Shepherd’s purse is recognized by its long stems, deep-toothed leaves, and clusters of tiny white blossoms. The name refers to the plant’s triangular-shaped seed pod, which looks like a purse.
Other names for this herb include:
- Blind weed
- Lady’s purse
- Mother’s heart
- Naengi (Korea)
- Nazuna (Japan)
- Witches’ purse
- Yu Xing Cao (traditional Chinese medicine)
This plant contains fumaric acid and sulforaphane, substances that offer antioxidant effects, as well as phenols and flavonoids known to exert anti-inflammatory properties. Alternative medicine practitioners believe these properties can be used to help alleviate inflammation, improve blood circulation, and restore hormonal balance.
It has long been believed to stop bleeding (both external and internal) and aid in wound healing. Among the conditions it is is said to treat are:
- Heart failure
- Heavy periods
- Hematemesis (vomiting blood)
- Hematochezia (blood in stool)
- Hematuria (blood in urine)
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Postpartum uterine bleeding
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
What you need:
- dried shepherd’s purse herb
- a lidded mason jar
- a coffee filter
- a blue or brown glass storage jar
- Fill the mason jar with clean, dried shepherd’s purse and cover it completely with vodka.
- Seal the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for 30 days. Shake it once every few days.
- Use a coffee filter to filter the liquid into the glass jar and discard the plant.
- Store it in a dark, cool place. For your safety, don’t exceed more than about 1 teaspoon (5 mL) per day.
How to make tea
What you need:
- dried shepherd’s purse
- a tea ball
- a mug
- boiling water
- sweetener, cream (optional)
- Fill a tea ball with 3–4 teaspoons (about 6–8 grams) of dried shepherd’s purse and place it in a mug. Fill the mug with boiling water.
- Steep it for 2–5 minutes, depending on how strong you want your tea.
- Add sweetener, cream, or both before drinking your tea, if desired.
Shepherd’s purse is generally considered safe, as there has been no published evidence of any serious side effects associated with the use of this herb for most people.
That said, some health authorities advise people with a history of kidney stones to use caution when using it as it contains oxalate, a naturally occurring compound that can bind to calcium and promote the formation of stones.
Whether the risk of kidney stones when using this plant is greater than with other oxalate-containing plants (like rhubarb, spinach, or kale) is unknown.
Shepherd’s purse should never be used during pregnancy as it may induce contractions or menstruation, leading to miscarriage. Due to the lack of safety research, shepherd’s purse should also be avoided if breastfeeding.