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What are some important things to know about Shepherd’s-Purse?

Shepherd’s purse commonly known as capsella bursa-pastoris, is a triangular, purse like pods. It is a small annual and ruderal species belonging to the family of mustard. The plant has slender, flexible, slightly hairy and white taproot arising from basal rosette similar to dandelion. The first leaves are usually stalked and rounded while; the later are deeply toothed or may be variable. Slightly toothed, alternate leaves clasp the flower stalk reaching the height of 6″ to 18”. It also has 4 petals forming a cross and 6 stamens. These flowers are self fertilizing and heart shaped having length of 5mm with tiny seeds. Shepherd’s purse is found only from early spring to early winter. People usually cultivate this plant in eastern countries for eating purposes. It is one of the earliest wild greens in the spring season. The seedpods of the plant are used for peppery seasoning.

Origin:
The plant of shepherd’s purse is native to Asia Minor and Eastern Europe and considered a common weed in many parts of the world. It is also regarded as an archaeophyte in China and North America but, in the regions of North America and Mediterranean it is used as a model organism. It flowers in all the seasons through out the year. Bursa pastoris reproduce itself entirely from the seed and has a soil seed bank with a short generation time. The plant grows best in moist to dry, sunny and disturbed soils. This plant generally grows in lawns, edges of sidewalk and paths and sometimes through sidewalk cracks.

Constituents:
The leaves of the plant are quite rich in choline, inosital, fumaric and thiamin acid. They are a good source of ascorbic acid, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin. The leaves contain beta carotene, niacin, vitamin K, rutin and iron.
The action of these constituents is given under –
– antiscorbutic
– anti-hemorrhagic
– astringent
– diuretic
– coagulant
– stimulant etc.

Usage:
-Cardiovascular Conditions
– High or low blood pressure.
– Regulates heart action
– Normalizes circulation in the body.
– Female Conditions
– excessive menstrual flow
– menopause
– facilitates childbirth
– painful menstruation, combined with Rue and Rosemary
– promotes uterine contraction during childbirth
– regulates menstruation during puberty
– uterine cramp
– stops post natal bleeding
– blood Conditions
– bleeding from the kidneys, combined with Horsetail
– bleeding hemorrhoids
– bleeding from the lungs
– hematuria
– intestinal bleeding
– passive hemorrhages from mucous membranes
– nosebleeds
– stomach hemorrhage
– wounds which will not stop bleeding
– Genitourinary Tract Conditions
– abscesses of the bladder
– catarrhal conditions of the bladder and ureters
– bed-wetting in children
– increases the flow of urine
– irritation of the urinary tract caused by uric acid or insoluble phosphates or carbonates
– kidney complaints
– ulcerated conditions of the bladder
– urine with white mucous discharge

Precautions:
Shepherd’s purse has not been well studied, and its action is not well understood.
Limit the use to one or two months, and then take a one-week break, resuming if necessary. If used for excessive menstrual bleeding, use for a few days to a week before your period and during the menstrual period – not during the entire month. Shepherd’s purse constricts blood vessels, and is not recommended for people with high blood pressure. Pregnant and lactating women should avoid shepherd’s purse.

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