"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"

by Deborah Ray
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Generally, dosages would be as follows although dosages may need to be changed to fit the situation.  “Decoction, 2 fluid ounces 3 times daily between meals.  Fluid extract, 1 teaspoonful (1/8 of decoction).  Infusion, 1 cupful.  Powder, 1-4 grams.  Tincture, ˝ -1 fluid teaspoon (30-60 drops).”
The most commonly known use for Shepherd’s Purse has been for bleeding in general and uterine hemorrhage postpartum specifically, as it constricts blood vessels.  It is usually used in conjunction with other anti-hemorrhagic herbs such as cayenne, mistletoe, yarrow etc., along with lobelia.  Weed feels, that the dosage to control bleeding after completing a miscarriage, should be 10-20 drops of the tincture, and 20-40 drops for postpartum hemorrhage.  With the fresh plant tincture being better and stronger, she says that if the dried plant extract or tincture is all you have available, try 1 teaspoon, (150 drops) under the tongue and repeat every minute or as needed.
King suggests having Shepherd’s Purse powder or tincture ready during labor, ‘just in case’.  He mentioned that it can be used to regulate excessive menstrual flow, and that a tincture or fomentation of Shepherd’s Purse can be rubbed into the abdomen for prolapsed uterus, starting with the vagina and working upward.  He also suggested 2 C daily of the tea for menstrual cramps.  King said it can be used as a douche for fibroid tumors of the uterus.   Moore mentions “Trillium . . . works remarkably well for fibroid (myomas and fibromyomas) bleeding combined with 30 drops of Shepherd’s Purse.”  And  “For mid-cycle spotting, especially during ovulation, use the same approach, taking the Trillium and Shepherd’s Purse doses for at least a couple of days.”  (Regarding Trillium, that is Trillium ovatum.) It is also a “hemostatic for hematuria, excess menses and so forth; oxytocin agonist for postpartum bleeding or difficult placenta delivery.”  Shepherd’s Purse in extract form “. . . is found in a few anti-dysmenorrhea drugs (Wichtl and Bisset, 1994).”
Davis said, that for a slow trickle of blood after delivery of the placenta “. . . give several droppersful of shepherd’s purse and blue cohosh tinctures.”  Erickson, said that due to Shepherd’s Purse being “. . . very temperamental in terms of its preparation . . .” and having “. . . only a very short shelf life preserved as a tincture (less than 1 year)”, she uses it “. . . combined with other herbs (Achillea, Geranium, etc.) . . .”.  She also said, “For postpartum hemorrhage specifically, I try to use capsella and another anti-hemorrhagic in equal parts.  If I have time I may add capsicum, zingibir, etc. in small amounts.  I use high doses because I need it to work; usually several ml as a loading dose, than 1 ml or so every 5-15 minutes depending on action.  I have never used it for more than an hour!”  Among all her many references to using Shepherd’s Purse for various situations during labor, birth and postpartum where bleeding may occur, Block is clear to mention that the Shepherd’s Purse must be used cold.  Hutchens shared further that Shepherd’s Purse is indicated in cases of excessive menstruation.
This author has also happily learned that Shepherd’s Purse is good for constant menstruation (metrorrhagia).  A dear long time friend shared the following story with us: “Due to a hormone imbalance, I suffered from constant menstrual bleeding for 16 years.  I tried medical intervention, but that only served to mask the symptoms for a time and the bleeding would always return.  An herbalist I spoke to advised me to try fresh Shepherd’s Purse.  I picked a bag full and every day for 2 weeks blended up one quart of the herb with canned pineapple juice and drank it.  After 2 weeks the bleeding stopped.  Then one or two weeks later I had my first normal 5-day period in 16 years.  This was seven years ago, and I have been regular every month since.”  The mixture of herbs blended with the pineapple juice is commonly called a ‘green drink’ and can include any herbs.  The herbs can be left in and drunk or strained out before drinking.
Shepherd’s Purse has a variety of other applications.  It can be used alone or in conjunction with other herbs for equalizing blood pressure, and can be an alternative herb for use with hypothermia.  The plant pulp can be bruised or chewed and inserted into the nostril for nosebleeds, and can be used instead of Cayenne for nosebleeds with children.  The pressed juice from Shepherd’s Purse can be dropped into the ear for earaches, can be used as a tea to increase bodily circulation with gangrene, and can be used with nettle for shock.  Shepherd’s Purse can be used in conjunction with other herbs as a poultice for mastitis or bleeding wounds.
Shepherd’s Purse acts on the kidney and bladder, as a stimulant and moderate tonic for catarrh of the urinary tract indicated by much mucus in the urine.  It is also good for internal bleeding of the lungs and colon, diarrhea and intermittent fever.  When combined with Agrimony (Agrimony eupatoria), it is good for bed-wetting.  Moore adds that it is good as a uric acid diuretic, can be combined with Bidens (Bidens frondosa, b. pilosa, B. pinnata) for this purpose, and is helpful for prostate problems.  It is helpful for glaucoma, hemorrhoids, is a tonic when cold and a diaphoretic when hot.
“In China, a decoction of the dried whole plant is used . . . as a hemostatic agent for treatment of chyluria (fat globules in the urine) and hematuria (Huang, 1999).  “In India, it is applied topically to injured varicose veins as an antihemorrhagic agent (Karnick, 1994).
Shepherd’s Purse has applications as a food as evidenced by the wonderful story in Chapter A, History of Shepherd’s Purse, pages thirteen and fourteen.  It is used by many as a salad: “Shepherd’s Purse grows like crazy in my back yard, and I use it as a salad green all summer, the seed pods and the leaf.”  Schwartz shares, “So far my favorite way to cook the greens is to put them in a loosely covered dish with a little water, some mushrooms, and a sprig or two of thyme, microwave it on high for 4 minutes, and serve with butter.  They are also very good to mix with other greens.  The roots are also edible, but I either haven’t developed a taste for them yet or haven’t stumbled upon the proper method of preparation.”
Surprising as it may seem, Shepherd’s Purse even has some unusual applications!  “The seeds, aside from sticking to insects, are also reported to be toxic to mosquito larvae, and, when put in the water, may possibly help control mosquitos.  Shepherd’s Purse will also absorb excessive salts from the soil, and may be planted for that purpose.”  “Most recently, Shepherd’s Purse has been investigated for its possible use as a biomonitor of heavy metals contamination in the environment.  The authors of this study reported that it may become a particularly useful plant for monitoring short-term changes in pollution levels in urban areas (Aksoy et al.,1999).
[Table of Contents] [History] [Location] [Chemical Constituents] [Medicinal Qualities]
[Contra-Indications] [Known Herbal Formulas] [Dosages & Applications] [Personal Experience] [Bibliography]