Shepherd's Purse: Herbal Remedies

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Shepherd's purse is used to stop heavy bleeding and hemorrhaging.

The shape of the shepherd's purse fruit, resembling the purses that Europeans once hung from their belts, gave this herb its name. Shepherd's purse can be found almost anywhere in the world, donning its white flowers throughout the year.

Its availability is just one of shepherd's purse's helpful qualities. It can help regulate blood flow and is often used as a herbal remedy to treat regular bleeding disorders, such as heavy periods.

Uses for Shepherd's Purse

Shepherd's purse is used to stop heavy bleeding and hemorrhaging, particularly from the uterus. When taken internally, shepherd's purse can reduce heavy menstrual periods, and it has been used to treat postpartum hemorrhage.

Still, it is considered most effective for the treatment of chronic uterine bleeding disorders, including uterine bleeding due to the presence of a fibroid tumor. Shepherd's purse has also been used internally to treat cases of blood in the urine and bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, such as with bleeding ulcers.

An astringent agent, shepherd's purse constricts blood vessels, thereby reducing blood flow. Shepherd's purse is also thought to cause the uterine muscle to contract, which also helps reduce bleeding. There is still much to learn about this herb.

When used topically, shepherd's purse is applied to lacerations and traumatic injuries of the skin to stop bleeding and promote healing. Herbalists also use the herb topically for eczema and rashes of the skin. In the next section, we'll discuss ways to prepare shepherd's purse.

To learn more about treating common medical conditions at home, try the following links:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.

Shepherd's Purse Preparations and Dosage

Persons with bleeding problems may find some relief with shepherd's purse. Below are some suggestions about dosage and usage concerns.

Preparations and Dosage

Teas and capsules of shepherd's purse are not readily available. Herbalists use shepherd's purse tincture in moderate doses of 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon at a time -- up to 1 teaspoonful -- three or four times a day before the menstrual period is due and during the period to reduce heavy bleeding.

Precautions and Warnings

Shepherd's purse has not been well researched, and its actions are not well understood. There is little reason to use shepherd's purse if you do not have bleeding problems, and you should discontinue its use as soon as the problem is alleviated.

Limit use to a month or two, then take a week-long break, resuming if necessary. If used for excessive menstrual bleeding, use for a few days to a week before the period and during the menstrual period -- not throughout the month. Since shepherd's purse constricts the blood vessels, it is not recommended for those with high blood pressure. Pregnant and nursing women should avoid shepherd's purse.

Side Effects of Shepherd's Purse

None commonly reported; shepherd's purse is generally regarded as safe. Shepherd's purse does contain alkaloids, some of which can have cumulative effects in the body, so you should not use this herb internally without cause, nor should you use it long term or during pregnancy.

However, if not pregnant, shepherd's purse serve as a useful herbal remedy to deal with menstrual bleeding. When taken before the period begins and once it has started, shepherd's purse may help women with difficult periods find some relief.

To learn more about treating common medical conditions at home, try the following links:

Jennifer Brett, N.D. is director of the Acupuncture Institute for the University of Bridgeport, where she also serves on the faculty for the College of Naturopathic Medicine. A recognized leader in her field with an extensive background in treating a wide variety of disorders utilizing nutritional and botanical remedies, Dr. Brett has appeared on WABC TV (NYC) and on Good Morning America to discuss utilizing herbs for health.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.