Shepherd’s purse: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Shepherd's purse: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Shepherd’s purse was originally native to Europe, but the plant is now widespread worldwide as a weed. The medically used material comes from wild deposits in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Asia. In herbal medicine, the dried aerial parts of the plant are used.

Shepherd’s Purse: Special Traits

Shepherd’s purse is an annual to biannual plant up to 80 cm high with deeply lobed, entire, elongated leaves that are in a basal rosette. The small, white flowers sit on a fine, 40 cm tall flower stalk. In addition, the plant bears typical, upside-down heart-shaped pods resembling the pouches used by shepherds in the past. The trivial name Shepherd’s Purse is due to this fact.


Shepherd’s purse as medicine

The medically usable material is characterized by flat, obcordate, green to light yellow pod fruits and parts of these, for example, the red-brown seeds. There are also fine pieces of stems with longitudinal grooves and leaf fragments.

smell and taste

The herb gives off a faint, rather unpleasant smell. The taste of shepherd’s purse is bitter and slightly spicy.

Shepherd’s Purse – Application


Use to stop bleeding.

Shepherd’s purse has a haemostatic effect and is therefore used internally for the symptomatic treatment of slightly prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), excessive menstrual bleeding or bleeding of the uterus outside of the normal menstrual cycle (metrorrhagia).

The herb is also used for bleeding from other organs, such as the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract or the urinary tract, and nosebleeds. Externally applied, shepherd’s purse can also be used to stop bleeding from superficial skin injuries.


Folk medicinal use of shepherd’s purse

From the point of view of traditional medicine, the shepherd’s purse contributes to improving general well-being. The shepherd’s purse has been used since ancient times. The seeds were found during archaeological excavations. In ancient times, the shepherd’s purse was used to flush the uterus and for “women’s bleeding”. In modern folk medicine, the drug is used as a styptic for nosebleeds and as a treatment for menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea).

Shepherd’s purse in homoeopathy

Homeopathically, the fresh above-ground parts of the shepherd’s purse are used for bleeding in the uterus, bleeding from the mucous membranes and stone diseases.


Ingredients of shepherd’s purse

Shepherd’s purse contains flavonoids and biogenic amines such as tyramine, acetylcholine, and phenylcarboxylic acids.

Shepherd’s purse: what indication?

The following indications can be treated with a shepherd’s purse:

  • menstrual abnormalities
  • prolonged menstrual bleeding
  • increased menstrual bleeding
  • acyclic bleeding
  • bleeding
  • nosebleeds
  • bleeding skin injuries


Shepherd’s Purse – Dosage


Shepherd’s purse is a component of various teas, such as a single drug that affects the blood count or in combination with other plants in heart and circulatory teas.

Other dosage forms of shepherd’s purse

Shepherd’s purse is available in herbal medicinal products as a combination preparation in drops, tinctures, and coated tablets. Poultices or nasal packs can be made from an herb infusion for external use.


The right dose

Unless otherwise prescribed, the herb’s average daily dose is 10-15 g. The recommended daily amount for fluid extracts is only 5-8 g. For local external use, 3-5 g of shepherd’s purse can be added to 150 ml of water, and an infusion can be made from it.

Shepherd’s Purse: Preparation

To prepare tea, 3-5 g of the finely chopped herb (1 teaspoon corresponds to about 1.5 g) are poured over with boiling water and passed through a tea strainer after 10-15 minutes.

Envelopes or nasal packs can be made for external use. To do this, pour 150 ml of boiling water over 3-5 g of shepherd’s purse, pass through a tea strainer after 15 minutes and soak a cloth or tamponade in the lukewarm infusion.


Advice on use and storage

Side effects, interactions with other drugs and contraindications are not yet known. Shepherd’s purse, however, should not be taken in too high a dose and over a long period.

Shepherd’s purse should be stored dry and protected from light. The amines can be converted into inactive substances if stored in a damp place.

Shepherd’s purse – synonyms


German plant name: Shepherd’s purse

German synonyms of the plant: Common shepherd’s purse, ordinary shepherd’s purse, authentic shepherd’s purse, bedside sack, bag cutter, blood herb, tormentil, Boer ham, Herzel, farmer’s mustard, cooking spoon, spoon thief, schoolboy’s purse, goose cress, pocket kneeler

Latin plant name: Capsella bursa-pastoris L.

Latin synonyms of the plant: Capsella Bursa Pastoris, Bursa pastoris, Capsella polymorpha, Iberis bursa-pastoris, Lepidium bursa-pastoris, Nasturtium bursa-pastoris, Rodschiedia bursa-pastoris, Thlaspi bursa-pastoris, Thlaspi polymorphum.

German drug name: Shepherd’s purse

German synonyms of the drug: Common shepherd’s purse, Hellerkraut, Sackkraut, Pursekraut, Herzelkraut, blood herb, bag cutter herb, starvation herb, ham herb

Latin drug name: Shepherd’s Purse herb

Latin synonyms of the drug: Shepherd’s purse herb, Sanguinaria herb

English word: Capsella, Capsell, Caseweed, Shepherd’s purse, Lady’s purse, Mother’s Heart, Chinese Cress, Shovelweed, Toy-wort

Plant family Latin: Brassicaceae

Plant family German: cruciferous


Shepherd’s Purse – Effect

Shepherd’s purse has an antihypertensive effect when given parenterally. For example, when injected into the veins in low doses, but in higher doses, it increases blood pressure. In addition, the herb leads to an increase in heart rate (positive chronotropy) and heart strength (positive inotropy) and increased contraction of the uterus (uterine contraction).

A local haemostatic effect was observed in herb extracts, probably due to a specific peptide. Animal experiments have also shown anti-inflammatory and diuretic effects. However, a reliable explanation of the clinically observed effects has yet to be created.

Shepherd’s purse: side effects

Side effects, interactions with other drugs and contraindications are not yet known.


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