüsserl, Funer Mantel, Unser Frowen Mantel, Wasserensin, Frauerkittel.
- origin: Africa, Asia, Europe.
- application areas: Inflammation, vascular problems, skin problems, heart problems, menstrual pain, digestive problems, menopausal symptoms, wounds and injuries.
- Parts of plants used: Leaves, flowers, fruits, fruit seeds, roots.
Application and dosage
Alchemilla can be collected from May to September. However, only harvest flowering parts of plants to ensure sufficient active ingredient content. This reaches its peak during flowering. In contrast to many other herbs, the daily dose of lady's mantle can be relatively generous. About five to ten teaspoons of the herb are allowed per day, which can then be used either for delicious salads, soups and vegetable side dishes or for special medical recipes. The active ingredients of Alchemilla have proven themselves in the following complaints:
- Difficulty breathing such as asthma, cold or runny nose,
- Inflammatory diseases such as conjunctivitis, sore throat, laryngitis, inflammation of the eyelid, mouth and throat inflammation or gum inflammation,
- classic women's diseases such as menstrual problems, disturbed milk production, infertility or menopausal symptoms,
- Skin problems and injuries such as acne, purulent wounds, eczema, boils, ulcers or dry skin,
- Heart, metabolic and vascular diseases such as hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), diabetes, heart failure (heart failure) or water retention (edema),
- Indigestion such as loss of appetite, flatulence, diarrhea, weak stomach and kidneys or constipation,
- other complaints such as fever, headache, night sweats or sleep problems.
Alchemilla as a medicinal herb
One of the most common uses of Alchemilla is certainly as a medicinal herb. It is important to pay attention to the specific purpose of the income. Depending on the complaint, different guidelines apply to the respective application periods, which are explained in more detail below.
Women's coat tea if you want to have children
To do this, pour a teaspoon (1 tsp) of the tea herbs into a cup of boiling water and let it steep for about ten minutes before drinking the tea in small sips. Since progesterone only takes effect in the female body after ovulation, a fertility tea made from a woman's coat should only be drunk in the second half of the cycle. Menstrual problems such as menstrual pain or exciting breasts, which appear as women's problems immediately before or during the menstrual period, can also be treated at this time with a tea made from lady's mantle.
Important: After the second half of the cycle, women’s tea should be suspended until the next ovulation. The progesterone level must now naturally drop so that the body's own estrogen can start producing egg cells again. Only a harmonious interplay of the two female hormones brings the cycle into a healthy rhythm in the long term!
Women coat tea during pregnancy
To reduce the number of miscarriages and miscarriages in early pregnancy, two cups of the women's coat tea are drunk daily. Midwives recommend that you do not take the tea here for more than 12 weeks at a time. To prepare for childbirth, to stimulate milk production or to support the regression of birth wounds in the womb, two cups of women's coat tea are also recommended. The maximum duration of use here is three to four months.
Women's coat tea in the menopause
There are also certain application criteria to be observed during menopause. Again, a balanced interplay of estrogen and progesterone is important, which is why, despite slowly drying fertility, you should continue to orientate yourself on the menstrual cycle. This means: Only take a woman's coat in the (imaginary) 2nd half of the cycle and then suspend it for about 2 weeks, so as not to throw the body's own rhythm off the track.
tip: Chilled women's coat tea can also be used for gargling or as a mouthwash for inflammation in the mouth and throat!
Bitters with a lady's mantle for indigestion
In order to optimally use the bitter substances from Alchemilla for the treatment of indigestion, we recommend combining the herb with other digestive herbs to form a bitter stomach.
- 50 g broad plantain
- 50 g nettle leaves
- 50 g women's mantle leaves
- 50 g raspberry leaves
- 50 g sage leaves
- 50 g yarrow flowers
- 100 g sugar candy
- 1 liter of high-proof alcohol (e.g. vodka)
- 200 milliliters of water
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- 1 screw jar
- 1 dark bottle for storage
- Put the fresh and cleaned herbs in the screw-top jar and fill up with alcohol. Above all, tasteless alcohol variants such as vodka or grain are suitable.
- Let the bitter bitters ripen for at least six weeks. It is best to place the screw-top jar on a light-filled windowsill, because sunlight supports optimal extraction of the ingredients.
- After the ripening period has elapsed, the candy is boiled in water until the sugar has melted. Next, filter the bitter bitter and add it to the sugar water.
- As soon as the bitters have cooled, the honey is stirred in. Make sure that the honey has completely dissolved in the liqueur mixture and, if necessary, filter out the last suspended matter from the liquid. The best way to do this is with a linen cloth or coffee filter.
- Fill the bitters into a dark bottle and keep them cool and dark from now on. With future digestive problems or a very substantial meal, a shot glass of the bitter bitters can be drunk at a time. The shelf life of the liqueur when properly stored is around four to five months, if not more.
Lady's mantle was previously used to treat wounds
As far as the internal and external wound treatment is concerned, there is an original recommendation from the German doctor Otto Brunfels, which we naturally do not want to withhold from you: "Drunk on 3 or 4 lots or a decoction (decoction) boiled together with other wound herbs heals all internal wounds and ruptures , these are breaks. Take lady's mantle, sanikel and pagan miracle herb (goldenrod), each a good handful, boil it in rainwater (nowadays optionally tap water). Then take the long earthworm and crush it and press the moisture through a cloth and mix it with the boiled water. So drunk this medicine, it soothes all internal bleeding wounds and, by heart, it heals. "
The use of women's coat tea during pregnancy should be discontinued as soon as the fertilized egg has been successfully implanted. In later stages of pregnancy, the contraction-promoting effects of the medicinal herb could otherwise have the opposite effect and increase the risk of miscarriage.
People who are about to undergo surgery should do without women’s coats altogether. Serious blood disorders such as a blood clot or anemia (anemia) are contraindications for use. Those who take iron supplements must also do without the medicinal herb in this regard, as it can impair the absorption of iron in the body.
If you are sensitive to tannins, you should also enjoy women's coats with caution. This could lead to stomach discomfort and nausea due to hypersensitivity reactions in the digestive tract. In addition, if the brewing time of women's coat tea is not observed, excessive amounts of tannins are released, the drainage effect of which can provoke constipation. Therefore, make sure that the infusion time of the tea is a maximum of five to ten minutes. A longer brewing time is only recommended for diarrhea.
Ingredients and effects
There is a very special reason why lady's mantle has such a good healing effect, particularly for women suffering from it. Because the medicinal herb contains plant hormones (so-called phytohormones) that resemble the female sex hormone progesterone. And the other healing effects of Alchemilla can be easily explained using the plant's own ingredients. These include:
- Bitter substances,
Bitter substances are known to have a digestive effect. The healing effect of lady's mantle for digestive complaints such as flatulence or constipation is thus quickly clarified. By promoting blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract and improving intestinal peristalsis by stimulating the intestinal muscles, gases accumulated in the intestine can escape more easily and blockages are released. In addition, bitter substances stimulate the production of digestive secretions (especially gastric juice) and appetite. The plant active ingredients ensure an increased secretion of saliva and digestive enzymes, which also benefits the decomposition of the food pulp.
By the way: Her versatile talents in the field of regulation of gastrointestinal functions also make bitter substances a good preventive measure against disturbed digestion. It is not for nothing that digestive aids such as bitter bitters are based on plants containing high levels of bitter substances as the main ingredient. The leaves of the women's coat are a secret ingredient in old traditional recipes for bitter bitters. We will introduce one of them in more detail in the section on the use and dosage of Alchemilla.
In addition to their positive effect on digestion, bitter substances also have a number of other properties that are decisive for the diverse healing spectrum of the women's coat. For example, the bitter plant substances are known for their antibacterial, antifungal, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects. This is of course advantageous for the medical benefit of lady's mantle for inflammatory diseases, abdominal and gastrointestinal cramps.
The vegetable tannins in the women's coat work even better against inflammation. Like their chemical equivalents, which are used as standard in leather processing for disinfecting animal skins, tannins also have a strong, germicidal effect. Inflammatory and infectious diseases therefore have little chance against them, which manufacturers of herbal antibiotics in particular take advantage of. In private, tannins can also be used to treat said diseases. Tinctures containing tannins are particularly versatile in this regard. Whether for wound disinfection, for gargling throat and throat infections or as a mouthwash for gum infections, a female coat tincture can be used here universally. Overall, the plant's own tannins have an antibiotic, antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, vascular protective, analgesic and wound-calming effect.
With regard to the function of lady's mantle as a medicinal herb, the wound-wetting properties in heavy menstrual periods are particularly important. In addition, tannins, as antioxidants, also contribute to heart and vascular health. By trapping free radicals, they protect the heart and vessels from oxidative stress, which prevents diseases such as arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure and even coronary heart disease.
When it comes to heart diseases in particular, the glycosides contained in the lady's mantle are also noteworthy. According to a study by the Institute of Botany and Pharmaceutical Biology Erlangen, Alchemilla has so-called cardiac glycosides, which have antioxidant and cardioprotective effects. In detail, these are the glycosides quercetin and kaempferol. Kaempferol in particular also has an estrogen-like effect, which is extremely important for the treatment of fertility problems, menstrual and menopausal symptoms. Corresponding symptoms often have to do with an imbalance in the estrogen balance, whereas the targeted administration of phytohormones can offer reliable help.
Another study, for example, has also shown a positive effect of kaempferol in postmenopausal osteoporosis. The risk of this bone disease increases significantly in the course of the menopause, because the bone density in women is largely determined by the release of estrogen in the body. However, since the estrogen level drops steadily over the course of menopause, this naturally has negative effects on female bone stability. Herbal estrogen suppliers such as lady's mantle are becoming an important source of supply for older women when it comes to regulating their hormones. And estrogen-based fertility problems and disturbances in the cycle also respond well to natural estrogen treatment. The plant hormones also intervene in the hormone process much more gently than is the case with artificial hormone preparations, which prevents undesirable side effects.
Other positive effects of the two glycosides mentioned on the body are also due to their antimicrobial, calming, anti-inflammatory, muscle and nerve-protecting and pain-relieving effects, which can help with cycle pain and cramps as well as with inflammation and muscle pain such as sore muscles.
Other important ingredients against heart and vascular diseases can be found in the lady's mantle in the form of phytosterols. They are said to have a cholesterol-lowering effect that is relevant for the prevention of arteriosclerosis. For this reason, patients with a corresponding risk of disease are often advised to eat more plant-based foods with a high phytosterol content. Using alchemilla regularly as an ingredient in salads or teas can again have a positive effect on heart and vascular health.
The estrogen-like effects of glycosides in women's coats show that their healing effect in hormone-based women's ailments is anything but airborne. The hormone-regulating properties of the plant's own glycosides are supported by diosgenin. Unlike kaempferol, the focus here is on an mode of action that resembles progesterone. Together with estrogen, the hormone forms the two most important female sex hormones. The interplay between the two hormones forms the basis for the woman's cycle and pregnancy.
While estrogen controls the "active" processes in the female body, such as the production of egg cells and the initiation of ovulation, progesterone has a rather "calming" or "stabilizing" effect and is responsible for, among other things
- the preparation of the endometrium for an egg to implant,
- the preservation of pregnancy after the egg cell has implanted,
- the maturation of the mammary glands in the female breast during pregnancy,
- the relaxation or adaptation of the uterine muscles to the baby.
If there is no fertilization of the egg cell, the level of progesterone naturally drops again during the menstrual period and the cycle begins again. A progesterone deficiency can now cause various complications and complaints in advance. In addition to fertility problems, such as those that arise when a weakened endometrium makes it difficult for the egg to implant, progesterone values that are too low can also cause problems
- an irregular cycle,
- cycle-related pulling and tensioning in the breasts,
- severe menstrual pain and heavy menstrual bleeding,
- Sleep disorders and mood swings,
- Water retention and weight gain,
- increased risk of premature birth or miscarriage.
The diosgenin contained in Alchemilla counteracts these deficiency symptoms as a herbal progesterone substitute. In addition, saponin can help with stretch marks and stretch marks, because a weakened interplay between estrogen and progesterone is also responsible for such connective tissue weaknesses in women. Women who complain of stretch marks on their breasts after breastfeeding should also be interested in treatment with a lady's mantle. The botanist and medic Otto von Brunfels commented this as follows: “The water of lady's mantle is good for wounds, washed with it and clothed in it. Then it both clears and heals. A cloth wets which woman has soft breasts and goes into the bathroom and covers the wet cloth in the exit, so her breasts become firm and firm. "
By the way: With a view to the female menopause, many consider the associated drop in estrogen levels to be solely responsible for corresponding menopausal symptoms. In fact, the lack of estrogen is preceded by a lack of progesterone. It occurs naturally in middle-aged women and also signals the estrogen receptors to stop working gradually. Women's mantle tea can act like a real fountain of youth here, and can slow the progesterone decline.
Lady's Mantle: Origin and Folklore
The lady's mantle belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae) and thus shares a plant family with the roses. Even more, Alchemilla is also in good company from a nutritional point of view, because apples, pears, cherries, plums, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries also belong to the rose family. As a medicinal herb, lady's mantle occupies a unique position within its relatives. There is hardly a rose family that can be used in a medically similar manner. In addition, the medicinal herb also differs optically from the appearance of its relatives.
The yellow-green panicle flowers of the Alchemilla, for example, are not often seen among the rose family. They stand together in racemose inflorescences and are crucial for the medicinal properties of the plant. Because only when lady's mantle is in full bloom is it ready for harvest and gives users a rich content of ingredients. Medicinal plants are used to differentiate between four types of women's coats:
- Alpine lady's mantle (Alchemilla alpina),
- Yellow-green lady's mantle (Alchemilla xanthochlora),
- Common lady's mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris),
- Soft lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis).
The serrated leaf fans of the Alchemilla are also a work of art in their own right and have given rise to a number of popular names in the past. They are based on the peculiarity of women's mantle leaves, dew drops and rainwater in their midst. Epithets like Dew cup or Dew herb are therefore no accident.
The importance of lady's mantle in the superstitions of the Middle Ages is also interesting. Here the plant was considered a protective herb for women and thus a magic plant. Especially pregnant women and women who want to have children trusted in the "magical" protection of the women's coat. The healing effect of the plant, which is invaluable especially in gynecology, was previously symbolically equated with the protective mantle of the Blessed Mother, who placed her motherly blessing in the form of the plant on the world of women. The popular name Our Lady thus explains itself.
In Norse mythology, the herb is also dedicated to the fertility goddess Freya. The dew or rain drops collected in the lady's mantle leaves symbolize the tears of the goddess that she shed when her husband Óðr went to battle. Herbalists and ancient medicine experts also regarded the water collected in the leaf goblets as a natural plant distillate, which - like the plant itself - was ascribed a medicinal effect.
Like no one around has.
With a delicate notched edge
Is it tense for the dew
in which pearl falls on pearl.
So it dawns the sky,
that sinks into the fields and meadows,
thirst thirsty to drink,
Draws from the bowl and speaks:
There is no better refreshment.
(Johannes Trojan, German writer)
It can be seen that the accumulation of water on the leaves of the women's mantle encouraged many herbalists to experiment and extract alchemically. Alchemists even tried to process the dew drops from the leaf goblets into guttation drops. It tries to extract the healing powers of plants or fungi through their "sweaty" condensation. The alchemical process is now considered the predecessor of homeopathic globule production.
Due to the lively use of lady's mantle by alchemists, the botanical technical name of the plant was also created. The term alchemilla borrowed from Latin simply means "little alchemist". It is also probably thanks to the joy of experimentation of medieval herbalists that nowadays one knows so well about the versatile healing effects of the women's coat. Especially in gynecology, the use of Alchemilla knows hardly any limits. Hildegard von Bingen already recognized this, who repeatedly recommended the herb against typical female diseases, such as in
- sagging breast tissue,
- weakened pelvic muscles,
- Milk jam,
- Estrogen dominance,
- premenstrual syndrome,
- Menstrual pain,
- heavy menstrual period,
- unfulfilled desire to have children,
- Menopausal symptoms,
- White flow.
There is hardly any area of application in gynecology that is not covered by the healing properties of the women's coat. The Swiss naturopath and pastor, Johann Künzle, best described the high value of the plant for women's health: "Two-thirds of all female operations would become completely superfluous if you use the women's coat early and for a long time, because the women's coat heals all abdominal infections, fever, fire, suppuration, Ulcers and even breaks. Every child bed maker should drink a lot of women's coat tea for eight to ten days, some children would still have their mother and some beaten widower his wife if they had known this gift. […] "
Speaking of Switzerland: together with Austria and Bavaria, the country is one of those regions in which the medicinal herb has experienced the most diverse folk healing uses within Europe. Even today, references to this are given by surnames such as roof roof, Frauebmäbel, Kroanfüß, Mäntli, rain canopy or exchange keys. The fact that the plant is so famous here may be due to the fact that the mountainous regions of these lands represent a preferred location for the women's coat. In addition, the medicinal herb can also be found in other parts of the Old World, where it grows in addition to Europe in the mountainous regions of Asia and Africa. (ma)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Miriam Adam, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Felser, Claudia; Schimmer, Oskar: "Flavonoid Glycosides from Alchemilla speciosa", in: Planta Medica, 65 (7), 1999, Thieme
- Jiangyang Guo, Ava et al .: "Kaempferol as a flavonoid induces osteoblastic differentiation via estrogen receptor signaling", in: Chinese Medicine, 7:10, 2012, NCBI
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