Shepherd’s purse, the common name of Capsella bursa-pastoris, is a hardy annual that is grown in most parts of the world. The main leaves are either entire and toothed or pinnately cleft. Its slender, sparingly branched stem rises from the top of the root, the center of the rosette formed by radical leaves. The stem is smooth and bears a few, tiny, oval leaves and tiny, white flowers that are self-fertilized.
Close to this inconspicuous flowers are wedge-shaped pods that are split into two parts by narrow partitions and contain many oval yellow seeds. The fruit pod eventually separates into two triangular valves when ripe.
The leaves are rich sources of ascorbic acid, calcium, potassium, riboflavin, phosphorous, thiamine, inositol, choline, and fumaric acid. In addition, they supply some protein, beta carotene, vitamin K, iron, sulfur, niacin, and rutin, a flavonoid. They also provide acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.
Shepherd’s bag, Shepherd’s sprout, Lady’s purse, Witches’ Pouches, Shepherd’s scrip, Rattle Pouches, Pick-Pocket, Case-weed, Pepper-and-salt, Blindweed, Poor man’s parmacettie, Mother’s heart, Sanguinary, Clappedepouch, Bourse de Pasteur, Hirtentasche
Shepherd’s Purse Benefits
The astringent property of Shepherd’s Purse is useful in increasing uterine contraction during and after childbirth, inducing faster delivery, and alleviating painful and difficult menstruation. Because of its strong contracting action, it is contra-indicated for pregnant women.
Shepherd’s purse is believed to be effective in constricting the blood vessels and reducing high blood pressure.
Some herbalists consider the herb as one of the best medications for stopping all kinds of haemorrhages in the stomach, uterus, and lungs. It can bring permanent cure in simple cases of chronic menorrhagia where the blood flow is persistent and excessive. It is specially indicated for bleeding in the kidney, as well as nosebleeds and skin scratches. It is a good treatment for diarrhea because of its tightening action on loose bowels.
Those who have difficulties urinating because of kidney impairments can also take Shepherd’s Purse as a diuretic. It is highly recommended for those who wish to obtain quick relief from conditions wherein urine is accompanied by white mucous matter.
It is a rich source of fumaric acid which is believed to have strong anti-cancer action.
The herb’s fresh decoction has been utilized in treating hemorrhoids, chronic diarrhea, hematuria, and dysentery. It is also used as a local application to ease rheumatic pains.
Shepherd’s purse is not just the timeless remedy for bleeding and hemorrhages; it is a powerful astringent and pain reliever.