In the event of an emergency situation all sorts of injuries could possibly occur. Emergency medical response teams would be stretched thin during times like this and response times could be hours or even days.
For internal or external bleeding it is always advisable to seek proper medical treatment immediately whenever it is available but if you find yourself in a situation where you are without access to medical personnel or a hospital and there is internal or external bleeding you may need to rely on whatever help is immediately available to you.
Shepherd’s Purse (capsella bursapastoris) has been used as a remedy for centuries to stem internal and external bleeding. It is a hemostatic plant in that it constricts blood vessels reducing blood flow.
Internally it is used to prevent further bleeding. The herb is very useful to stop hemorrhaging in the stomach and also for urinary tract bleeding and bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract such as bleeding ulcers and is considered by herbalists as one of the best specifics for stopping hemorrhages of all kinds including the stomach, the lungs, the uterus and bleeding from the kidneys.
Externally shepherd’s purse is applied for bleeding, bruising, swelling and wounds as well as varicose veins. During World War I, shepherd’s purse was used by British soldiers to help slow the bleeding from wounds and it was also used as a substitute for quinine.
When used topically, shepherd’s purse is applied to lacerations and traumatic injuries of the skin to stop bleeding and promote healing.
It has been used by boiling the herb down and concentrating it into a strong decoction for treating blood in the urine, hemorrhoids, chronic diarrhea and dysentery, and locally for nose bleeding, which is checked by inserting the fresh juice of the plant or herbal decoction on a Q-tip and swabbing the nose.
In Chinese medicine, it is also used for eye disorders. To improve vision people still chew the seeds of the shepherd’s purse.
Shepherd’s purse has also been used as a remedy for blood pressure problems, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), heavy menstrual bleeding, irregular heartbeat and a weak heart.
Shepherd’s purse contains androgenic properties. It has the ability to control progesterone levels. For women into menopause experiencing excessive, irregular bleeding or spotting, this plant will help regulate and increase the length of the menstrual cycles until the natural cessation of the menses.
Counter-Indications and Warnings:
It is not advised for use by pregnant women in the early stages of pregnancy because it can cause contractions of the uterus and may cause miscarriage but during labor it has been widely used by midwives to promote uterine contraction during childbirth.
It is also not recommended for someone with kidney stones or kidney disease.
Since shepherd’s purse constricts blood vessels, it is not recommended for those with high blood pressure.
There is little reason to use shepherd’s purse if you do not have bleeding problems and you should discontinue 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.
Shepherd’s purse does contain alkaloids, some of which can have cumulative effects in the body, so it should not be used internally without cause, nor should it be used long-term or during pregnancy or while nursing since it is not known if the compounds in this herb are passed through breast milk.
Long-term use or drinking excessive amounts of the tea may increase the effects of sedative drugs.
Using shepherd’s purse may cause changes in heart rate or heartbeat and excess doses of shepherd’s purse extract may cause heart palpitations. This may happen if the seeds of the plant are used. The raw material to make shepherd’s purse tea should not contain the seeds of the plant since they contain cardioactive steroid compounds that, according to the Physician’s Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines, may unpredictably lower or raise blood pressure.
In addition, large doses of these steroid compounds may increase heart rate or induce heart palpitations.
For persons with blood pressure, thyroid gland or heart problems, consult a doctor before taking shepherd’s purse.
It is advisable to check this herb out with your doctor first well before you might need it so if you are in an emergency situation without a doctor around you would know ahead of time if you can safely use this remedy or not.
Shepherd’s Purse Preparations and Dosage
In modern herbal medicine the whole plant is employed, dried and administered in the infusion and in fluid extract. A decoction is prepared from the fresh plant.
The medicinal infusion should be made with an ounce of the plant to 12oz of water, reduced by boiling to 8oz, strained and taken cold.
The fluid extract is given in doses of 1/2 to 1 teaspoon three or four times per day between meals.
If you have bought the herb in capsule or powdered form:
Make an infusion by steeping 2-4 grams of the dry powdered herb in 1/2 cup hot water for 15 minutes and take 2 to 4 times daily between meals.
Make an infusion by steeping 3-5 grams of the dry powdered herb in 3/4 cup hot water for 15 minutes and apply to injured skin.
Or a poultice can be made:
Mash the fresh herb with a few drops of 100% therapeutic grade lemon essential oil, which is highly anti-bacterial and also a styptic, and can be used directly on wounds to cleanse and disinfect the wound and to help stop bleeding. The poultice can be applied directly to the wound.
* See my article: Create Your Own Essential Oils First Aid Kit to read more about 100% therapeutic grade lemon essential oil.
Or the dried powdered shepherd’s purse herb can be mixed together with a little fresh aloe vera plant pulp (without the skin) and a few drops of 100% therapeutic grade lemon essential oil and applied topically. Fresh aloe vera plant pulp is also great for healing wounds both internal and external.
Growing Shepherd’s Purse
Having some medicinal herbs in your survival garden is a good idea. Growing shepherd’s purse is relatively easy.
It will flourish and set seed in the poorest soil, though it may only attain the height of a few inches. In rich soil it luxuriates and grows to 2 feet in height.
Shepherd’s purse is a common weed of the Cruciferous order and is said to be found all over the world and flourishes nearly the whole year round. A native of Europe, shepherd’s purse has accompanied Europeans in all their migrations and established itself wherever they have settled to till soil.
Flowering and fruiting occur throughout the year but are most frequent from May to October. There are 10-12 seeds per capsule and an average of 4,500 seeds per plant, although much higher numbers have been recorded. Seed size varies considerably both within and between populations. Plants growing in adverse conditions produce fewer but larger seeds. Flower spikes cut prematurely produce viable seeds from the large unripe seed capsules but not from smaller fruits.
Seeds from both dead-ripe and green capsules require a period of after-ripening before they will germinate. A period of stratification (placing them between layers of earth) followed by exposure to light is needed to relieve dormancy and promote germination. The temperature during after-ripening can affect the temperatures at which seeds will germinate.
Other common names for Shepherd’s Purse: Capsella, Mother’s Heart, Pick Pocket, Pick Purse, Shovel Weed, Blind Weed, Case Weed, Sanguinary, Lady’s Purse, Shepherd’s Heart, Cocowort, Witches’ Pouches, Rattle Pouches, Saint James Weed and Toywort.
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this article about essential oils is based solely on the use of 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils due to their high quality and tested purity. The use of a brand of uncertain quality and/or purity will provide you with potentially dangerous, if not lethal, results. The author assumes no responsibility for your improper use of this information.
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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article is intended to constitute medical advice or treatment. For development of individual health issue treatments, it is advised that any person first consult a qualified health care provider. It is advised that he or she remain under the doctor’s supervision throughout any major health issues.
The author/owner of this website is not a licensed medical practitioner of any kind, is not providing medical advice and assumes no responsibility for your improper use of this information.
The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information contained within this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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