Shepherd’s Purse: Hemmoraging and Bleeding

It’s not thesheperds purse-fruit-big most beautiful plant I know, but Shepherd’s Purse, although named for it’s tiny purse like blossoms and leaves, carries within it help for emergency hemorrhaging and bleeding.

In looks, it’s often mistaken for a a dandelion, although they’re prettier, but it does the job of vascular constriction well; it reliably stops bleeding, and when given as a tea, begins to replace the fluids lost from bleeding.

shep_purse1You can easily distinguish Shepherds Purse from Dandelion, in one of two ways.

If you pull a leaf from a Dandelion, you get a milky white sap. And the leaves on a Dandelion face the center of the plant.

On a Shepherds Purse plant, the leaves face upward and outward, away from the center of the plant.  Almost as  if it were looking for something outside of itself to help. shepherds purse 2

The flower, leaves, and seeds are all edible with Shepherds Purse. The leaves, in fact, can be eaten raw or cooked.

You can harvest the leaves throughout the year, but if you’re thinking of eating them (say…in a salad…) you really want the leaves that are showing up in the spring, and before this little plant from the Mustard Family, blooms.

For hemorrhaging concerns, heavy bleeding, fibroid tumors, and other events of a similar nature, Shepherds purse is a great herb to have on hand.

None of us ever knows when an emergency might happen.  By learning about and gathering herbs, we prepare for the future.  As I always say (yes, I always say it ad infinitum), “If something happens, you are ready…and if nothing happens, you are still ready…”  It’s a win, no matter what happens.  So why not prepare?

To digress slightly, as the Russian economy is failing right now,  those most unaffected by it, are those men and women, who’ve learned to grow what they need, and gathered what is available in their area.

I truly believe, that whatever herb you need in an emergency, there probably exists in your area, another herb that can do the same job of an herb that grows locally for me, like Shepherds Purse.

Although, Shepherds Purse is found all over the world in many sparse, and barren areas, I find it most commonly in between the cracks in cement, and just randomly popping up all over the yard.sheperds purse

Today, I focused on the plants in the Central Utah area of North America, but I hope you will accept the challenge of learning what the herbs in your area can do.

Here’s my recipe for a simple extract, it’s easy to make, and I love it.  Just think what fun this spring will be as you go out and explore your yard, your neighborhood, your world!

Shepherd’s Purse Fluid Extract (Use this recipe generally for an infusion mix)

  • 1 and 1/2c Nearly boiling water (you don’t want boiling, but just before that stage, as boiling water can damage the oil content or even destroy your herb.)
  • 1 ounce Dried Herb
  • Reduce liquid in pan until you are left with about 1/2 cup of liquid (keep stirring), and then strain.
  • Place in well covered mason jar or pitcher.   It may be dosed either hot or cold.  I keep mine in the refrigerator.
  • 1/2 t to 1 t, added to water, or by itself, every hour or two, and thereafter as the bleeding slows or stops, up to 3 times daily.
  • You may sweeten this with honey.

Discontinue use upon cessation of bleeding, but can be taken for short periods of time (5-7 days), but remember that Shepherds Purse like any other medicinal remedy  has alkaloids that can build up the body, since it contains Bursine, which is similar to strychnine, but on a far less dangerous scale.

You can tincture this herb easily, (See Making Your Own Tincture), and take 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon at a time – up to 1 teaspoonful – three or four times a day before your menstrual period is due and during the period to reduce heavy bleeding.  Or as your healthcare provider directs.

Avoid use during pregnancy because of its ability to cause uterine contraction.

Another word of caution, don’t take this with other medicines until you have spoken with your Doctor.  While there has been a great deal of positive research on Shepherds Purse, it’s possible with any herb to have interactions with other medications, so play it safe and check with your MD.

Also, since Shepherd’s Purse constricts the blood vessels, it is not recommended for those with high blood pressure.

This is always why I encourage you to do your own research.  Learn everything you can on any given herb or medicine, and in doing so, you will be coming from a point of knowlege rather than hoping someone else is right.  It’s always better to learn from two or three good sources, and more if you have the inclination and time.

Has anyone had experience with this herb as well?  I would love your feedback!

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Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration, healthcare professional, or even the town gossip.
They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Herbs and Wildcrafting is for educational purposes only.

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