Shepherd’s purse is a plant of the Cruciferae family. The parts that grow above the ground are used to make medicine. This species is believed to have originated in southern Europe, but it is difficult to pin down its origins because it is very adaptable. This plant spread so quickly along early migration and trade routes that it now grows throughout most of the world.
Shepherd’s purse was named after its heart shaped leaves bearing resemblance to the knapsack of a shepherd. Shepherd’s purse is one of the earliest greens in early spring. As a pot herb, the leaves are best eaten before the flower stalks appear. It is beneficial for women as they use shepherd’s purse for premenstrual problems, long periods, and menstrual cramps. As an herbal treatment, it has herbal uses as an infusion from the dried material, used fresh, or as an extract.
The infusion has also been used to treat earache. It can be used as a poultice to treat inflammation in the joints and other parts of the body. Its extracts can be made into an ointment and used to apply on wounds. Lactating women who suffer from swollen breasts have also reported relief after application of the herb. Cases of uterine haemorrhage, especially those with accompanying cramps and colic, also respond well to it.
Its tea although known for its bitter taste is also helpful, it can be taken alone or mixed with another herb like yarrow. Shepherd’s Purse haemostatic action is due to the presence of tyramine and other amines, and the acetylcholine, choline and tyramine have been shown to produce a transient decrease in blood pressure and haemostatic activity in vivo.
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. If person have blood pressure, thyroid gland, or heart problems, consult a doctor too before taking Shepherd’s Purse.