Herbs Guide

Shepherd's Purse

Family Name: Cruciferae

Botanical Name(s): Capsella Bursa-Pastoris

Popular Name(s): Shephards Purse, Cocowort, Shepherd's Heart, Pickpocket, Toywort, Pick Purse, St. James' Weed, St. James' Wort.

Parts Used: Whole Plant

Habitat: It is probably of European or West Asiatic origin.

Description: The plant is green, but somewhat rough with hairs. The main leaves, 2 to 6 inches long, are very variable in form. Shepherd's Purse is an annual or biennial herb with a branched stem. Tiny white flowers appear all year, followed by heart shaped seedpods.

Uses: Shepherd's Purse is used internally to stop bleeding, especially during heavy menstruation, nosebleeds, hemorrhoids, blood in urine and wounds. In Chinese medicine it is used for "cooling the blood" as well as for unspecified eye diseases, dysentery and high blood pressure. Its anti scorbutic, stimulant and diuretic action causes it to be much used in kidney complaints and dropsy.