Shepherd's Purse


Also known as

Capsella-bursa-pastoris, lady's purse, mother's heart, shepherd's bog.


Shepherd's purse is a temperate zone weed in the same plant family as cabbage, broccoli, mustard, and watercress. It is a biennial with an erect stem emerging from a rosette of leaves at its base. It bears four-petalled white flowers that produce heart- or purse-shaped seedpods. All of the aboveground parts of the plant are used in herbal medicines. During the nineteenth century, shepherd's purse was used by doctors as the principal remedy for uterine bleeding, especially when ergot and goldenseal were not available. Traditional Chinese Medicine adds shepherd's purse to formulas to "brighten vision," to correct blurriness and spots before the eyes.


Ascorbic acid, beta-sitosterol, choline, citric acid, diosmin, histamine, inositol, rutin, tannic acid, tannins.

Parts Used 

Seedpods, crushed before making tea.

Typical Preparations 

Teas, tinctures and encapsulations.


Shepherd's purse contains a protein that acts in the same way in the body as the hormone oxytocin, constricting the smooth muscles that support and surround blood vessels, especially those in the uterus. Other chemicals in the herb may accelerate clotting. Still other compounds in the herb help the uterus contract, explaining the long-time use of the herb to help the womb return to normal size after childbirth. Shepherd's purse is also a mild diuretic, providing potassium to replace the potassium lost through increased urination.

Precautions: Use of shepherd's purse to treat spotting during pregnancy is not recommended, since the herb can cause uterine contraction. If bleeding treated by the herb persists for more than three days, consult a qualified healthcare practitioner. Not recommended if you have severe liver or kidney disease. 


 For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

 This information courtesy of MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS, with full, written permission for reuse. 

For further traditional information concerning Shepherd's Purse, please visit this excellent resource  Used with full, written permission.