Shephard’s Purse

Capsella bursa-pastoris


Habitat: A common plant growing in many parts of the world.

Collection: The herb can be collected from February until

Part Used: Aerial parts.


  • Flavonoids; luteolin-7-rutinoside andquercitin-3-rutinoside

  • Polypeptides of undetermined structure
  • Plant acids; fumaric and bursic acids
  • Bases; choline, acetylcholine, histamine, tyramine.

Actions: Astringent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory.

Indications: This easily recognized plant may be used
wherever a gently diuretic is called for, for instance in water
retention due to kidney problems. As an astringent it will prove
effective in the treatment of diarrhea, wounds,
nose bleeds, and other conditions. It has specific use
in the stimulation of the menstrual process whilst also being
of use in the reduction of excess flow.

Priest & Priest tell us that it is a “mild relaxing and gently stimulating to the kidneys and urinary tract: relieves
atonic and catarrhal conditions, and controls hemorrhages. Tonic
to the pelvic organs. Especially indicated when the urine is heavy
with phosphatic and `brick dust ‘sediments” They give the
following specific indications: vesico-renalirritations from
atonic states. Enuresis. Passive capillary hemorrhages,
functional menorrhagia, bleeding fibroid tumors,
metrorrhagia. Congestive leucorrhoea. Internal hemorrhage
of lungs and bowels, recurrent epistaxis. Hemorrhoids.

Ellingwood recommends it for the following pathologies: hæmaturia,
passive hemorrhage, chronic menorrhagia, intestinal
, gastric hemorrhage, atonic
, diarrhea, dysentary, bleeding
. Externally may be applied to bruised or strained
, rheumatic joints.

Combinations: Combines well with Agrimony, Cranesbill
or Periwinkle

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling
water ontol-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse
for l- minutes. If it is used for menstrual conditions, it should
be drunk every 2-3 hours during and just before the period. Otherwise
drink it three times a day. Tincture: take l-2ml of the tincture
three times a day.

Citations from the Medline database for the genus

Shephard’s Purse Iurisson SM. [Vitamin content
in shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa pastoris (L.)Medic.)]

Farmatsiia (1976 Jul-Aug) 25 (4):66-7 Kuroda K
Akao M. Effect of Capsella bursa-pastoris on liver catalase activity
in rats fed3′-methyl-4-(dimethylamino) azobenzene.

Gann (1975 Aug) 66 (4):461-2 Kuroda K Akao M Kanisawa
M Miyaki K. Inhibitory effect of Capsella bursa-pastoris extract
on growth of Ehrlich solid tumor in mice.

Cancer Res (1976 Jun) 36(6): 1900-3 Kuroda K Akao
M Kanisawa M Miyaki K. Inhibitory effect of Capsella bursa-pastoris
on hepatocarcino-genesis induced by 3-methyl-4-(dimethylamino)
azobenzene in rats.

Gann (1974 Aug) 65(4): 317-21 Kuroda K Kaku T.
Pharmacological and chemical studies on the alcohol extract of

Life Sci (1969 Feb 1) 8(3): 151-5 Kuroda K Takagi
K. Physiologically active substance in Capsella bursa-pastoris.

Nature (1968 Nov 16) 220 (168): 707-8 Kuroda K
Takagi K. Studies on capsella bursa pastoris. I. General pharmacology
of ethanol extract of the herb.

Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther (1969 Apr) 178 (2): 382-91
Kuroda K Takagi K. Studies on capsella bursa pastoris. II.
Diuretic, anti-inflammatory &anti-ulcer action of the herb.

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Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

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