Shepherd’s purse

Shepherd’s purse

Shepherd’s purse

Specification & Spread

Shepherd’s purse herb — herba bursae pastorisIt
Shepherd’s purse — Capsella bursa- pastoris (L.) Medik.
Cabbage family — Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)
Other names: sparrow’s eye, capsella, buckwheat, urine herb, lady’s-purse, shepherd’s bag, blindweed, swan, blind-worm, caseweed, purse.
It is an annual herbaceous plant up to 30 (60) cm
The stems are solitary, simple or branched.
In the basal rosette the bottom leaves are petiolate, from whole to pinnodiset and have toothed lobes.
The stem leaves are alternate, sessile, often whole, decreasing towards the apex.
The flowers are correct, small, white and gathered in the apical brush.
The fruit is strongly oblate, bivalve, reverse triangular heart-shaped little pod on a long stalk.
The seeds are oval, oblate and yellow-brown.
It blooms from early spring and almost all summer. The fruits ripen from June to September.
Spreading. It is a widespread field weed, found almost throughout the territory of Russia. Habitat. It grows in damp places, more often among tilled crops, in parks, along roadsides, in courtyards, gardens. It often forms continuous thickets.


The chemical composition of Shepherd’s purse herb
It contains:

  • vitamins: phylloquinone (vitamin K1), ascorbic acid, carotenoids. In the flowering phase it has the greatest content of vitamins. In addition, the plant contains flavonoids,
  • organic acids, tannins,
  • ramoglycoside gissopina,
  • biogenic amines (choline, acetylcholine),
  • significant amounts of potassium salts (in ash up to 40%) and
  • compounds containing sulfur.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. It is harvested in the summer in the flowering phase – the beginning of fruiting. The herb is mowed, cut or pulled out. The impurities of roots, yellowed leaves, polluted by soil and parts affected by powdery mildew are separated. It is not allowed to pick up a poisonous field-yard plant similar to a shepherd’s purse – Thlaspi arvense L., which is characterized by round-elliptical pods with wide wings on the sides (Fig. 4.14).
Security measures. In places of mass growths it doesn’t grow.
Drying. It is dried on the air in the shade, with good ventilation or in dryers at temperatures up to 45 ºС. The raw materials lay out a layer of 3-5 cm. The end of the drying is determined by the fragility of the stems.
Storage. It is stored in a cool and dry place, protected from the light.

Whole raw materials
The leafy stems are up to 40 cm long, simple or branched with a ribbed surface. It is bare or weakly pubescent at the bottom, with flowers and unripe fruits on elongated racemes and often with rosettes of basal leaves. The basal leaves are oblong-lanceolate, petiolate, pinnate, with sharp triangular strugoid-notched, entire or serrated lobes. The stem leaves are alternate, sessile, oblong-lanceolate, entire, or notched-toothed. The upper ones are almost linear with an arrow-shaped base.
The flowers are small, regular and dialypetalous. A catyx has 4 oblong-ovate and green sepals.
The corolla has 4 obovate petals.
The fruits are pods, reverse triangular-heart-shaped, slightly notched at the apex, oblate, with two drop-down flaps. The colour of the stems, leaves and fruits is green. The flowers are whitish. The smell is weak. The taste is bitter.
Milled raw materials
The pieces of leaves, stems and inflorescences of various shapes, individual flowers and fruits are passing through a sieve with holes which are 7 mm in diameter. The colour of the stems, leaves and fruits is green, the flowers are whitish. The smell is weak. The taste is bitter.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. K-vitamin and hemostatic agent.
The pharmacological properties of shepherd’s purse
Shepherd’s purse preparations have hemostatic properties. Due to vitamin K, shepherd’s purse has a hemostatic action.
Shepherd’s purse preparations enhance the tone and motility of the uterus muscles, as well as intestinal motility, which is associated with acetylcholine. The galenic shepherd’s purse forms expand peripheral vessels and have some hypotensive effect. The leaves have phytoncidal activity. For clinical practice, the high content of potassium in the plant is of interest.
Application of shepherd’s purse
As a medicinal plant shepherd’s purse has long been used in scientific and traditional medicine in many countries of the world. It is mainly used for uterine bleeding, as the shepherd’s purse combines the ability to reduce the muscles of the uterus, activate the blood coagulation system and increase blood clotting. The shepherd’s purse is indicated for gastrointestinal bleeding, especially for bleeding associated with impaired liver function and insufficient prothrombin production.
In urological practice, shepherd’s purse is included in the collections of medicinal plants for the treatment of patients with pyelonephritis, cystitis, urolithiasis, as a hemostatic agent and to compensate for the loss of potassium salts.
Shepherd’s purse is contraindicated during pregnancy.

It is contradicted with

  • hypersensitivity to the preparation and pregnancy.

Be careful: with increased blood clotting, thromboembolism (in history), during lactation.