BULGARIA. Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa pastoris), Cut and Sifted, Organic
Common names: Mother’s Heart, Scrip, Ji Cai, Blind Weed, Cocowort, Permacety, Pepper and Salt, Peppergrass, Pick Pocket, St. James Weed, Casewort, Torighash, Shovelweed, Rattle Pouches, St. Anthony’s Fire, Pickrocker, Boursette, Toywort, Rattle Pouches, Naengi, Lady’s Purse, Witches’ Purse, Nazuna, Yu Xing Cao
Shepherd’s Purse is a small annual plant, growing up to around 18 inches high, that originated in eastern Europe and Western Asia and has become widespread in temperate climates throughout much of the world, including North America. It grows mainly in disturbed areas, fields, and roadsides, and is said to be the second-most prolific wild plant. Its seed attract and kill nematodes, which then enrich the nearby soil. It is commonly eaten as a food in Asia and historically by Native Americans, and has been added to animal feeds and cosmetics.
In traditional medicine it has long been considered an important remedy for bleeding from the stomach, lungs, kidneys, and particularly the uterus. Indigenous North American tribes valued it for stomach pains, dysentery, internal worms, and topically for poison ivy rashes. According to Culpeper, “…few plants possess greater virtues than this, and yet it is utterly disregarded.” In addition to applications related to bleeding, it has been used for PMS, heart failure, diarrhea, and low blood pressure.
Shepherds’ Purse contains antioxidants including fumaric acid and sulforaphane, as well as anti-inflammatory phenols and flavonoids. A sugar called capselloside, recently isolated from Shepherd’s Purse by Korean scientists, showed in vitro anti-inflammatory effects on nerve cells. Other compounds were identified in the plant which inhibited overproduction of NO2, an issue associated with a number of conditions such as arthritis, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, and seizures.
Two controlled human studies conducted in Iran in 2017 and 2018 showed beneficial effects on postpartum hemorrhage, in combination with oxytocin, and heavy menstrual bleeding, given along with mefenamic acid, confirming its best-known traditional use. 2017 Korean research with in vitro and animal models demonstrated the ability of Shepherd’s Purse extract to protect the liver from fat accumulation (hepatic steatosis) due to high-fat diet.
Shepherd’s Purse is best avoided during pregnancy.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.