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Shepherd's Purse

Capsella bursa-pastoris

Herbs gallery - Shepherds Purse

Common names

  • Caseweed
  • Mother's-heart
  • Shepherd's Purse
  • Shovelweed

Shepherd's purse (botanical name Capsella bursa-pastoris) is a weed-like annually growing herb that produces white flowers. This plant belongs to the mustard family and its diminutive flowers emerge as a four-armed cross. Shepherd's purse is not susceptible to frosts and it is well-known for catching the fancy of wildlife. The flowers of this herb are hermaphrodite, denoting that each flower possesses both the male as well as the female organs. While the Shepherd's purse is self-fertile, its flowers are pollinated by themselves.

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The herb shepherd's purse is an important item for your natural emergency kit. You should keep some amount of shepherd's purse in your emergency kit owing to the herb's exceptional attribute to stop all types of hemorrhages almost instantly. In case you are suffering from a chronic nosebleed which has not responded to any conventional medications, it is advisable that you drench a few cotton balls in a small amount of tea prepared with shepherd's purse, force out the surplus liquid and put them in the nostrils with a view to control any further bleeding.

Shepherd's purse can also be used internally. For obtaining the best results of using this herb, drink half a cup (125 ml) of the tea prepared with shepherd's purse at intervals of an hour or as needed. However, it is important to note that it first be taken on an empty stomach as it will give the utmost benefits of the herb. The tea prepared with shepherd's purse herb may be applied externally in its cold form to any lesion with soaked cloth compresses or by holding cotton balls soaked in the cold tea firmly against the wound till the hemorrhage stops completely. This tea may also be used in a similar fashion to heal skin ulcers, scratches and bites.

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In fact, the herbal tea prepared with shepherd's purse is among the finest teas that any woman can drink after haemorrhaging following childbirth. In this case, the tea ought to be taken many cups at the same time in its cold form. In addition, shepherd's purse is also an excellent remedy for conditions like bloody stool and urine, in addition to haemorrhages from the lungs.

Preparing this dynamic herbal tea that cures a number of grave health conditions is rather simple. First, boil a pint of water and put two tablespoonful of dried shepherd's purse into it. Cover the container and remove it from the heat allowing the herb to infuse for about 45 minutes. Next, filter the liquid and store it in a refrigerator. It is best to take this tea when it is cool.

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Parts used

Aerial parts.

Uses

The herb shepherd's purse is known to be among the best natural medication that prevents and/ or stops hemorrhages and has been used for a long time especially to cure profuse uterine hemorrhages. Although compared to ergot, the action of shepherd's purse is weak, this herb is less toxic in comparison to ergot and, hence, the body is able to tolerate it better. In fact, this herb can be used to prevent as well as stop all types of bleeding, ranging from nosebleeds to blood in urine and stool. Shepherd's purse possesses astringent properties and, hence, it is effective in disinfecting the urinary tract when one is enduring cystitis. For the same purpose, this herb is also used to treat diarrhea. In Chinese medicine, shepherd's purse is used to treat dysentery as well as eye problems.

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While shepherd's purse is rarely used in herbal medicine today, it is a frequently used home remedy, since it is highly useful in treating internal as well as external hemorrhages, besides treating cystitis and diarrhea as well as other disorders. An herbal tea prepared with the whole shepherd's purse plant is known to be astringent, anti-scorbutic (a medication that is effective against scurvy), diuretic, haemostatic (a medication that stops bleeding), emmenagogue (a medication that encourages menstrual discharge), oxytocic (a medication that promotes child birth), hypotensive (any agent that causes low blood pressure), vasoconstrictor, stimulant or tonic, vulnerary (a medicine that promotes healing of wounds) and vasodilator. Similarly, a tea prepared with the dehydrated shepherd's purse plant is believed to be an independent medication to prevent as well as stop all types of bleedings - including hemorrhages of the stomach, the uterus, the lungs and particularly the kidneys.

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Shepherd's purse, which grows and is harvested throughout the year, may be used fresh as well as dried. The plant is harvested in summer with the purpose of drying it out. It may be noted that the dried herb loses its remedial properties very quickly and, hence, it is advisable that you should not store this herb in excess of a year. Although shepherd's purse is extensively used as a home remedy to heal wounds, clinical experiments with the herb have not yes fully substantiated this use of the plant. It seems that the plant's effectiveness varies much from one batch to another, or maybe a white fungus that is frequently found on this plant encloses therapeutically active attributes. In China, shepherd's purse has been graded 7th among a total of 250 potential anti-fertility plants. The uterine constriction properties of this herb have been proved and, hence, it has been traditionally employed all through child birth. In addition, shepherd's purse is also a traditional medication for treating life threatening disease like cancer. In fact, the herb encloses fumaric acid and laboratory tests on animals have proved that it has remarkably lessened the growth as well as capability of Ehrlich tumour in mice.

In addition to the above mentioned uses of shepherd's purse, it should be noted that the herb is also used to prepare a homeopathic remedy for urinary calculus (kidney stone) and nosebleeds.

Habitat and cultivation

It is believed that shepherd's purse is indigenous to Europe and Asia, but now it is found growing in almost all places having temperate climatic conditions. In fact, this plant grows copiously in the form of weeds in temperate regions. This herb is harvested all through the year.

Shepherd's purse thrives well in almost all types of soils and this plant will even grow in very inferior type soil. However, when they are growing in inferior or very poor soil, the plants generally reach a height of just a few centimetres prior to blossoming and setting seed. Contrarily, when they are growing in fertile soils, shepherd's purse may grow up to a height of 60 centimetres. It may be noted that the shepherd's purse is an extremely ordinary garden weed that multiplies very rapidly and unrestricted when they grow on cultivated soil. More often than not, shepherd's purse blossoms as well as produce seeds throughout the year. In fact, this plant species is a major instance of the manner in which any plant can be considered to be a bothersome weed in a number of regions across the world, while in several other places it is cultivated with care for varying uses of the plant.

Cultivation of shepherd's purse is widespread in a number of areas across the world in the form of spring greens that possess the flavour of cabbage. In fact, in Japan, shepherd's purse is among the indispensable elements of a traditional rice as well as barley gruel that are consumed on January 7 every year. When the plant is cultivated, the leaves grow somewhat larger compared to those growing in the wild. It is possible to harvest the leaves of shepherd's purse about a month from the date of the seeds being sown. In addition, soon after the leaves are harvested, shepherd's purse plants are once again able to grow as a crop. The plants grow quite rapidly again to produce seeds, particularly when grown in hot arid whether conditions or when grown in poor soil. Shepherd's purse belongs to the cabbage family and is considered to be a host plant for several ailments of Brassicas (plants belonging to the genus Brassica). The seeds of shepherd's purse are especially a favourite of the birds.

Shepherd's purse is propagated by its seeds, which need to be sown in situ (in their permanent place) during the period between February and May. In addition, the seeds may also be sown much later, for instance in mid autumn. Shepherd's purse is an ordinary weed which grows in disturbed ground and, more often than not, this plant does not require any help for its survival.

Research

Findings of several studies have shown that shepherd's purse possesses anti-inflammatory attributes and is effective in reducing fevers. However, it is advisable that this herb should never be taken by women during pregnancy.

Side effects and cautions

People using or intending to use shepherd's purse should be aware of the side effects and precautions related to this herb. Shepherd's purse should never be preserved for over a year and also not be used by pregnant women. In addition, people having a history of kidney stones ought to use this herbal medication with precaution.

Constituents

Shepherd's purse contains:

Applications

Aerial parts
The aerial parts of the shepherd's purse are used for therapeutic purposes in the form of infusion, poultice, tincture, and compress.
INFUSION - To prepare an infusion with shepherd's purse, boil one pint of water and add two tablespoonful of the dried herb to it and allow the mixture to permeate for about 45 minutes. Subsequently, filter the liquid and store it in a refrigerator.
This infusion is very effective for curing cystitis, menstrual bleeding and diarrhea. Taking a strong infusion (usually twice the potency of the usual infusion) prepared with fresh or freshly dehydrated shepherd's purse gives the best results. Sipping a hot infusion during labor facilitates contractions and following child birth, the infusion provides relief from postpartum bleeding.
TINCTURE - The standard dosage of shepherd's purse tincture is 10 ml taken thrice every day to treat cystitis, menstrual bleeding as well as diarrhea.
COMPRESS - Saturate a pad in the infusion prepared with shepherd's purse and apply it directly to the cuts. To treat nosebleeds, drench small cotton balls in the tincture and put them inside the nostrils.
POULTICE - The fresh shepherd's purse herb can be directly applied to bleeding wounds in the form of a poultice.

Combinations

Shepherd's purse can be combined with trillium, goldenseal in menorrhagia.

Revitalizing spring salad

The fresh leaves of shepherd's purse herb may be used to prepare a refreshing spring salad. To prepare this salad you require the following ingredients in equal proportions.

Wash the leaves thoroughly and spin-dry them. Season them accordingly for flavour. It is important to eat this salad as soon as possible after the leaves have been picked fresh.

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