Shepherds Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
Shepherds purse is a small weedy plant with seed pods that look like little purses. It grows wild all over the world. This herb has been used by man since ancient times. The herb is related to broccoli and cabbage.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Shepherds purse tincture can be taken before menstrual bleeding begins to prevent heavy bleeding. It can be effective to slow bleeding from uterine fibroids. It is also used by midwives right after childbirth to prevent hemorrhage. The herb works similar to oxytocin and it helps the uterus contract after birth, returning the uterus to pre-pregnant size faster.
This herb can also be used to treat blood in the urine, nosebleeds and hemorrhoids. It is also effective for internal bleeding. Shepherd's purse is a diuretic. It can be used for cystitis, dysentery, and eye disease. In Chinese medicine, it is used to brighten the vision and to cure blurriness and spots before the eyes.
Externally Shepherd's purse can be used topically on lacerations and traumatic skin injuries to stop bleeding. It also promotes healing. Some herbalists use it to treat eczema and skin rashes. It can also be used for varicose veins and bruising.
Other Uses Shepherd's purse is edible.
Whole plant The entire plant is used medicinally.
Do not use shepherd's purse constantly. Take a week long break every month or two. If you are using it to control menstrual bleeding, only take it a few days to a week before your period. Shepherd's purse constricts the blood vessels, so it should not be taken by people with high blood pressure. It should not be taken during pregnancy.
This herb helps blood to clot, so if you are taking coagulants, do not take shepherds purse, as it may increase the action of your medication. Do not take this herb if you take anti-coagulants, as it may interfere with what they are supposed to do. This herb is not recommended if you have liver or kidney disease.
Preparation and Dosage
Shepherds purse is most commonly used as a tincture. The normal dose is ¼ to ½ teaspoon that can be taken up to 4 times per day. If you take capsules, take two twice a day with meals and water. An herbal tea can be made from 3 to 5 grams of dried herb and boiling water. Allow the mixture to steep for 10 to 15 minutes before straining. Drink one cup 2 to 4 times per day between meals. For a fluid extract, take 1 to 4 ml up to 3 times per day.