Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik. - syn. Thlaspi bursa-pastoris L. - Brassicaceae
shepherd's purse, (Gemeines) Hirtentäschel
Annual or biennial herb, up to 50cm tall; basal leaves rosulate, oblong or oblanceolate, lyrate, dentate, repand, or entire, cauline leaves sessile, sagittate, amplexicaul,narrowly oblong, lanceolate, or linear; fruiting pedicels slender, glabrous, sepals green or reddish, petals white, rarely pinkish or yellowish; fruit flat, base cuneate, apex emarginate or truncate; seeds brown.
„This species is used as a vegetable and in the treatment of eye diseases and dysentery. It is the second most common weed on Earth.“
„Numerous physiologically active polypeptides have been found in animals and bacteria, but little has been reported about such substances in plants. A purified substance from an alcohol extract of the herb Capsella bursa-pastoris (Cruciferae), however, exerted contractile activity on the rat uterus which was similar to that of oxytocin and had some characteristics of a polypeptide.“
[Physiologically active substance in Capsella bursa-pastoris., Kuroda, K., Takagi, K., Nature 220, 1968, 707-708]
„The treatment of ICR mice with i.p. injections (0.14 g/kg/day) of the extract of Capsella bursa-pastoris herb (Cruciferae) caused 50 to 80% inhibition of the solid growth of Ehrlich tumor cells that had been inoculated into the s.c. tissue of the animals. The tumor lumps in the treated mice showed multifocal necroses and the infiltration of host fibrous tissue cells. Experiments were also performed to isolate and identify the active component for the antitumor action, and an acidic substance was isolated in crystalline form from the herb extract. This acidic substance was identified as fumaric acid and was effective in inhibiting the growth of Ehrlich solid tumor at a dose of 10 mg/kg/day. The 50% lethal dose (i.p.) of this acid was 266 mg/kg. “
[Inhibitory effect of Capsella bursa-pastoris extract on growth of Ehrlich solid tumor in mice., Kuroda, K., Akao, M., Kanisawa, M., Miyaki, K., Cancer research, Vol.36(6), 1976, 1900-1903]
Nitrate content in the raw edible portion of wild C.bursa-pastoris species was found very high at 2.5g/kg fresh weight (in the range of celery, 2.3g, and spinach, 2.7g).
[Nutritional value and nitrate content in edible wild species used in southern Italy., Bianco, V.V., Santamaria, P., Elia, A., In III International Symposium Diversification of Vegetable Crops Vol.467, 1998, 71-90]
„Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medic. (shepherd's purse) has been tested as a possible biomonitor of heavy metals… and it may be a particularly useful species since it could monitor short-term changes in pollution in urban areas.“
[Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medic. as a biomonitor of heavy metals., Aksoy, A., Hale, W.H., Dixon, J.M., Science of the total environment, Vol.226(2), 1999, 177-186]
Nitrite poisoning in pigs was suspected when 4 of 18 pigs died in case in South Africa. „The pigs showed typical brownish discolouration of the blood at autopsy. It was established that they ingested… Capsella bursa-pastoris contained nitrites [4630 ppm]. The drinking water and some of the other plants tested positive for
nitrates but not for nitrites. This is the first report of suspected nitrite poisoning in pigs
caused by Capsella bursa-pastoris.
[Suspected nitrite poisoning in pigs caused by Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik.('herderstassie', shepherd's purse): case report., Wiese, W.J., Joubert, J.P.J., Journal of the South African Veterinary Association, Vol.72(3), 2001, 170]
„The herb [whole herb, Bursae pastoris herba] is traditionally used to stop bleeding and to treat heavy periods (menorrhagia), diarrhoea and cystitis. In chinese medicine it is used for unspecified eye diseases and dysentery… Despite animal studies showing anti-inflammatory , anti-ulcer, diuretic, hypotensive and other effects, the traditional uses of sheperd's burse are not well explained. It is thought that a peptide with oxytocin-like activity is responsible for the antihaemorrhagic action.“
[Medicinal Plants of the World. Ben-Erik Van Wyk and Michael Wink, Pretoria 2004, 78]
„Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik. (Brassicaceae) is a wild herb with high nutritional value that can be eaten raw or cooked. A metabolomic study was performed with different extracts of its aerial parts that were tested concerning their antiradical, acetylcholinesterase inhibitory and antibacterial activities. Phenolic compounds were identified and quantified by HPLC-DAD, organic acids and amino acids were determined by HPLC-UV, while free fatty acids and sterols were analysed by GC-ITMS. The vegetal material was rich in kaempferol-3-O-rutinoside (mean value 2247.09 mg/kg of dry plant), quinic acid (95628.00 mg/kg of dry plant), arginine (mean value of 1.18 mg/kg of dry plant), palmitic acid (284.48 mg/kg) and β-sitosterol (28%). The extracts presented a concentration-dependent antiradical activity (against DPPH•, O2•- and LOO•), being most effective against •NO (EC25 0.20 µg/mL). In addition, the extracts were also acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and antibacterial active, revealing that, besides the plant's good nutritional value, it presents important biological properties as well.“
[Chemical composition and biological screening of Capsella bursa-pastoris., Grosso, C., Vinholes, J., Silva, L.R., Pinho, P.G.D., Gonçalves, R.F., Valentão, P., Andrade, P.B., Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia, Vol.21(4), 2011, 635-643]
„Capsella bursa-pastoris is one of the plants commonly used in the traditional medicine in many countries. It contained a wide range of chemicals including flavonoids, polypeptides, choline, acetylcholine, histamine, tyramine, fatty acids, sterols, organic acids, amino acids, sulforaphane, many trace elements, vitamins and many other compounds. Capsella bursa-pastoris exerted antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cardiovascular, reproductive, anticancer, hepato-protective, sedative and other pharmacological effects.“
[The chemical constituents and pharmacological effects of Capsella burs-pastoris - a review, Ali Esmail Al-Snafi, International Journal of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Vol.5(2), 2015, 76-81]
Lindman, C.A.M., Bilder ur Nordens Flora, vol.1, t.205 (1922-1926)
Capsella bursa-pastoris, Zeiselberg - Gobelsberg, © Rolf Marschner (2017), www.botanische-spaziergaenge.at