Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
Shepherd’s Purse has a slender, white taproot, from which arises a basal rosette similar to the dandelion. The basal leaves are stalked, and the first leaves are usually rounded, while the later leaves are deeply toothed. The flower stalk reaches from 6 to 18
inches in height. The white flowers appear in crowded spike-like clusters at the top of the stalk. They have 4 petals which form a cross and 6 stamens. The flowers are self fertilizing. Each flower develops into a heart-shaped, two-celled seedpod, containing a number of tiny seeds. Shepherd’s Purse gains its name from the purse-like shape of its seedpods.
Family: Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)
Other Names: Witch’s pouches, Pickpocket, Pepper and salt,
Flowers: Early spring through early winter.
Parts Used: Aerial parts
Habitat: Fields, roadsides, waste places. Throughout. (Alien) Europe. It is
now naturalized around the world except tropical climates.
Constituents: Saponins, Mustard Oils, Flavonoids, Choline, Tyramine, Acetylcholine, Tannin, Essential Oil, Diosmine.
Properties: Astringent, anti-inflammatory, hemostatic, diuretic, and styptic.
Main Uses: Shepherd’s Purse is one of the most important herbs to stop bleeding. This is due to the tyramine and other amines it contains. An extract of Shepherd’s Purse is an effective blood coagulant which can be used for internal and external bleeding. An infusion can also be used.Shepherd’s Purse has been used for hemorrhoids, varicose veins and nosebleeds. It also has proven uterine-contracting properties and has been traditionally used during childbirth.A tea can be used for diarrhea and dysentery. Externally, it can be used as a wash for bruises.Preparation And Dosages:
Note: Do not keep longer than a year.
Infusion: Steep 1 teaspoon fresh herb in 1/2 cup water. Take 1 cup a day, a mouthful at a time.
Cold Extract: Soak 3 teaspoons fresh herb in 3/4 cup cold water for 8 to 10 hours. Take in the course of a day.
Juice: Take a teaspoon of the juice several times a day.
Tincture: [Fresh Plant, 1:2, recent Dry Plant, 1:5, 50% alcohol]. Take 20 to 60 drops, two to three times a day.
The seeds have been known to cause blistering of the skin.
Shepherd’s Purse is also a wild food.