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Often times confused as dandelion leaves, Shepherd's purse is just as nutritious. You can tell them apart from dandelions by several factorsshepherd's purse leaves have tiny "hairs" lining the edges of the leaves and a tall thin stick-like stem grows out of the middle of the plant, much higher than dandelion, with little white flower bud clusters at the top which open in the middle of a sunny day. Leaves are more chewy than dandelion and really tasty when young. Seed pods are heart shaped green things that turn brown when they mature. All parts of the plant can be eaten raw, dried, cooked, or as tea. The plant can be boiled down to a decoction that helps stop bleeding both internally and externally. (helps coagulate blood), overly heavy menstrual flow, hemorrhaging, ulcers, nose bleeds, diarrhea. Especially famous for helping kidneys*, excreting uric acid, gout*, arthritis*, bladder infections. Tea is also used for bladder infections, high blood pressure, stomach ache, cramps. Anti-inflammatory, diuretic. Fresh or dried root is a ginger substitute. Folk remedy for cancer. Contains Fumaric acid which has been shown to reduce tumor growth. Popular usage in aiding childbirth. (but do not take while pregnant- causes uterine contractions). In mustard family. One way to identify a plant from the mustard family (all of which are edible) is the flowers have 4 petals with 6 stamens–4 tall and 2 short.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz