Shepherds purse: botanical image of the Shepherds purse plant

Shepherd’s Purse

Capsella Bursa-pastoris

Family: Brassicaceae

Bio-Live: Shepherd’s purse is a key herb in Bio-Live Women. 

Description: Growing to 40cm (16in) in height. Esteemed the world over for its green, flat heart-shaped fruits in the spring. Tiny four-petaled flowers grow in clusters with basal leaves.

Habit and cultivation: Native to Europe and considered a weed, it now grows throughout the world. It is the second most prolific wild plant in the world. Grows in most soils, cultivated or wild areas and wastelands everywhere.

Actions (known for): Anti-haemorrhagic (systemically), anti-haemorrhagic (topically), styptic, anti-haemorrhagic (uterine), anti-inflammatory and diuretic.

History: ‘Capsella’ in Latin translates to little box, referring to the fruit commonly called Shepherd’s purse. A well known medicine during ancient Greek and Roman periods for diarrhoea, dysentery and stomach cramps. The Native Americans also used it for the same complaints.

Parts used: Above ground parts.

Constituents (bio available chemicals): Acetylcholine, bursic acid, choline, diosmin (flavonoid glycoside), fumeric acid, tyramin and polypeptides.

Nutritional constituents: Vitamin C and K. Minerals: calcium, iron, potassium, sodium, sulphur and zinc.

Indications: Dysmenorrhoea, menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, nose-bleeds, uterine bleeding and catarrh (genitourinary tract).

Dosage: Liquid extract (1:2): 20-40ml per week. Infusion of dried herb: 1-4g 3 x daily.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia: Uterine hemorrhage.

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