Capsella bursapastoris L Medic

[From Latin, capsella = little box and from bursa = sac and pastorem = shepherd]

Common names: Shepherd's purse, blind-weed, toy-wort, mother's head; ch'i (Chinese); bourse a pasteur (French); te thai, dinh lich, co tam giac (Cambodian, Laos, Vietnamese).

Physical description: It is an herb which grows to a height of 60 cm, mostly in temperate regions, in open ground, on walls and drains. The stems are terete, glabrous or hairy. Leaves: small and rosulate. The blade is oblong, acute or oblanceolate, and lobed or inciso-pinnatifid. The flowers are at first corymbose, then elongate into 20 cm-22.5 cm long racemes. The

Uses: Capsella bursa-pastoris is well-known in Europe and North America for its use to check bleeding, treat dropsy and promote urination. In China, the ashes of the roots and leaves are used to treat flux. A powder of the plant is used to soothe inflammation. The plant is used to improve liver health, stop dysentery, treat fever, promote urination and check bleeding. In Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, a decoction of the entire herb (6g/day-12g/day) is drunk to stop haemoptysis and uterine bleeding, and to treat pulmonary oedema and fever.

calyx comprises of 4 oblong and obtuse sepals. The corolla is cross-shaped, and consists of 2 pairs of white petals which are oblanceolate, and about half as long as the sepals. The fruits are heart-shaped flattened capsules which are notched at the apex, dehiscent, 9 mm x 4 mm-5 mm, and contain several (up to 30000 per plant), ellipsoid, reddish brown and very small seeds (Fig. 126).

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