Shepherd’s bag

Diseases and effects: atony of the uterus, uterine, pulmonary, renal, gastrointestinal bleeding, pulmonary tuberculosis, heavy and prolonged menstruation, hypertension, stomach ulcers, inflammation of the bladder, bladder stones, hemorrhoids, gallstones, urinary incontinence.

Active substances: bursic, fumaric, malic, citric, tartaric, ascorbic acids, rhamnoglycoside hisopin, phytoncides, choline, acetylcholine, tyramine, inositol, tannins, carotene, vitamin K, saponins, amines, flavonoids.

Collection time:  May – August


  • Botanical description\r
  • Chemical composition\r
  • Pharmacological properties\r
  • Procurement rules\r
  • Application in medicine\r
  • Dosage forms, route of administration and doses\r


Botanical description


Annual herbaceous plant up to 30-60 cm high, cruciferous family (Cruciferae).\r

The root is thin spindle-shaped.\r

The stem is erect, simple or branched, the lower part is pubescent with hairs.\r

Basal leaves are pinnatipartite, on petioles 5-15 cm long. Stem leaves are sessile, alternate, oblong-lanceolate. Upper leaves with an arrow-shaped base.\r

The flowers are small, white, collected in racemose inflorescences. The calyx consists of 4 oblong-ovate sepals 1-2.5 mm long, alternating with a crosswise corolla of 4 white petals 1-1.3 mm wide and 1.5-3.5 mm long. Stamens 6, pistil with short style, with 2-celled upper ovary and slightly thickened stigma.\r

The fruits  are oblique triangular pods 4-5 mm wide, 5-8 mm long, with a heart-shaped notch at the top, compressed from the side of the seams, shaped like a bowl (one of the names of the plant). Seeds up to 1 mm long, ellipsoid, light brown, flattened, numerous. Ripening starts from the bottom of the inflorescence. After seeding, the plant dies off.\r

Propagated by seeds. Blooms from April to late summer. Fruit ripening occurs throughout the growing season.\r

It grows everywhere, with the exception of the Far North, like a weed. There is especially a lot of shepherd’s purse in poorly cultivated fields, in grain crops, along the banks of natural and artificial reservoirs, on forest lawns and hayfields, along gullies and lowlands.\r

Stocks of shepherd’s purse are large, but harvesting is carried out in river basins, where sometimes the plant forms large continuous thickets.\r

Chemical composition


The grass of the plant contains organic acids: bursic, fumaric, malic, citric, ascorbic and tartaric; carotene, vitamin K, saponins, amines, flavonoids (rutin, luteolin-7 glucoside, luteolin-7 rutinoside), rhamnoglycoside hisopin, phytoncides, choline, acetylcholine, tyramine, inositol and tannins. Fatty oil and a small amount of allyl mustard oil were found in the seeds.\r

Pharmacological properties


Herbal products of shepherd’s purse have a pronounced hemostatic effect, especially in hemorrhages caused by insufficient formation of fibrin. In addition, they increase the contractility of the smooth muscles of the uterus, which is explained by the presence of essential oil and other compounds in the plant, also, apparently, by the action of acetylcholine. According to the observations of microbiologists, the leaves of the shepherd’s purse have a high phytoncidal activity. Plant preparations enhance intestinal motility. Aqueous and alcoholic extracts of the plant’s herb have hypotensive properties.\r

Procurement rules


The medicinal raw material is the dried above-ground part of the shepherd’s purse, which consists of leaves and stems, flowers and fruits. The color of the leaves, stems and fruits is green, the flowers are whitish. The smell is weak, the taste is bitter. In dried whole raw materials, a moisture content of not more than 13% is allowed; total ash – no more than 10%; particles passing through a sieve with holes with a diameter of 1 mm – no more than 2%; parts of plants affected by powdery mildew, roots and yellowed leaves – no more than 3%; organic impurities – no more than 2%; mineral impurity – no more than 1%.\r

Harvesting time – May-August. Shepherd’s purse grass is harvested in the phase of flowering and fruiting (before the fruits turn brown).\r

Preparations are carried out in dry weather. With dense growth, the raw materials are mowed and selected by hand. It is unacceptable to collect grass with mature fruits, also affected by the fungus (white bloom on the leaves).\r

Application in medicine


Shepherd’s purse preparations are used as a hemostatic agent for pulmonary, renal, uterine, gastrointestinal bleeding. In addition, they increase the peristalsis of the gastrointestinal tract, lower blood pressure and have a phytoncidal effect.\r

Usually shepherd’s purse is used in combination with other medicinal plants. For example, for uterine bleeding, a liquid extract of shepherd’s purse is prescribed along with an extract of viburnum or water pepper, and for kidney bleeding, together with horsetail grass. The shepherd’s purse is part of the official hemostatic collection. To prepare the water infusion of this collection, take 2 tablespoons of shepherd’s purse herb and horsetail grass, pour 3 cups of boiling water, leave for 2 hours and take 1/2 cup 3 times every day.\r

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