Alchemilla Vulgaris belongs to the category of "officinal plants": plants that possess pharmacologically active properties and can be used as pesticides.
It is also known by the name of: Erba Stella or Erba Rossa.
From the etymological point of view its name derives from the Latin term: alchemis.
According to tradition it was a plant used by alchemists for healing purposes, but also magic; it was thought that taking Alchemilla decoctions could restore women to virginity, even after marriage.
It belongs to the Rosaceae family (Asteraceae) which are part of the Compositae group.
Appearance of the alchemilla vulgaris
It is a perennial herbaceous plant that presents itself with:
- medium-sized underground rhizomes
- light green stem with reddish veins that can reach a height up to 30 or 50 cm.
-green leaves, very large, palmate. with a variable number of lobes with jagged margins that tend to be fan-shaped
- light yellow flowers tending to greenish, arranged in apical corimbo inflorescences and equipped with a small cup. The corolla is devoid of petals and continues with a very short petiole
-fruits generally consisting of 4 achenes arranged within the glass.
Where is it
It is a plant that prefers damp environments, therefore it grows preferably in the hills or in the mountains, in the shady areas of the woods.
It is widespread throughout central and western Europe.
In Italy it grows widely in the meadows of the Alpine and Apennine pastures and is a very welcome food for the herds of the mountain pastures.
It is a perennial plant, whose flowering occurs between May and September.
What it contains
From a biochemical point of view, Alchemilla Vulgaris has a structure similar to lutein and is classified as a "progesterone like" substance, similar to progesterone.
It contains numerous active ingredients:
The percentage of 6% (which can reach up to 8%) of tannins represents a component of maximum importance for pharmacological purposes.
In fact these substances perform a very effective vasoconstriction action acting as anti haemorrhagic of medium entity.
They have a high anti-oxidant power, counteracting the release of free radicals and helping to maintain a metabolic balance in the body.
Present with fairly high percentages, these active ingredients play an analgesic and mildly sedative action, for pains of no strong intensity.
They also have diuretic and purifying properties as, by enhancing the activity of the renal apparatus, they promote the elimination of toxins through diuresis.
They are substances that participate in numerous processes of regulation of hormonal activity, favoring the physiological well-being of the organism
They also act by decreasing cholesterol absorption and regulating lipid metabolism.
* oxalic acid
These compounds are present in traces and carry out a protective activity of medium entity
They are poorly present substances, whose action is exploited mainly for cosmetic uses of the vegetable.
How to use it
This plant is used in various ways and for different purposes.
- Fresh leaves
Fresh leaves, preferably freshly picked as they tend to dry very quickly, are used to flavor green salads.
They have a slightly bitter taste that goes very well with: lettuce, endive, red radicchio, shallot and rocket.
- Dry leaves
The dried leaves can be added to tea infusions, especially the green one.
They give a slightly spicy aroma.
To obtain an infusion it is necessary to use dry leaves that must be left in water for at least 30 minutes.
We recommend using 4 teaspoons of dried leaves in 150 ml of water.
After filtration, the drink is ready and can be taken with a dosage of two or three cups a day, preferably between meals.
It is advisable to drink it hot, even with the addition of a teaspoon of honey.
In this case you must let the dry leaves rest in cold water for at least 3 hours.
You get a drink with a pleasant taste, which can be sweetened with a teaspoon of honey.
You generally drink cold.
For the preparation of a decoction it is necessary to boil 1 gram of dry leaves for each cup of drink, which is taken after filtration and preferably hot.
The extract is obtained through a long purification process of the vegetable.
Dry leaves are used, let stand for several days.
The product thus obtained is then used for many purposes, both curative and cosmetic.
- Fluid extract
It is obtained by diluting the powder in a liquid-base, generally of an alcoholic nature.
The recommended dose is 2 or 3 grams per day.
It is recommended for those who are unable to swallow the capsules.
The latency time, before the effect is manifest, is very low since the liquids are assimilated faster than the dry extract.
- Dry powder
It is obtained by drying the vegetable and after subsequent shredding.
The powder thus obtained becomes the capsule component (pesticide).
It is generally considered that the optimal dose is 200 grams per capsule and that two capsules a day can be taken, always between meals.
- Essential oil
In this preparation the dry extract is mixed with an oily component and subsequently amalgamated to form a homogeneous compound.
Its use is mainly cosmetic
Effects of achemilla vulgaris
From a therapeutic point of view, this plant is highly effective at various levels:
* circulatory system
It has a constrictive vessel action (it causes a narrowing of the vessel size) which is applied in cases of medium entity hemorrhages, particularly abundant and painful menstruation, if a process of skin inflammation is in progress accompanied by redness and sensation of heat.
It is also effective as an astringent and anti-inflammatory, due to the action of tannin.
It also exerts a strong antiseptic action, assisting the action of disinfectants for wounds and abrasions with blood emission.
* muscular system
It has a spasmolytic and muscle relaxant action at the level of smooth muscle fibers.
In some cases of non-specific diarrhea or of colitis it has been observed that the infusions of Alchemilla determine a reduction of symptoms and a general improvement, for the attenuation of the pain caused by intestinal cramps.
* female genital apparatus
A beneficial action was also noted at the level of the uterine muscle fibers.
During painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea), the infusions of this plant attenuate the spasms of the uterine wall by decreasing the painful sensation.
It seems that these infusions are also effective in eliminating white losses (leucorrhoea).
Also effective, in the form of ointment, against vaginal itching and vaginitis
* integumentary apparatus
At the level of the epidermis it has been observed a remarkable efficacy consequent to the use of creams or essential oils containing Alchemilla.
The elasticity of the skin is increased, redness and inflammation are eliminated, and, for topical use, the products based on this vegetable have shown an effective cleansing and purifying action, especially on young acne-prone skin.
In phlogosis of oro-pharyngeal mucous membranes, products containing Alchemilla have proven to be effective anti-inflammatories, especially if used for gargling or local brushing.
Therefore indicated for: sore throat, tonsillitis, hoarseness and dryness of the mucosa.
In some cases it can also be used to mitigate toothache.
Alchemilla, which is often referred to by the scientific name of "Alchemilla vulgaris", is a perennial herbaceous plant,