LADY'S MANTLE Alchemilla vulgaris
Lady's Mantle is an intriguing little herb of the Rose family that is mostly admired for its lovely foliage rather than its inconspicuous flowers. The velvety leaves are almost star-shaped, with folds that are reminiscent of a Lady's cape. The flowers on the other hand are barely noticeable, tiny little clusters of yellow-green flowers growing in bunches on a tall stalk. Nevertheless, they are rich in nectar and attract plenty of bees.
Alchemilla - the "little alchemist" was highly revered by the great alchemists, who went out early in the morning to collect the magical dew from the leaves of this plant - for this was no ordinary dew. Lady's Mantle "sweats" crystal clear pearls of water, which collects in the centre of its funnel-shaped leaves. These pearls of magical dew were deemed essential to the Alchemist's "Great Work": to produce the Philosopher's Stone.
On a more mundane note, women also sometimes collected the dew - not in search of the philosopher's stone, but in search of eternal beauty: they believed that to moisten the skin with the sacred dew would impart a special radiance of elfin allure.
As the name suggests, Lady's Mantle is a woman's herb and used for many female complaints. Lady's Mantle is a powerful astringent that can stop undue flows such as excessive menstruation or leucorrhoea. It is also said to regulate the female cycle. It is given to strengthen the uterus and is believed to thus increase fecundity. Its tightening qualities were also applied externally to female genitalia "to make them more virginal". In a similar vein some women applied compresses to their breasts in order to make them more firm. Disocorides praises this herb mostly for its ability to stop bleeding, which makes it an excellent wound herb that can be applied both, externally or internally.
Lady's Mantle is an important plant in the Great Work of Alchemy. The 'dew' drops can also be used to cleanse the third eye to make it more acute to perceive visions and the magical dimension. Originally an herb of Freya, this herb is used in fertility magic and for protection. Lady's Mantle is also associated with Fairy lore - it is said that the Fairies too appreciate the sacred dew, which they collect and drink as a magical elixir.