Shepard’s Purse Capsella bursa-pastoris Ji Cai 荠菜

Shepard’s purse Capsella bursa-pastoris

Chinese name: ji4 cai4 荠菜

Mustard Family

Capsellae Bursae-pastori herba

Favor and Qi: sweet, bland, cool

Channels entered: liver, spleen, urinary bladder

Functions & Indications: Cools the liver and stops bleeding for patterns of liver heat or liver fire causing frenetic movement of blood with symptoms such as spitting blood, spontaneous external bleeding (including nosebleed), expectoration of blood, blood in the urine, flooding and leaking, post partum bleeding, blood in the stool.

Calms the liver and brightens the eyes for liver fire surging upward causing symptoms of red painful eyes, bleeding in the fundus of the eye, and high blood pressure。

Clears heat and disinhibits dampness for damp-heat conditions with symptoms including dysentery, kidney inflammation with water swelling, and chyluria.

Dosage and Preparation: dried herb 15-30g; fresh herb 60-120g; fresh plant tincture 2-4ml. (in serious bleeding this should be repeated every 15 minutes until the bleed slows to at least half.) Also, the fresh plant tincture should be remade each year. Although the Chinese materia medica lists the dry material as useful, most Western herbalists view it as very weak or inert.

Note that some of the above comes directly from translated sources. The species use in the West and in China is the same and the uses are very similar. The main difference is in the jargon used to discribe the way the herb works, although there are some other differnences. The entirerty of the differences will be more clearly deliniated in my forthcoming book.

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