Common name: Shepherd's Purse
Latin name: Capsella bursa-pastoris
Other names: Blind Weed, Caseweed, Cocowort, Lady's Purse, Mother's-Heart, Pepper-And-Salt, Pick-Pocket, Shepherd's Heart, Shepherd's Scrip, Shepherd's Sprout, Shovelweed, St. James' Weed
Habitat: Shepherd’s Purse is native to Europe. Now, it is naturalized all around the world with exception of areas with tropical climates. Shepherd's Purse prefers moist to dry, rich and disturbed soil.
Description: Shepherd's purse is an annual plant. It has a softly hairy and slender, white taproot. Its basal rosette consists of deeply toothed leaves growing up to 20 cm in diameter. Smaller, alternately arranged and slightly toothed leaves appear on the erect and slender flower stalk. Small four-petaled flowers alternate around the tip of the stalk. They appear during spring, cross-shaped and white in color. As the first flowers are maturing, the stalk continues to grow and produce new flowers, and the process continues through early winter. Flowers then give way to two-celled, triangular seedpods, with numerous tiny seeds.
Parts used: Aerial parts (during flowering period).
Useful components: Thiamin, choline, inositol, fumaric acid, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, beta carotene, vitamin K, niacin, iron, rutin.
Medicinal use: Shepherd's Purse can be used fresh or dry in form of a tea or an infusion. The plant is considered to be an astringent, anti-inflammatory, diuretic and styptic. Used internally, Shepherd’s purse is very effective in cases of excessive menstrual flow, and is usually used to stop heavy bleedings and hemorrhaging. It is an excellent remedy against chronic uterine bleeding disorders, especially uterine bleeding caused by the presence of a fibroid tumor. It is also helpful in cases of gastrointestinal bleedings such as bleeding ulcers. Shepherd’s Purse is also used externally. Applied to injuries, it can promote the healing process and stop the bleeding. It is also said to be helpful in cases of eczema and rashes.
Safety: Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding should not use this plant. Sometimes skin may react from contact with the seeds. It is highly advisable to consult your doctor/herbalist before consumption of any herb.