Shepherd’s Purse looks like Dandelion when it’s still in the rosette stage, but pulling a leaf will tell you the difference; only Dandelion leaves will ooze white liquid from the leaf. The leaves, flowers and seed of Shepherd’s Purse are edible, but the leaves are tastier before the plant flowers. It is from the same family as Cabbage and is similar in taste to Mustard greens.



Shepherd’s Purse has a long history of use as food and medicine, which is usually true of an herb with this many folk names:

shepherd’s heart, shepherd’s bog, shepherd’s bag, shepherd’s scrip, shepherd’s sprout, coco wort or cocowort, mother’s heart, case weed, case wort or casewort, pickpocket or pick pocket, toywort or toy wort, blindweed or blind weed, pepper and salt, rattle pouches, rattleweed or rattleweed, Chinese Cress, Nazuna, pick purse, permacety, toywort or toy wort, St. James’ weed or St. James wort, St. Anthony’s fire, pepper grass or peppergrass, witch’s pocket, witch’s pouches, lady’s purse, ladies purse, poor man’s parmacettie, bourse de pasteur, hirtentasche, hirtenfaschel, Borsa de Pastor, clappedepouch, and Borsa di pastore.

The main medicinal use of this herb is to stop bleeding, both internally and externally. As a tea or tincture, it’s used for post-partum bleeding or excessive menstrual bleeding. Externally, it can be used as first aid for bleeding by simply crushing the plant and using it as a poultice directly on the area. An infusion-soaked cottonball can be used to stop nose bleeds and the same can be used with a cloth to make a compress for bruises.

Shepherd's Purse - May 7, 2014

Though I’m poor to human eyes
Really I am rich and wise.
Every tiny flower I shed
Leaves a heart-shaped purse instead.
In each purse is wealth indeed~
Every coin a living seed.
Sow the seed upon the earth~
Living plants shall spring to birth.
Silly people’s purses hold
Lifeless silver, clinking gold;
But you cannot grow a pound
From a farthing in the ground.
Money may become a curse;
Give me then my Shepherd’s Purse.
~ Cecily Mary Barker
Shepherd's Purse Fairy - Cecily Mary Barker
~ Cecily Mary Barker