Shepherd’s Purse

Shepherd’s Purse

Capsella bursa-pastoris

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Folk Names

Mother’s heart, pickpocket, witches’ pouches.

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shepherds-purse-1

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Food

The young leaves can be eaten raw in spring and cooked as the year and their bitterness progress. The tops of flower stalks can be snacked upon and put in stews (though rather stringy).

As autumn arrives you can collect the heart shaped seeds and dry them over a few days in the sunshine (put them away somewhere dry at night or in rain). When powdered, the dried seeds can be sprinkled onto food for a bit of spice.

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Medicine

Shepherd’s Purse works with the blood. A strong infusion is used to slow and stop bleeding from a wound, and is a good anti-septic.

As a leaf tea it constricts the blood vessels and controls high blood pressure in an emergency.

Tea is taken as a tonic when feeling ill or when you need to stimulate your bowels (don’t drink regularly for more than one week).

The plant’s seeds resemble kidneys and are said to help the kidney function.

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Lore

The name Pickpocket came from farmers claiming the plant ‘took the heart from their land’.

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Other Details

You will find the plant growing in fields, on waysides and on any type of wasteland throughout Britain.

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