June 7th, 2012Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
By: Jo Franks MH
One of the first plants to come up in the spring is shepherd’s purse. This plant is considered a weed by most, but those who have had opportunity to use it and see its virtues think differently. The plant receives its common name from the shape of its seed pods which resemble an old fashioned leather purse which used to be carried by shepherds. One of the greatest virtues of this plant is its ability to stop bleeding. It is used quite often during and after childbirth, to stop a nosebleed, or to regulate heavy menstrual flow.
A lady who was a river guide was wondering what to do because she typically had heavy menstruation and an upcoming trip would coincide with her cycle. She was told to make a sun tea each day of equal parts shepherd’s purse and red raspberry leaves. She used a plastic Gatorade bottle (glass was not allowed on the river) and put about a tablespoon of each herb into the bottle and filled it with water to make a quart of tea. She then put it on top of the baggage pile so it could steep in the sun. She drank this every day and to her amazement experienced very little bleeding or discomfort.
Shepherd’s purse has many other uses as well. It is used as a diuretic and in cases where there is scalding urine or white mucus in the urine. It can also be used to help heal wounds.
You can make your own shepherd’s purse tincture by filling a glass jar half full with dried shepherd’s purse, then fill the jar to the top with 100 proof vodka or raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Put the lid on the jar and shake 3 or 4 times a day for 2 weeks. Strain off the liquid and keep this liquid in a clean amber glass bottle. This is your tincture and can be used for bleeding. For heavy bleeding use one or two droppers full every half hour until bleeding slows down or stops. If you have access to fresh shepherd’s purse, fill the jar to the top with the fresh plant, add ever clear to the top of the jar, cap tightly and shake 3 or 4 times a day for 2 weeks and strain. The tincture can be used internally for bleeding or externally on cuts and wounds.