Botanical Name : Capsella bursa-pastoris – (L.)Medik.
Family : Brassicaceae
Capsella bursa-pastoris, known as shepherd’s purse because of its triangular flat fruits, which are purse-like, is a small annual and ruderal flowering plant in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). It is native to eastern Europe and Asia minor, but is naturalized and considered a common weed in many parts of the world, especially in colder climates, including British Isles, where it is regarded as an archaeophyte, North America and China, but also in the Mediterranean and North Africa. C. bursa-pastoris is the second-most prolific wild plant in the world, and is common on cultivated ground and waysides and meadows.
Scientists have referred to this species as a ‘protocarnivore’, since it has been found that its seeds attract and kill nematodes as a means to locally enrich the soil.
Names in different Indian languages :
English : Shepherd’s purse
Others : Blind Weed,Shepherd’s Purse,Cocowort
Bursa bursa-pastoris Shafer
Bursa djurdjurae Shull
Bursa fracticruris Borbás
Bursa grandiflora Kuntze
Bursa nana (Baumg.) Borbás
Bursa occidentalis Shull
Bursa orientalis Shull
Bursa pastoris Weber
Bursa penarthae Shull
Bursa rubella Druce
Bursa tuscaloosae Shull
Bursa viguieri Shull
Capsella agrestis Jord.
Capsella alpestris Miégev.
Capsella apetala Opiz
Capsella batavorum E.B. Almq.
Capsella bursa-pastoris subsp. bursa-pastoris
Capsella bursa-pastoris subsp. eu-bursa Briq.
Capsella bursa-pastoris subsp. occidentalis (Shull) Maire
Capsella bursa-pastoris var. integrifolia DC.
Capsella bursa-pastoris var. minuta Post
Capsella concava E.B. Almq.
Capsella heegeri Solms.
Capsella hyrcana Grossh.
Capsella lycia Stapf
Capsella mediterranea E.B. Almq.
Capsella patagonica E.B. Almq.
Capsella penarthae (Shull) Wilmott
Capsella polymorpha Cav.
Capsella ruderalis Jord.
Capsella stenocarpa (Crép.) Timb.-Lagr.
Capsella thomsonii Hook.f.
Capsella treviorum E.B. Almq.
Capsella turoniensis E.B. Almq.
Capsella viguieri Blaringhem
Lepidium bursa-pastoris (L.) Willd.
Nasturtium bursa-pastoris (L.) Roth
Solmsiella heegeri (Solms-Laub.) Borbás
Thlaspi bursa-pastoris L..
Annual herbs, sparsely branched, erect, to 30 cm high, glabrous. Basal leaves 6-14 x 2-3.5 cm, short-stalked, rosulate, oblong-lanceolate or spathulate, pinnatipartite; cauline ones 1-7 x 0.2-2 cm, ovate-lanceolate, amplexicaul, serrate-dentate or entire, acute at apex. Racemes congested at anthesis, much elongate at maturity, to 25 cm long in fruit; pedicels spreading to horizontal. Sepals oblong, obtuse, ca 2 x 1 mm, usually green. Petals 4, spreading, lanceolate, 2-3 x 0.5-1 mm, white. Fruits obcordate to 3-angled, laterally compressed, scarcely attenuate at base, slightly emarginate at apex with a wide apical notch, 5-9 x 3.5-6 mm; seeds numerous, minute, ca 1 mm long, reddish brown to black.
Distribution & Habitat :
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.
Shepherd’s purse is little used in herbalism, though it is a commonly used domestic remedy, being especially efficacious in the treatment of both internal and external bleeding, diarrhoea etc[4, 222]. A tea made from the whole plant is antiscorbutic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, haemostatic, hypotensive, oxytocic, stimulant, vasoconstrictor, vasodilator and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 13, 21, 46, 147, 165, 172, 176, 222]. A tea made from the dried herb is considered to be a sovereign remedy against haemorrhages of all kinds – the stomach, the lungs, the uterus and more especially the kidneys[4, 222]. The plant can be used fresh or dried, for drying it is harvested in the summer. The dried herb quickly loses its effectiveness and should not be stored for more than a year. Clinical trials on the effectiveness of this plant as a wound herb have been inconclusive. It appears that either it varies considerably in its effectiveness from batch to batch, or perhaps a white fungus that is often found on the plant contains the medically active properties. The plant has been ranked 7th amongst 250 potential anti-fertility plants in China. It has proven uterine-contracting properties and is traditionally used during childbirth. The plant is a folk remedy for cancer – it contains fumaric acid which has markedly reduced growth and viability of Ehrlich tumour in mice. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh plant. It is used in the treatment of nose bleeds and urinary calculus. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Capsella bursa-pastoris Shepherd’s Purse for nose bleeds, premenstrual syndrome, wounds & burns (see  for critics of commission E).