Shepherd's purse is a herb with the Latin name capsella bursa-pastoris and is found growing in many parts of the world.
Shepherd's purse gains its name from the purse-like shape of its seed pods and has a long history of use in traditional herbal medicine. It is a common weed in many areas of the world, with lanceolate leaves arranged in a rosette around the central flowering stems. Its constituents include: choline, acetylcholine and tyramine, saponins, mustard oil and flavonoids. The leaves have been eaten as a vegetable (similar to cabbage) in the diets of traditional peoples.
Herbal supplements can alter the effects of certain drugs, including prescription medications. Always tell your Doctor about any prescription medications, non-prescription medications, herbs or other dietary supplements you are taking. To date, there have not been any reports of interactions for Shepherd's Purse, but substances found in this herb could potentially interact with: - Antihypertensive (to reduce blood pressure) or hypertensive (to increase blood pressure) medications. - Sedative medications such as benzodiazepines, alcohol, barbiturates and certain antihistamines.
Always consult your Health Care Professional to advise you on dosages and any possible medical interactions. In Western herbal medical tradition, Shepherd's purse has been considered as an effective remedy for stopping bleeding, an effect probably due to the tyramine and other amines it contains. It has been used as a treatment for haemorrhoids, for varicose veins and to halt nosebleed. Shepherd's purse also has a traditional reputation as effective in the treatment of excessive uterine bleeding, blood in the urine and urinary tract infections (it has some diuretic activity, due in part to the mustard oil it contains). Naturally, any internal bleeding should always be investigated by a Doctor. It may also have anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer activity.
Antihaemorrhagic (stops bleeding), urinary antiseptic, anti-pyretic (anti-fever).
NOTES- Shepherd's purse should not be taken by pregnant women as it may have some oxytocic effects. Oxytocin is a hormone which causes contraction of the uterus during labour and may cause premature birth or harmful uterine contractions. Herbalists have used this herb traditionally to assist during labour, however:. - It is recommended to avoid excessive use during lactation. - Isothiocyanates found in Shepherd's purse may interfere with thyroid function if taken in excessive amounts. - Isolated constituents of Shepherd's purse were found to reduce heart rate and force of contraction in some animal studies. Use with caution in patients with heart disorders.