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Shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

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Also listed as: Capsella bursa-pastoris
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Blindweed, bourse de pasteur (French), Brassicaceae (family), Capsella bursa-pastoris spp., case-weed, clappedepouch (Irish), ergocristine, fumarate, fumaric acid, Hirtentasche (German), lady's purse, mother's heart, mustard family, pepper-and-salt, pick-pocket, pick-purse, poor man's parmacettie, rattle pouches, sanguinary, sheper, shepherd's bag, shepherd's scrip, shepherd's sprout, shepherin I, shepherin II, Soxhlet benzene extracts, witches' pouches.

Background
  • Shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) is a member of the Brassicaceae family and is one of the most common and widely distributed flowering plants in the world. It has been used as a folk remedy to treat numerous conditions in humans, including diarrhea and bleeding, and to stimulate uterine contractions.
  • High-quality studies evaluating shepherd's purse for any use in humans are currently lacking.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding, abortifacient (uterus contraction stimulant/abortion inducer), amenorrhea (lack of menstruation), anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, bladder disorders, bleeding, blood disorders, bruises, cancer, colic, cramping, diarrhea, diuretic (increases urine flow), emmenagogue (stimulates menstrual flow), fertility, flavoring, food uses, high or low blood pressure, hemorrhage (excessive bleeding), nosebleeds, rheumatic disorders (disorders of the joints and connective tissue), scurvy, skin pigmentation disorders, ulcers, urinary retention (inability to empty bladder), uterine tonic, vasoregulator, wounds.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for shepherd's purse in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for shepherd's purse in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or sensitivity to shepherd's purse, its constituents, or members of the Brassicaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Shepherd's purse may cause low or high blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that raise or lower blood pressure.
  • Drowsiness or sedation may occur. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Use cautiously in patients taking diuretics, agents that affect the heart, or thyroid agents, as shepherd's purse may interfere with or enhance the effects of these types of agents.
  • Use cautiously in patients with kidney stones.
  • Avoid in pregnant women. Shepherd's purse has been used traditionally to stimulate menstrual flow, uterine contractions, and abortion. It may also improve uterine tone.
  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or sensitivity to shepherd's purse, its constituents, or members of the Brassicaceae family.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Avoid in pregnant women. Shepherd's purse has been used traditionally to stimulate menstrual flow, uterine contractions, and abortion. It may also improve uterine tone. There is a lack of available evidence on the use of shepherd's purse in breastfeeding women.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Shepherd's purse may cause low or high blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs that raise or lower blood pressure.
  • Shepherd's purse may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
  • Shepherd's purse may also interact with abortifacients (agents that induce uterine contraction and abortion), agents that affect the thyroid, antibiotics, anticancer agents, antifungals, anti-inflammatory agents, antiulcer agents, agents that affect the heart, diuretics (agents that increase urine flow), hormonal agents, pigmentation agents, sedatives, steroids.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Shepherd's purse may cause low or high blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that raise or lower blood pressure.
  • Shepherd's purse may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements, such as those with sedative effects.
  • Shepherd's purse may also interact with abortifacients (agents that induce uterine contraction and abortion), antibacterials, anticancer agents, antifungals, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, antiulcer herbs and supplements, herbs and supplements that affect the heart, diuretics (agents that increase urine flow), hormonal herbs and supplements, photosensitizers (light-sensitizing agents), steroids, or thyroid agents.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Akopov IE, Beliavskaia EA, Klenova SI. [ as blood stabiliser]. Farmakol Toksikol 1955;18(1):45-48.
  2. Ceplitis A, Su Y, Lascoux M. Bayesian inference of evolutionary history from chloroplast microsatellites in the cosmopolitan weed (Brassicaceae). Mol Ecol 2005;14(14):4221-4233.
  3. Chen HF, Wang H, Li ZY. Production and genetic analysis of partial hybrids in intertribal crosses between Brassica species () and . Plant Cell Rep 2007;26(10):1791-1800.
  4. East J. The effect of certain plant preparations on the fertility of laboratory mammals. 3. L. J Endocrinol 1955;12(4):267-272.
  5. El Abyad MS, Morsi NM, Zaki DA, et al. Preliminary screening of some Egyptian weeds for antimicrobial activity. Microbios 1990;62(250):47-57.
  6. Hintz M, Bartholmes C, Nutt P, et al. Catching a 'hopeful monster': shepherd's purse () as a model system to study the evolution of flower development. J Exp Bot 2006;57(13):3531-3542.
  7. Hwang JH, Lee BM. Inhibitory effects of plant extracts on tyrosinase, L-DOPA oxidation, and melanin synthesis. J Toxicol Environ Health A 2007;70(5):393-407.
  8. Kuroda K, Akao M, Kanisawa M, et al. Inhibitory effect of on hepatocarcino-genesis induced by 3-methyl-4-(dimethylamino)azobenzene in rats. Gann 1974;65(4):317-321.
  9. Kuroda K, Akao M, Kanisawa M, et al. Inhibitory effect of extract on growth of Ehrlich solid tumor in mice. Cancer Res 1976;36(6):1900-1903.
  10. Kuroda K, Kaku T. Pharmacological and chemical studies on the alcohol extract of . Life Sci 1969;8(3):151-155.
  11. Kuroda K, Takagi K. Studies on . I. General pharmacology of ethanol extract of the herb. Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther 1969;178(2):382-391.
  12. Kuroda K, Takagi K. Studies on capsella bursa pastoris. II. Diuretic, anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer action of ethanol extracts of the herb. Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther 1969;178(2):392-399.
  13. Kuroda K, Takagi K. Physiologically active substance in . Nature 1968;220(168):707-708.
  14. Lans C, Turner N, Khan T, et al. Ethnoveterinary medicines used for ruminants in British Columbia, Canada. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 2007;3:11.
  15. Park CJ, Park CB, Hong SS, et al. Characterization and cDNA cloning of two glycine- and histidine-rich antimicrobial peptides from the roots of shepherd's purse, . Plant Mol Biol 2000;44(2):187-197.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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