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Shepherd's purse: The forgotten kitchen herb


Naturopathy: Shepherd's purse with health

The shepherd's purse with its heart-shaped fruit is an inconspicuous plant. Anyone who discovers the herb for the kitchen will be amazed by its culinary qualities. The young leaves have a spicy, spicy taste that is reminiscent of a mixture of cress and horseradish. This sets interesting accents in soups, egg dishes and herb quark.

For a salad, the leaves are mixed in equal parts with lamb's lettuce. There are also small chopped hard-boiled eggs, roasted pumpkin seeds and a dressing made from olive oil, wine vinegar, natural yoghurt, mustard, salt and pepper. The slight sharpness of the capsule fruits brings pep to the sandwich and serves as a pepper substitute in vegetable pans. The small seeds can be ground like mustard and used as a spice.

Herdsman's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) belongs to the cruciferous plant family. The one- or two-year-old herb reaches a height of up to 40 centimeters and forms rosettes near the ground from elongated, dandelion-like lobed leaves. The small, white flowers sit in bunches at the end of the upright stem and are also edible. The extraordinary fruits have given the shepherd's purse its name: they are flat and, conversely, heart-shaped, which is probably reminiscent of the shoulder bags of shepherds from earlier times. The plant is very frugal and grows on paths, even between paving stones, at the edge of the field, on rubble heaps and in gardens.

The ideal harvest time for the shepherd's purse is spring. Pick the young, delicate leaves, because after flowering they become a little bitter. The plant contains abundant flavonoids, saponins, mustard oil glycosides, tannins, vitamin C, potassium and calcium. The shepherd's purse herb is also known for its healing properties. In alternative medicine, it is used, for example, for urinary tract diseases and for hemostasis. Heike Kreutz, respectively

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