Lady's Mantle

Scientific Name(s): Alchemilla xanthochlora Rothm. (Syn. Alchemilla vulgaris auct. non L.). Family: Rosaceae

Common Name(s): Lady's mantle

Uses

Lady's mantle has been used topically and internally, as a treatment for wounds, gastrointestinal complaints, and female ailments. Its tannin content appears to justify astringent and antidiarrheal uses. It may protect conjunctive and elastic tissues and possibly be useful as an antioxidant.

Dosing

There is no clinical evidence to support specific dosage recommendations for lady's mantle. Classical use of the herb for treatment of diarrhea was 5 to 10 g of herb daily.

Contraindications

Contraindications have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

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

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

None known for low doses.

Toxicology

No significant toxicology data available.

Botany

Lady's mantle is a perennial herb with a short rhizome carrying ascending or sprawling stems, and a rosette of basal leaves with dentate lobes of a circular or kidney-shaped outline. The inflorescence is a compound terminal cyme made up of dense clusters of small yellow-green flowers. Sepals are seen in two rings of four without petals. The fruit is of the achene type. Overall, the plant is softly pubescent. It is found throughout Europe in meadows, woodland clearings, pastures and in the lowland areas of the British Isles. Currently, it is distributed in Europe, North America, and Asia. 1 , 2

History

Alchemilla is one of an aggregate of species collectively referred to as lady's mantle, all possessing similar medicinal properties. Many are cultivated. Medieval alchemists collected rain water or dew collected in the leaf center and used it for its purported magical and medicinal powers. This custom derived from the plant's generic name, alchemilla , which is from the Arabic word, “alkimiya” (universal cure for disease). In medieval tradition, it was used to treat wounds and female ailments. It has long been dedicated to the Virgin Mary, since the leaf lobes resemble the edges of a mantle. Among lady's mantle's historical uses are as a mild astringent, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, menstrual cycle regulator, treatment for digestive disorders, and relaxant for muscular spasms. Externally, it was used widely in bath preparations, wound healing, skin bruises, and as an herbal cosmetic. 1 , 2

Chemistry

Lady's mantle contains 6% to 8% tannins (elagitannins, such as pedunculagin and alchemillin) and flavonoids (quercetin 3-O-β-D-glucuronide). 2 , 3

Uses and Pharmacology

The historical uses of lady's mantle as an astringent against bleeding and as a treatment for diarrhea seem justified on the bases of its tannin content. 2 Newer studies show that the water extract of A. xanthochlora possesses lipid peroxidation and superoxide anion scavenging activity. 4

Several Rosaceae species, including A. xanthochlora , have high tannin content and elastase inhibitin activity. 5 In a similar vein, flavonoids extracted from Alchemilla inhibit the activity of the proteolytic enzymes elastase, trypsin and alpha-chymotrypsin. 6 These results suggest a possible role by these inhibitors in the protection of conjunctive and elastic tissues.

Animal data

A number of traditional plant treatments have been studied for diabetes in normal and streptozotocin diabetic mice, but no useful effects for lady's mantle have been found in this disorder. 7

A study on the mutagenic potencies of several plant extracts (including Tinctura Alchemillae) containing quercetin in Salmonella typhimurium TA98 and TA100 found that the mutagenic potential of the plant extracts correlates well with their quercetin content. 8 The cytostatic activity of a lactone fraction from Alchemilla pastoralis also has been reported. 9

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of lady's mantle.

Dosage

There is no clinical evidence to support specific dosage recommendations for lady's mantle. Classical use of the herb for treatment of diarrhea was 5 to 10 g of herb daily.

Pregnancy/Lactation

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

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Research reveals little or no information regarding adverse reactions with the use of this product.

Toxicology

No significant toxicological studies appear to have been carried out on lady's mantle and long use for various purposes (internal and external) seem to bear out the fact that it is safe in low doses. The warning in the Standard License about possible liver damage appears to be exaggerated. 2

Bibliography

1. Bunney S, ed. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs . New York, NY: Dorset Press; 1984.
2. Bisset NG, ed. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals . Stuttgart, Germany: Medpharm Scientific Publishers; 1994.
3. Lamaison JL, Carnat A, Petitjean-Freytet C, Carnat AP. Quercetin-3-glucuronide, main flavonoid of Alchemilla, Alchemilla xanthochlora Rothm. (Rosaceae) [in French]. Ann Pharm Fr . 1991;49:186.
4. Filipek J. Effect of Alchemilla xanthochlora water extracts on lipid peroxidation and superoxide anion scavenging activity. Pharmazie . 1992;47:717-718.
5. Lamaison JL, Carnat A, Petitjean-Freytet C. Tannin content and inhibiting activity of elastase in Rosaceae [in French]. Ann Pharm Fr . 1990;48:335.
6. 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.] [in French]. J Pharmacol . 1986;17:21-27.
7. Swanston-Flatt SK, Day C, Bailey CJ, Flatt PR. Traditional plant treatments for diabetes. Studies in normal and streptozotocin diabetic mice. Diabetologia . 1990;33:462-464.
8. Schimmer O, Hafele F, Kruger A. The mutagenic potencies of plant extracts containing quercetin in Salmonella typhimurium TA98 and TA100. Mutation Res . 1988;206:201-208.
9. Sokolowska-Wozniak A. Cytostatic activity of the lactone fraction of Alchemilla pastoralis B u s [in Polish]. Ann Univ Mariae Curie Sklodowska [Med] . 1985;40:107-112.

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