Local midwife Maria Chowdhury makes a traditional postpartum herbal bath that is very popular with new moms. This bath from Birth Song Botanicals contains organic herbs to help speed healing of tender tissues as well as shepherd’s purse to reduce bleeding. Shepherd’s purse is named for the shape of its seedpods, which resemble the bags that shepherds used to carry in the far distant past.
Shepherd’s purse is an astringent herb used both topically and internally to reduce bleeding. Chemical analysis of shepherd’s purse shows that it has the ability to help coagulate blood. When used internally, it is most commonly used to slow excessive menstrual bleeding especially if this is associated with lack of tone in the uterus. Shepherd’s purse can actually stimulate uterine contractions, and it is thought that this increased uterine tone also contributes to reducing blood flow in appropriate cases. To increase its effectiveness at slowing bleeding, shepherd’s purse is often combined with astringent herbs like yarrow. While shepherd’s purse may be used to reduce bleeding, it is of utmost importance to determine and address the cause of any excess bleeding.
Though most used for its anti-hermorrhagic actions, shepherd’s purse has lesser-known benefits. Shepherd’s purse has a gentle diuretic action on the kidneys causing an increase in urinary output. It also has a mild antiseptic action on the urinary tract. Shepherd’s purse is also sometimes included in blends for endometriosis because of anti-inflammatory benefits. Finally, its astringent actions can make it useful for hemorrhoids and some cases of diarrhea.
And to learn more about Maria Chowdhury’s herbal product, check out her website at www.birthsongbotanicals.org.