Note: this has been reposted based on an original entry called ‘Powerful Purslane’ 🙂
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) aka ‘Pigweed’
Nella pointed out to me at Christmas that the weed I’ve been pulling out in our garden is actually an edible succulent herb called purslane (and also known as ‘pigweed’). Much research has been done on this wondrous plant and yet its benefits are relatively unknown to the general public.
Purslane leaves can be used as a substitute for spinach, as a salad vegetable or included in cooked dishes. It is easy to grow and spreads over open ground. It is very drought tolerant and may well be more nutritious than the conventional vegetables you are growing.
Purslane has paddle-shaped fleshy leaves, reddish stems and tiny yellow flowers that are followed by pointed seed capsules.
The use of purslane as a medicinal plant has been recorded at least since the time of the ancient Egyptians and has been popular in many cultures since then. In Greece, purslane was valued as a treatment for digestive disorders, as an anti-inflammatory and for respiratory problems. Purslane is one of the seven herbs used in the symbolic dish served at the nanakusa-no-sekku, the traditional Japanese new year ritual. A common plant in parts of India, purslane is known as Sanhti, Punarva, or Kulfa.
How does it help?
Purslane leaves are full of Vitamin C and have a sharp taste perfect for salads. The seeds inside purslane pods are tiny and black and highly nutritious, having been found to be an excellent source of ‘Omega 3’ fatty acids.
Purslane has been shown to help reduce infection, fever and coughs. It is also a diuretic and has an antifungal effect.
Fresh purslane may be applied topically to relieve sores and insect or snake bites on the skin.
Known as Ma Chi Xian in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is used to treat infections or bleeding of the urinary tract as well as dysentery.