[HERB] Shepherd's Purse | Capsella Bursa Pastoris

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Common Names: Shepherd's Purse , Pickpurse, Casewort

Botanical Name: Capsella bursa-pastoris 

Medicinal Uses: * Cardiovascular * Cuts & Wounds * Menorrhagia

Properties: * AntiCancer * Antiscorbutic * Astringent * Diuretic * Emmenagogue * Febrifuge * Hypotensive * Refrigerant * Styptic

Parts Used: whole herb

Constituents: choline, acetylcholine and tyramine, saponins, mustard oil, flavonoids

How to Use: Shepherds Purse

Shepherd's purse is one of the important herbs to stop bleeding an effect due to the tyramine and other amines it contains. This property leads to its use is a number of conditions such as heavy menstrual bleeding, nosebleeds, and as a post-partum herb. The herb is both a vasodilator, and also hastens coagulation and constrict blood vessels.

Shepherd's purse contains a protein that acts in the same way in the body as the hormone oxytocin, constricting the smooth muscles that support and surround blood vessels, especially those in the uterus. Other chemicals in the herb may accelerate clotting. Still other compounds in the herb help the uterus contact, explaining the long-time use of the herb to help the womb return to normal size after childbirth. 

Preparation Methods & Dosage :Most often taken as a tea.


Shepherds Purse Remedies

Traditional Chinese Medicine  traditional Chinese medicine Shepherd's purse is used in traditional Chinese medicine formulas for blurred vision, and spots before the eyes.

Shepherds Purse Side Effects: Not recommended during pregnancy, the herb can cause uterine contractions. Not for those with liver or kidney disease.



Plant Description

Flowers: Small, white, in a long, loose raceme, followed by triangular and notched (somewhat heart-shaped) pods, the valves boat-shaped and keeled. Sepals and petals 4; stamens 6; 1 pistil.

Stem: 6 to 18 in. high, from a deep root.

Leaves: Forming a rosette at base, 2 to 5 in. long, more or less cut (pinnatifid), a few pointed, arrow-shaped leaves also scattered along stem and partly clasping it.

Flowering Season: Almost throughout the year.

Preferred Habitat: Fields, roadsides, waste places

Distribution: Over nearly all parts of the earth

From Europe this little low plant found its way, to become the commonest of our weeds, so completing its march around the globe. At a glance one knows it to be related to the alyssum and candytuft of our gardens, albeit a poor relation in spite of its vaunted purses—the tiny, heart-shaped seed-pods that so rapidly succeed the flowers. What is the secret of its successful march over the face of the earth? Like the equally triumphant chickweed, it is easily satisfied with unoccupied waste land, it avoids the fiercest competition for insect trade by prolonging its season of bloom far beyond that of any native flower, for there is not a month in the year when one may not find it even in New England in sheltered places. Netje Blanchan. Wild Flowers worth Knowing (1917)


History and Traditions & Folklore

Shepherd's Purse is so called from the resemblance of the flat seed-pouches of the plant to an old-fashioned common leather purse. It is similarly called in France Bourse de pasteur, and in Germany Hirtentasche. The Irish name of Clappedepouch was given in allusion to the begging of lepers, who stood at cross-roads with a bell or clapper, receiving their alms in a cup at the end of a long pole. 

** Information on the traditional uses and properties of herbs are provided on this site is for educational use only, and is not intended as medical advice. Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Many traditional uses and properties of herbs have not been validated by the FDA. If you have any serious health concerns, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs. **