Shepherd's Purse

Other Name(s):

Blind Weed, Bolsa del Pastor, Bolsa-de-Pastor, Bourse à Berger, Bourse-à-Pasteur, Bourse de Capucin, Boursette, Bursae Pastoris Herba, Capsella, Capselle, Capselle a Pasteur, Capselle Bourse-à-Pasteur, Capsella bursa-pastoris, Caseweed, Cocowort, Corne de Lion, Erva-Do-Bom-Pastor, Hirtentaschel, Lady's Purse, Molette de Berger, Mother's-Heart, Moutarde Sauvage, Naeng-i, Pepper-And-Salt, Pick-Pocket, Poor Man's Parmacettie, Rattle Pouches, Sanguinary, Shepherd's Heart, Shepherd's Scrip, Shepherd's Sprout, Shovelweed, St. James' Weed, Tabouret, Tabouret des Champs, Thlaspi, Thlaspi Bourse à Pasteur, Thlaspi bursa-pastoris, Toywort, Witches' Pouches, Zurron de Pastor.


Shepherd's purse is a plant. The parts that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.

Shepherd's purse is used for heart and circulatory problems including mild heart failure, low blood pressure, and nervous heart complaints. It is also used for headache, vomiting blood, blood in the urine, diarrhea, and bladder infections.

Women use shepherd's purse for premenstrual problems, long periods, and menstrual cramps.

Shepherd's purse is sometimes applied directly to the skin for nosebleeds, superficial burns, and bleeding skin injuries.

How does it work?

Shepherd's purse might decrease bleeding, stimulate muscles, and increase uterine contractions.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Headache.
  • Heart problems.
  • Premenstrual complaints.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of shepherd's purse for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Shepherd's purse seems to be safe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin in small amounts. It can cause drowsiness, changes in blood pressure, thyroid function changes, and heart palpitations.

An overdose of shepherd's purse might cause paralysis, breathing difficulty, and death.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Shepherd's purse is UNSAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin during pregnancy. It might cause the uterus to contract or start menstruation, resulting in miscarriage.

Not enough is known about the safety of using shepherd's purse during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Heart conditions: Shepherd's purse might interfere with treatment for heart conditions. It's best to avoid using shepherd's purse if you have a heart condition.

Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis): Shepherd's purse contains chemical compounds called oxalates, which can form kidney stones. If you have had kidney stones in the past, it's best to avoid using shepherd's purse.

Surgery: Shepherd's purse can affect the central nervous system. There is a concern that it might slow down the central nervous system's activity too much when combined with anesthesia and other medications used during and after surgery. Stop using shepherd's purse at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Thyroid conditions: Shepherd's purse might interfere with treatment for thyroid conditions. It's best to avoid using shepherd's purse if you have a thyroid condition.


Sedative medications (CNS depressants)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Large amounts of shepherd's purse might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking shepherd's purse along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

Thyroid hormoneInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

The body naturally produces thyroid hormone. Shepherd's purse might decrease how much thyroid hormone the body produces. Taking shepherd's purse along with thyroid hormone might decrease the effectiveness of thyroid hormone.


The appropriate dose of shepherd's purse depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for shepherd's purse. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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