Purslane (Portulaca Oleracea), a member of the green leafy vegetable family, is an edible “superfood” weed that many people have never heard of. Moreover, even if they have heard of it, most don’t know that Purslane is actually a “superfood” too, meaning it has many nutritional health benefits.
Purslane is mostly considered a weed by those who come across it. It likes growing in dry, sandy soil areas and might even be found in your backyard. Actually, purslane was known in ancient times as having the ability to remedy heart problems, swollen inflamed joints, sore throats, and dry skin, among many other ailments.
Though the United States generally regard it as a weed, purslane was commonly eaten in places such as Europe, Greece, Mexico, and Asia – and it still is!
Purslane Nutrition and Health Benefits
Most leafy greens are high in potassium, low in sodium, provide magnesium, calcium, folate, fiber, chlorophyll, lutein, and some amount of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids (ALA). But purslane has the highest amount of omega-3s of all the leafy greens. Some think it has more omega-3s than even some fish oils. Flax also contains a high amount of plant-based omega-3 but flax is not a leafy green.
Purslane is also a great source of vitamin-C, beta-carotene, phosphorus, iron, and glutathione. Purslane has 7 times higher levels of vitamin-E than Spinach and more beta-carotene than many cultivated vegetables, and, being a leafy green, its also effective in preventing stomach cancer.
As well as containing high levels of anti-oxidants, purslane also has high levels of phosphorus, iron, calcium, and especially potassium. It even contains levels of naturally occurring melatonin, which is responsible for regulating sleep patterns.
Purslane definitely deserves to be included in your diet now that you know about it. You can get it from farmers markets, organic grocery stores, or grow your own as the plant is a pretty hardy one and grown easily, since it is a weed afterall. If you happen to pick some wild, make sure the soil has not been chemically treated first. You can also buy Purslane capsules or Organic Certified Purslane seeds.
You can eat purslane cooked or raw. Raw purslane does taste a bit sour. Cooking will boost its carotenoids and lutein content but it will also degrade the vitamin-C and folates, so eat them both ways!
Try eating some in your spinach salad along with some extra virgin olive oil and a twist of lemon juice with your favorite salad dressing for a delicious way to absorb all those purslane health benefits.
Related Article: Purslane – Weed It or Eat It?