Sand Mountain Herbs

Shepherd's Purse Benefits

The Many Benefits of Shepherd's Purse
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shepherd's purse benefitsThe Benefits of Shepherd's Purse:   Though shepherd's purse is a common botanical herb utilized in herbal treatments, the fact is that, its healing benefits are in need of more investigation. Shepherds purse was named after its heart shaped leaves bearing resemblance to the knapsack of a shepherd.

In some parts of the world, shepherds purse is considered a weed, but we know better. Shepherds purse has a number of herbal benefits that the modern-day herbalists utilize for a number of medical applications. In fact, it has been used since antiquity to help with a number of ailments.

A lot of people get shepherds purse leaves confused with dandelion leaves. They do look similar, however have rosettes of dandelion leaves have rosettes that faced toward the center of the plant and shepherd's purse leaf rosetts face outward. You can also identify the difference in the two herbs by ripping the leaves and only dandelion leaves will put out a milky white sap.

It is easy to grow, even in the poorest soils, but it will grow to 2 feet in rich soil.
Shepherd's Purse Seed 

Here are some other names for this herb:

shepherd's heart, shepherd's bog, shepherd’s bag, shepherd’s scrip, shepherd’s sprout, coco wort or cocowort, mother's heart, case weed, case wort or casewort, pickpocket or pick pocket, toywort or toy wort, blindweed or blind weed, pepper and salt, rattle pouches, rattleweed or rattleweed, Chinese Cress, Nazuna, pick purse, permacety, toywort or toy wort, St. James' weed or St. James wort, St. Anthony's fire, pepper grass or peppergrass, witch's pocket, witch’s pouches, lady’s purse, ladies purse, poor man’s parmacettie, bourse de pasteur, hirtentasche, hirtenfaschel, Borsa de Pastor, clappedepouch, and Borsa di pastore.

There may be more common names, but those are the most commonly used.

Shepherd's Purse is a highly renowned ingredient used in a variety of Far eastern dishes. In China, Korea, & Japan it is used in recipes in a number of different ways. Curiously enough}, it is used in Chinese dumplings.

The flower, leaves, and seeds are all edible on this plant. The leaves, in fact, can be eaten raw or cooked.

Shepherds purse is one of the earliest greens in early spring. As a pot herb, the leaves are best eaten before the flower stalks appear.

Some people consider it to have a bite to its taste much like a radish, but I really don't see it being even that hot. It is very mild in my opinion. It is uncharacteristically mild for a mustard green when it is young and tender. It is also very good to add to salads, stews, soups, and sauces.

A lot of birds love Shepherd's purse. Chickens will devour the whole plant like there is no tomorrow. In fact, it will cause the yolk to change color and have a stronger taste when the chickens eat it. Grouse's, chaffinches, and gold finchs also like to eat the seeds.

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Nutrition Facts About Shepherd's Purse

It has several alkaloids in its volatile oils. Alkaloids can accumulate in the blood so beware of taking it long term. It is high in choline, thiamin (B1), inositol, and fumaric acid. It also has vitamins in riboflavin (B2) and ascorbic acid (C) along with the minerals calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. There are also some low amounts of vitamin K, beta carotene (vitamin A), iron, niacin, and the glycoside rutin.

Herbal Health Benefits of Shepherd's Purse

The benefits of herbs are many, and Shepherd's Purse is no different.  The medicinal use of herbs since antiquity is well known and continues to this day.  When you use nature's remedies, it can make a big difference in your health, but keep in mind that herbal solutions are much like anything.  Educate yourself on herb cures & plant remedies, it pays to have knowledge of the advantages of medicinal plants like Shepherd's Purse.

For uterine bleeding, doctors in the 19th century would look to use shepherds purse as a remedy, especially if goldenseal or ergot were not available. Even today, it is used to treat fibroid tumors.

As an herbal treatment, it is has herbal uses as an infusion from the dried material, used fresh, or as an extract. Because it is a vasoconstrictor, styptic, astringent, blood coagulant, diuretic, and anti-scorbutic, it is very hemostatic (which means it can stop bleeding). Used as a vulnerary medicinal herb to treat nose bleeding by applying the juice by using a cotton ball in the nose.

Internally, it is used as a natural remedy to help in bleeding problems because of its coagulatory effects. It is used to help women with menstrual cramps.

It is a medicinal herb that is often used for herbal relief during or after childbirth in women to help with bleeding issues. It has a protein that acts like the hormone oxytocin. This protein acts by constricting the smooth muscles that surround blood vessels.

It also can help alleviate nose bleeds and blood in urine. Externally, it also can be applied to wounds where bleeding or bruising occurs. Some people use it to treat varicose veins.

For uterine bleeding, doctors in the 19th century would look to use shepherds purse as a remedy, especially if goldenseal or ergot were not available. Even today, it is used to treat fibroid tumors.

It is used to treat muscle problems and circulatory issues, especially in helping blood pressure.

It is a haemostatic agent. This means that it stops the flow of bleeding in the body. A haemostatic agent will keep the blood in a damaged blood vessel.

It is also utilized to treat urinary infections associated with haematuria (red blood cells in urine) and menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding). It naturally increases the volume of urine when you urinate because of its diuretic properties (due to the presence of mustard oil).

It is a stress relieving herb. Research on rats showed that Shepherd’s Purse extract caused a reduction in ulcers caused by stress.

It even has a mild antibiotic effect toward gram positive bacteria. In treating malaria, shepherds purse extract has been used as a quinine substitute in a tight.

In ancient Chinese medicine, it was thought to "brighten the eyes". It was used to treat common eyesight problems such as blurriness or spots.

It can be used topically to lacerations to stop bleeding and help the healing process to begin. On the skin, it has also been used to help with eczema and rashes.

Warnings About Shepherds Purse
& Possible Shepherds Purse Side Effects

It is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It is not recommended to use during pregnancy because of its ability to cause uterine contraction. Also, it should not be used in high doses for extended periods of time.

There's been a lot of research into the interactions that they can have with other drugs so if you take other medications beware of possible side effects and speak to your doctor about this herb.

This information is not approved by the food and drug administration, and is not intended for anyone to use it to try to treat or prevent any disease without the help of a trained medical physician. This information is for educational purposes only.

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