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Food as Medicine: Shepherd's Purse

Shepherd's purse is a popular fragrant vegetable used for soups, wontons, and dumplings. This vegetable is incredibly easy to grow in the DC area and yields many seeds for replanting. Shepherd's purse contains immune boosting quercetin along with a variety of other nutrients. In pharmacological studies, shepherd's purse has been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-hemorrhagic and anti-cancer effects.


Anti-inflammatory Shepherd's Purse Soup


  • 1 lb of finely chopped Shepherd's purse

  • 1 block of organic silken or soft tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 tablespoon of roasted sesame oil

  • 6 egg whites, beaten until bubbles appear

  • Salt and white pepper to taste


  • Bring the broth to a boil with salt and white pepper

  • Add the tofu and simmer for 4 minutes

  • Add the shepherd's purse and simmer for 3 minutes

  • Stir the soup in a clockwise direction at the perimeter of the pot until the soup moves clockwise

  • Use a pair of chopsticks and drizzle in the egg whites

  • Add the sesame oil and adjust seasons before serving hot

  • Optional: cornstarch slurry may be used to thicken the soup for texture


Wichtl, M. and N.G. Bisset (eds.). 1994. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Stuttgart: Medpharm Scientific Publishers. 112114.

Iurisson, S. 1971. [Determination of active substances of Capsella bursa pastoris] [In Russian]. Tartu Riiliku Ulikooli Toim (270):7179.



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