Shepherds Purse

Shepherd's purse is little used in herbalism, though it is a commonly used domestic remedy, being especially efficacious in the treatment of both internal and external bleeding, diarrhoea etc[4, 222]. A tea made from the whole plant is antiscorbutic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, haemostatic, hypotensive, oxytocic, stimulant, vasoconstrictor, vasodilator and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 13, 21, 46, 147, 165, 172, 176, 222]. A tea made from the dried herb is considered to be a sovereign remedy against haemorrhages of all kinds - the stomach, the lungs, the uterus and more especially the kidneys[4, 222]. The plant can be used fresh or dried, for drying it is harvested in the summer[9]. The dried herb quickly loses its effectiveness and should not be stored for more than a year[9]. Clinical trials on the effectiveness of this plant as a wound herb have been inconclusive[244]. It appears that either it varies considerably in its effectiveness from batch to batch, or perhaps a white fungus that is often found on the plant contains the medically active properties[244]. The plant has been ranked 7th amongst 250 potential anti-fertility plants in China[218]. It has proven uterine-contracting properties and is traditionally used during childbirth[222]. The plant is a folk remedy for cancer - it contains fumaric acid which has markedly reduced growth and viability of Ehrlich tumour in mice[218]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh plant[4]. It is used in the treatment of nose bleeds and urinary calculus[7]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Capsella bursa-pastoris Shepherd's Purse for nose bleeds, premenstrual syndrome, wounds & burns (see [302] for critics of commission E).

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