This beauty is Alchemilla Vulgaris or Lady’s Mantle and many people have it growing in their gardens (or the useable Alchemilla Mollis variety) without knowing its amazing reputation as a medicinal herb, or its fame with the alchemists of old.
If you look closely on a summer morning you can see tiny dew drops in the very centre of the umbrella-shaped leaf. These are not dewed in fact, but an exudate from the plant – it shines like a diamond in the morning and tastes sweet if you ever get the chance to try it. This elixir was thought by the alchemists to be part of the recipe to turn lead into gold – hence the plant was named Alchemilla for them.
For herbalists, this plant is useful on many levels. On a physical level, it is helpful to regulate periods – particularly where there is heavy bleeding that needs to be checked. On a more emotional level, this plant was called Lady’s Mantle partly because of the shape of the leaf (resembling a cloak) but also because it was thought to bring protection to women under the influence of a strong man. I like to add some to my mixes for women who are coming out of difficult relationships and I always tell them why I’m doing it. Does it really work? I couldn’t say, but I know several women who have enjoyed the idea that a plant could support them to find themselves again and have missed it when I took it out without their knowledge.