Sheppard's Purse is a tool nature has given to use that is rich in Vitamin K, plant fiber potassium, calcium, beta-carotene and minerals – all of which help stop internal and external bleeding, or at least stem it.
You can make a poultice for external bleeding and a tea for internal and this video shows you how to harvest and store it for when you need it.
Would you be able to pick out the Shepherd’s Purse from among these common weeds?
There are several hints to look for when identifying Shepherd’s Purse:
1. The plants will typically grow anywhere from 3 inches tall to 1 1/2 feet.
2. The deeply lobed rosette of leaves resemble dandelion, with symmetrical leaves spreading flat on the ground.
3. A long, slender stem grows from the middle of the rosette with heart shaped seed pods growing along the length of it. (The heart shaped pods are a dead giveaway that it’s Shepherd’s Purse.)
4. When in bloom, you will notice small, white, tightly shaped flowers at the top of the stem.
5. It’s an annual herb. Although it may self-sow, don’t expect to find it growing in the same place the following year. However, the seeds remain viable for up to 20 years, so there’s a good chance you’ll find Shepherd’s Purse growing again at some point if you allowed the plant to go to seed.
6. Shepherd’s Purse grows all across the United States and in many other countries. It can be found from Spring through Winter.
A Useful Weed
Shepherd’s Purse has many interesting uses. It is enjoyed in culinary dishes in many cultures around the world. It’s also prized for its medicinal qualities. A few of my favorite uses include:
• Eat it- fresh or cooked. The leaves can be eaten straight off the plant or added to sandwiches, salads, and soups; fresh or cooked. The stalk can be stir-fried, or eaten raw. The flowers can be eaten raw. The seeds can be stir-fried and used as a peppery seasoning. The roots can be used fresh or dried as a substitute for ginger or candied in syrup. (Source: Linda Runyon’s Essential Wild Food Survival Guide)
Personally, I enjoy picking the flowers and seed pods off the plant and eating them fresh.
• Quickly stop bleeding. Shepherd’s Purse is high in Vit. K, vegetable protein, potassium, calcium, beta-carotene and minerals. It has been used for centuries to stop bleeding internally and externally. For a quick field application, make a poultice by crushing up fresh or dried leaves to apply to a bleeding wound. An herbal tea can also be made to ease internal bleeding. Shepherd’s Purse tincture is often used by midwives to stop excessive bleeding after giving birth. (I actually took two droppersful of an alcohol tincture of Shepherd’s Purse after giving birth to help control the bleeding, per my midwife’s instructions, and can attest to its effectiveness.) Take it orally to treat internal bleeding.
Warnings: Avoid the herb during pregnancy, except during labor because it stimulates uterine contractions.
How To Make A Shepherd’s Purse Tincture
• Fresh Shepherd’s Purse stalks, seed pods, and flowers. (The dried herb can be used if fresh isn’t an option.)
• 80-100 proof alcohol (vodka, gin, brandy, rum); vegetable glycerine, or apple cider vinegar
First, gather fresh stalks. Instead of uprooting an entire plant, cut the stalks off a couple of inches from ground level.
Chop up all of the aerial parts (stalks, pods, flowers). Fill a glass container, such as a pint sized mason jar, with the fresh, chopped herbs.
Pour enough alcohol, glycerin, or apple cider vinegar into the jar to completely cover the herbs. Screw on an airtight lid.
Place the jar out of direct sunlight. Allow the herbs to infuse for 4-6 weeks before straining off. Store in a dark place, or in a tinted glass bottle.
The tincture will be good for one year, after which you’ll need to replace it with a fresh batch
Whether you have some around the house for an emergency or make some in a survival situation, Sheppard's Purse is one way to help stem bleeding.
As always, seek medical attention as soon as you can if you are injured; in many cases, bleeding is just one facet to trauma and follow-up medical care is paramount to avoid infection.
For other great tips on how to use Sheppard's Purse, please visit The Prepper Project.