Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Shepherd’s purse

0801. We … nibbled on parts of shepherd’s purse and these parts of shepherd’s purse were given to older people to lower their blood pressure [Andover, Hampshire, December 2013].

2. We collected shepherd’s purse for the rabbits [Bradford, November 2013].

3. Shepherd’s purse was picked for my Dad’s canaries [Tamworth, Staffordshire, June 2012].

4. My best herbal remedy is one I have used on my pet rabbits for over 50 years. Some shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) is very effective if given to a rabbit with diarrhoea or a tummy upset. In the last few years I had an adult rabbit that was refusing to eat and looking quite poorly. It refused to eat any shepherd’s purse, so I broke some into small pieces and forced it into its mouth. It gradually swallowed some and then ate some. In two hours it had started to recover and in the next few days went on the make a full recovery. It lived for several more years after this until it died of old age [Ipswich, Suffolk, August 2011].

5. Shepherd’s purse is a tonic for rabbits; they’re very fond of it [Brockwell Park, London, February 2010].

6. If you pick shepherd’s purse your mother will die – associated with the plucking of the heart-shaped capsules; Perthshire, Invergowrie, 1950s onwards, family belief [Stevenage, Hertfordshire, May 1982].

Images: main, Cavendish Road, Balham, London Borough of Lambeth, April 2014; inset, Northampton, Northamptonshire, May 2015.