You may have stepped on this weed growing in the cracks of the sidewalk dozens of times, and thought nothing of it. Rather than being just another pesky weed, it actually holds the key healing many health ailments. This poor humble weed is just waiting for you to finally notice it and reap its wonderful benefits!
What Is Purslane?
You're probably wondering what purslane actually is! You may not have even realized it when you were stepping on one, but it's actually a very common annual succulent weed that grows just about everywhere in the world. In some circles, purslane is referred to as "pig weed." Just to make things confusing, other species of plants also share this same nickname. However this article is referencing the plant known by its botanical name of Portulaca oleracea.
Beware Of The Copycat
If you're the type that likes to hunt for wild edibles, beware of the purslane copycat! There's another weed, known as spurge, that looks very similar to purslane and is actually poisonous. True purslane is a succulent, which is characterized by fleshy leaves and stems. Purslane also has very distinctive red stems, and dark green petal shaped leaves that will secrete a clear liquid. Spurge has fuzzy leaves and stems, and will produce a milky white sap when cut. Be sure of what you have before you eat it!
High In Omega-3's
According to Dr. Axe, purslane has more omega-3 fatty acids than fish oil! Omega-3's are important to your overall well-being because they benefit your heart health, regulate your cholesterol levels, and are critical in helping with a growing child's brain development as it relates to learning and behavior. Omega-3's are also beneficial for supporting the healing of autoimmune disorders, preventing cancers and helping to reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis.
Among edible leafy greens, purslane has 6-times more vitamin E than spinach. Per Dr. Mercola, it also packs more than 7-times the amount of beta carotene that's found in carrots. It's also abundant in B-complex and C vitamins, iron, manganese, potassium, copper and antioxidants. If you aren't a fan of eating veggies, then purslane packs it all into one food, so you don't have to get all of your vitamins from separate food sources!
Great Bone Builder
A healthy skeletal structure is important as we age. If you have weak bones, you become more prone to fractures. A hip fracture and subsequent replacement hip can add serious complications to your lifestyle! David Wolfe notes that purslane is loaded with magnesium and calcium, which are necessary building blocks for great bone structure.
Lower Blood Sugar
Known as Ma Chi Xian in traditional Chinese medicine, purslane has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy for diabetes. Dr. Whitaker notes that a patented purslane extract has been shown in clinical studies to help control blood sugar levels in type-2 diabetics. In fact, an improvement of up to 44% was seen in AC1 levels! However, don't be afraid to go the natural route - ditch the extract and ust eat purslane. Thousands of years of Chinese medicine can't be wrong!
High in fiber and only 7 calories per cup, purslane is the perfect food to add to your weight loss regimen. However, it's the seeds that hold all the power when it comes to seeing a significant reduction in weight. The National Institutes of Health lists a study which noted a large drop in weight and body mass index after purslane seed consumption.
Dr. Oz loves purslane and claims it's a favorite in his household for its amazing skin benefits! It's loaded with vitamins and CoQ10 necessary for creating beautiful skin. He recommends mixing chopped pieces of purslane with yogurt and garlic for a yummy taste sensation.
Watch this video to learn more about identifying the purslane weed.
From a new salad ingredient to a smoothie superfood, purslane is making waves as an edible weed. You may even spot some for sale at your local farmer's market! If you do decide to eat this weed and aren't purchasing it from a store, be sure you're picking it from an area that is not sprayed with pesticides and chemicals.