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Herb info 14/2017: Shepherd's purse.

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Herb card 14.2017: Shepherds purse. The leaf of shepherd's purse tastes a bit like old cabbage. The plant is drying and a bit cooling.

Use aboveground parts as a tea or tincture to stop bleeding.

If it's fresh enough (less than 6 months in your cupboard for dried, less than a year in a bottle for tincture) enhances our oxytocin, which makes it helpful in childbirth.

I usually make a shepherd's purse tincture as soon as enough plants have come up, in early summer. The tincture goes to my pregnant clients. In addition, I pick and dry shepherd's purse for tea.

I'm not all that strict about the "aboveground plant" part. Shepherd's purse is an annual with a slender carrot-like root. Pulling the whole plant nets a lot more greens than just snipping the flower stalks. Remove any brown or damaged leaves and chop the plant into 2–3 cm (1") pieces.

Shepherd's purse isn't what you'd call tasty. Old cabbage, yech! Its closest look-alikes are pennyworts, the taste of which has a hint of onion, not cabbage.

Use the shepherd's purse that's too old for the oxytocin effect for bleeding. That, too, is valuable in childbirth. Another use is in heavy menses, but try to find out the cause of the problem: anemia, nutrient deficiencies, a benign growth on the pituitary?

Shepherd's purse is lymphatic as well. But of course, for moving the lymph, no herb beats walking.


Henriette's herb cards: buy yours here!

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