Purslane how to eat

Have you ever wondered how to eat purslane (Portulaca oleracea) – one of the most common garden ‘weeds’ in the world. Below I have listed 20 ways to eat purslane and there are so many more!

It’s a shame that purslane is most often considered an unwelcome guest or simply ignored. It’s great food that can be found growing extensively around the world and since antiquity it has been regarded as a valuable medicinal and edible herb.

Yes, purslane is actually a very useful plant to find in your garden. The leaves, stems, flower buds and seeds of purslane are all edible.




The little black seeds can be used as a tea and can be eaten too. They taste a bit like linseed/flaxseed. Indigenous Australians used to use the seeds of purslane to make flour for seed cakes. In dry parts of Australia each plant can yield 10,000 seeds.


  1. Purslane has more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable.
  2. Purslane has seven times more beta carotene than carrots.
  3. Purslane is an excellent source of Vitamin A (44% of RDA) – one of the highest among leafy greens.


  1. Purslane and cucumber
  2. Purslane andtomato
  3. Purslane and avocado
  4. Purslane and nuts
  5. Purslane and garlic
  6. Purslane and lemon
  7. Purslane and eggs
  8. Purslane and fresh feta
  9. Purslane and legumes
  10. Purslane dip
  11. Purslane, cucumber and tomato salad
  12. Purslane in potato salad
  13. Purslane salad with quinoa or couscous
  14. Purslane in spanakopita
  15. Purslane in dahl
  16. Purslane in curry
  17. Purslane in scrambled eggs, omelete and quiche
  18. Sauteed purslane – a few minutes in olive oil
  19. Pickled purslane
  20. Green purslane savoury pancakes

This is a nice recipe for purslane dip.

  • 1 cup of purslane (and perhaps some other leafy greens)
  • ½ cup organic or homemade plain yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • a couple of garlic cloves or handfuls of garlic chives, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon good salt to taste
  • Blend and serve with homemade sourdough bread, vegetable sticks or handmade crackers. Also lovely as a side dish with curry.

Purslane can also be used to make amazing drinks.

  1. Purslane in a green smoothie
  2. Purslane leaf tea
  3. Purslane and watermelon slushie

Important note: be careful where you wild harvest purslane. Avoid areas with possible contamination – exhaust, chemicals, dogs …

What ways do you eat purslane?

For more information about purslane:

Purslane: Nourishing Produce or Annoying Pest?

Information about Purslane by Isobel Shippard

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“I have made a satisfactory dinner, satisfactory on several accounts, simply off a dish of purslane (Portulaca oleracea) which I gathered in my cornfield, boiled and salted. I give the Latin on account of the savoriness of the trivial name,” wrote Henry David Thoreau, in Walden, published in 1854. What does “satisfactory on several accounts mean?” For a man who wrote a lot, he does not elaborate.

In the United States most gardeners throw purslane out when it infiltrates their domain, which seems a waste; the sprawling semi-succulent boasts the highest-yet-measured levels of omega-3 fatty acids in a plant. In my vegetable garden I transplant opportunistic purslane volunteers into tidy rows.

There are many ways purslane can be enjoyed, cooked. But in the unseasonal warmth of September here in New York City, prolonged oven heat has zero appeal. Read on for 10 ways to enjoy this healthy and appealing green raw, omega-3’s happily intact.

Photography and food by Marie Viljoen.

Above: Purslane’s flavor can be variable. Time of day matters for harvest, writes John Slattery, author of the new book Southwest Foraging ($21.20 from Amazon): “If you gather it in the morning it will have more malic acid, and therefore be tangy in taste. Gathered in the afternoon it will be sweeter in taste, as the malic acid is transformed into glucose.”

More seed companies are offering purslane for sale. Golden Purslane has fatter leaves and a squatter habit than common purslane: $2.39 from Botanical Interests.

Other Americans know better than most US gardeners: verdolagas (Spanish for purslane) are appreciated in Mexico, and routinely eaten.

Native Americans knew about purslane and used it fresh and cooked. On the other side of the Atlantic Romans devoured purslane, BC. It remains a well-known vegetable around the Mediterranean. But the common purslane we know as a garden weed has uncertain origins. Asia? North Africa? And while it is thought to be a post-Columbian immigrant to North America, archaeological records have shown evidence of its seeds and pollen here as far back as AD 750.

Above: Increasingly, purslane is showing up at farmers’ markets in late summer. When my own stash becomes too leggy, that is where I find a fresh supply.

Purslane and Nectarine Salad

Above: Slice a fresh, ripe peach or nectarine into thin pieces, dress with lemon juice, fresh purslane leaves, and a sprinkle of heat in the form of chiles. I keep yuzu kosho on hand – the yuzu zest and chile accentuate the sweet nectarine.

Purslane with Beets and Greek Yogurt

Above: It is hard to avoid the term superfood when thinking about raw beet topped with purslane. I quick-pickle beet slices in a solution of one third vinegar to two thirds water, with salt and sugar to balance. Top the drained beet slices with Greek yogurt (or labneh) and fresh purslane, and drizzle with good olive oil.

Purslane and Beans Salad

Shelled beans from the garden cooked in water with salt until just tender are tossed while still warm with a cupful of purslane, a squeeze of lemon and little olive oil.

What goes around, comes around. In 1699, in his Discourse Of Sallets (perhaps the first healthfood cookbook), gentleman scholar John Evelyn recommended purslane among the ingredients for a good salad. In 2005, in his delectable new book, Salads (Quadrille, £18.99), chef Peter Gordon does exactly the same thing. Somewhere in between, this succulent little leaf faded out of our culinary consciousness. Given its elegance, its delicacy and its wholesomeness, it’s a good thing it’s finding its way back.

The appeal of purslane is in its texture as much as its flavour: its small, plump leaves – like juicier versions of lamb’s lettuce – have a lush quality quite unlike more papery salad leaves. The flavour is mild and sweet, but tempered with a lemony-apple acidity, making this leaf the perfect partner of something peppery, such as watercress, or fresh and grassy, like flat-leaf parsley. In his book, Gordon pairs it with asparagus and globe artichoke – a perfect mixture of complementary green flavours – and then serves the leaves with milky mozzarella or beetroot.

Purslane is said to have originated in Persia and has long flourished in many parts of the world. It’s also known as fatweed, reflecting the leaf’s plump, juicy texture, and other names include pussly, pourpier and verdolaga. There are two common types, golden and green purslane, with golden said to have the edge on the flavour front. Please note that I’m talking about summer purslane here (portulaca oleracea). There is also a winter purslane (claytonia perfoliata), which is quite a different vegetable.

In Evelyn’s time, purslane was said to be a beneficial herb for those suffering from arthritis, heart disease and toothache. Whether or not these claims are true, purslane is a good source of iron and vitamin C, and one of the best plant sources of the Omega 3 fatty acids needed to keep the heart healthy.

You can cook this leaf, wilting it quickly as you would spinach, and its mucilaginous texture means it acts as a thickener in soups, but it’s at its most delectable raw. Try it with chives, parsley and a little olive oil for the most refreshing of salads.

· Adrian Izzard sells purslane on his stalls at Stoke Newington and Marylebone farmers’ markets in London. You can mail order the leaves from Cherry Tree Farm in Kent, 01797 270626. Alternatively, order plants to grow yourself from jekkasherbfarm.com, or buy seeds from greenchronicle.co.uk.

Purslane Weed – Eliminating Purslane In The Garden

The purslane plant can be a difficult weed to control due to its multiple survival methods. Much like a zombie, even after you think you have killed it, it can come back to life again and again. The purslane weed can be controlled though, if you are familiar with all of the ways it can thwart you trying to remove it. Let’s look at the best methods for purslane control and how to get rid of purslane.

Identifying Purslane Plants

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a succulent plant that will grow outward in a circle shape close to the ground. The fleshy red stems will have small green paddle shaped fleshy leaves. Purslane flowers are star-shaped and yellow in appearance.

Purslane can be found in clear uncultivated or recently cultivated soil.

How to Get Rid of Purslane

Purslane weed is best dealt with while the plant is still young. If allowed to grow to the seed stage, they are able to actually throw their seeds some distance away from the mother plant and infest several other parts of your garden.

The best method for eliminating purslane is by hand pulling. Typically, a single purslane plant will cover a large area, so you can easily clear large areas affected by purslane weed with only a little effort.

Herbicide can be used on these plants as well but work best while the plants are still young.

Removing purslane from the garden is not the difficult part about controlling purslane. The difficult part is keeping purslane out of your garden and yard. As mentioned, a mature plant has the ability to throw its seeds away from the mother plant. Also, purslane can re-root itself from any part of its stems and leaves. Even a small piece of the plant left on the soil can result in new growth.

On top of this, purslane can continue to ripen its seeds even after it has been uprooted from the ground. So, if you throw the purslane into your compost pile or trash, it can still mature and throw its seeds back out onto soil in your garden.

Not only this, but purslane seeds can survive in the soil for years waiting to be brought back up to the light so that they can germinate. As you can see, this weed is a survivalist among plants and all of this makes purslane control difficult.

Taking all of this into consideration when eliminating purslane, make sure to dispose of the purslane properly. Place purslane weeds into a paper or plastic bag before throwing them away. Make sure that when you clear an area of purslane, you remove all traces of the plant to prevent re-rooting.

Purslane seeds need light to germinate, so a heavy layer mulch or paper over a previously infected area can help get rid of purslane. You can also use a pre-emergent herbicide to keep the new seeds from germinating.

Knowing how to get rid of purslane once and for all is easy once you know how purslane survives. Purslane control is really just a matter of making sure that the purslane weed and its seeds are all eliminated from the garden.

Purslane Recipes: 45 Things To Do With Fresh Purslane

Have you ever cooked with purslane, or Portulaca oleracea as it is known to botanists? It is a succulent plant whose edible, delicious leaves are crunchy and slightly mucilaginous, with a tangy lemony and peppery flavor.

It is generally harvested from early June till the end of summer, and can either be foraged or purchased, usually from a farmers market or through a CSA share. The wild variety, which is actually considered a weed by many gardeners, is rampant and has pinkish stems (see picture above), while cultivated varieties tend to grow vertically and display greenish stems.

Purslane has been consumed since ancient times, and because it grows easily in hot and not too dry climates, it is represented in many cuisines of the world, from Greece to Mexico, and from Turkey to India by way of South Africa. (Here’s a handy list of its aliases in different languages.)

It is a bit of a nutritional powerhouse, offering remarkable amounts of minerals (most notably calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium), omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins (A, B, C), and antioxydants. It is thought to be an important component of the Cretan high-life-expectancy diet, and Michael Pollan has called it one of the two most nutritious plants on the planet in his In Defense of Food manifesto (the other is lamb’s quarters if you want to hunt for that too).

Although the stems are edible when still young (and can be pickled), cooks usually keep only the leaves and thin, spindly stems at the top, which are simply plucked from the central stem. The process is slow-going, but rewarding in the end. Because purslane grows so close to the earth, and especially if it is foraged*, it should be rinsed very well, in several baths of fresh water (I usually do three), with a bit of vinegar.

And once you have your bowlful of squeaky clean and vibrant little leaves, what do you do with them? Purslane is mostly eaten raw, but can also be cooked for a change of pace. I’ve gathered 45 purslane recipes for you — and hope you’ll add your own favorites in the comments section!

* Some people report that they find it growing from sidewalk cracks or in city parks, but I wouldn’t recommend foraging it from there.

Best Pairings for Purslane Recipes

– Purslane + cucumber
– Purslane + tomato
– Purslane + avocado
– Purslane + nuts (esp. almonds and walnuts)
– Purslane + garlic
– Purslane + lemon
– Purslane + vinegar
– Purslane + marjoram
– Purslane + chili pepper
– Purslane + eggs
– Purslane + cream
– Purslane + fresh cheese (esp. feta)
– Purslane + hard cheese (esp. parmesan)
– Purslane + fish
– Purslane + shellfish
– Purslane + duck
– Purslane + lamb
– Purslane + legumes (esp. black beans, lentils, and chickpeas)
– Purslane + stone fruits (esp. peaches, nectarines, and plums)

Purslane in salads

– Purslane salad with sesame oil, rice vinegar, gomasio, and strips of nori
– Purslane and potato salad with capers or anchovies
– Purslane salad with chunks of peaches and fresh goat cheese, or with a peach dressing
– Fattouche salad with toasted chips of pita bread
– Purslane salad with a white dressing (i.e. a classic vinaigrette with cream or buttermilk in place of oil)
– Purslane salad with black barley and watermelon
– Purslane salad with diced red bell peppers, lemon juice, and olive oil (the vitamin C in the bell peppers and lemon juice helps with the iron absorbency)
– Purslane salad with grilled corn and a creamy avocado dressing
– Purslane salad with walnuts, crispy bacon, and finely diced red onion
– Purslane salad with quinoa, peas, and radishes
– Purslane salad with diced tomatoes and cucumbers in a pomegranate molasses dressing
– Purslane salad with fregola sarda or Israeli couscous
– Purslane salad with chickpeas and a zaatar dressing
– Purslane salad with walnuts, sumac, and “grated” tomatoes

Purslane with meat

– Serve as a side salad with duck magret
– Stew with pork in a tomatillo sauce, Mexican-style (puerco con verdolagas)
– Stew with lamb and lentils

Purslane with fish

– Use purslane in a stuffing for baked fish
– Process purslane with a little cream or yogurt and make a green sauce to drizzle over fish
– Serve as a side salad with wild salmon, lobster, or crab

Purslane soups

– No-cook cucumber and purslane soup
– Portuguese purslane soup with potatoes
– Purslane and almond soup, adapted from this green bean and almond soup

Cooked purslane

– A Moroccan-style cooked salad
– Purslane spanakopita
– Purslane borek
– Sauté briefly (2-5 min) in olive oil
– Steam briefly (2-5 min) and dress with olive oil and lemon juice
– Make tempura with the tender tops
– Add to dal

Purslane in beverages

– Make green smoothies (purslane will make them creamier) with blueberries, kiwis, peaches, or tropical fruit (it’s okay to freeze purslane for use in smoothies)
– Make a cucumber and purslane slushie
– Make tea with the leaves; it is said to help ease headaches, bring down a fever, soothe sore throats, and combat inflammation.

Other purslane uses

– Pickled purslane
– Purslane vinegar
– Purslane pesto
– Purslane tzatziki (use purslane instead of, or in addition to the cucumber)
– Add to scrambled eggs and omelets
– Make green pancakes (recipe from my book!)
– Toss with pasta as in this pasta with tetragon
– Sprinkle over pizza just before serving
– Use as a garnish for gazpacho, chilled zucchini soup, or asparagus soup
– Add to sandwiches for crunch; it would be great in a lobster roll or an ABLT.
– Add to salsa and salsa verde
– And if you ever tire of it, feed it to your chickens! Their eggs will be richer in omega-3 fatty acids.

Purslane: To eat or not to eat

Carol Shirk Published 12:06 AM EDT Jul 27, 2015

One of the banes of gardening is weed management. Some weeds fall into the “if you can’t beat them join them” category. Purslane is one of those weeds.

Common purslane, Portulaca oleracea, is an edible weed. In fact, in many parts of the world, it is cultivated because of its high nutrient value. It has more omega-3 fatty acids than some fish oils, has the highest vitamin A content of any of the leafy vegetables, and is high in some B complex vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese. It is chock full of antioxidants, making it a weed worth pursuing. To quote one source, “it is in your yard and it is cheaper than salmon.”

Purslane is native to Northern Africa and India, but has been cultivated there and in Europe for thousands of years. It is a low growing plant with fleshy, succulent leaves that resemble a baby jade plant. Unlike the jade plant, purslane generally grows flat to the ground, radiating from a single tap root. However it can, with adequate moisture, grow up to 16 inches tall.

Purslane grows most abundantly in full sun and warm weather. Plants in cooler, shady conditions will be weak and small. It can tolerate drought well, and will be something that will survive when many others will not. Soil type is of little concern to purslane. It will grow in soils ranging from heavy clay to rich, loose ones.

If purslane is an unwanted weed in the garden and control is the goal, the most important thing is to prevent it from going to seed. Seeds can remain viable for up to 40 years, so control is vital. Small yellow flowers will form about three weeks after seedlings appear. The seeds prefer an open area or fine textured soil, such as in a vegetable garden, to germinate. However, they do poorly if buried more than one-half inch deep.

Mulch is an effective way to control the seeds from sprouting, but is less effective once the plants are present. The seeds germinate best at 90 degrees, so altering that temperature will reduce the number of seeds that make it to maturity.

If mature plants are present, they can form a mat up to 3 feet in diameter, seemingly overnight, but can be easily pulled. However, leaving any plant part in the ground will result in it rerooting and going on to make more plants. Running the tiller through a patch of purslane is a good way to make a bigger patch of purslane.

There is some benefit to having purslane in the garden, even if it isn’t going to make it to the table. University studies have shown that it can live non-competitively with some crops such as sweet corn, beans and tomatoes and provide a living mulch. However, use caution since the seeds can remain for an extended period of time and other crops may be rotated into that area that might not be as happy to share the space.

Going one step further and inviting purslane in for dinner is the true test of a gardener. It has a tart, almost lemony, taste, yet is a bit salty. It is used extensively outside of North America in soups, stews, salads and tomato sauces. It is great in a salad with a vinaigrette dressing. When used in soups, it will act as a thickener. Although the antioxidant properties are significantly reduced by cooking, the mineral and vitamin properties remain stable.

Carol Shirk,

Certified Master Gardener

Published 12:06 AM EDT Jul 27, 2015

10 Amazing Benefits of Purslane

The health benefits of purslane include its ability to aid in weight loss, improve heart health, ensure healthy growth and development of children, and treat certain gastrointestinal diseases. It also has anti-cancer potential, protects the skin, boosts vision, strengthens the immune system, builds strong bones, and increases circulation.

What is Purslane?

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a leafy vegetable that most likely originated in the Mediterranean region. It is widely eaten throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. It is an annual succulent with a slightly sour and salty taste, making it an interesting addition to the plate and palate. The entire plant, including the leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds are edible and have been used for thousands of years in different variations.

As mentioned, purslane has been in use since prehistoric times and is widely referred to in ancient Chinese medicine, as well as in early aboriginal culture. Sadly, in the United States, it is usually ignored and treated like any other invasive weed in gardens and yards.

Purslane Nutrition Facts

When this unusual ‘weed’ became the subject of scientific study, researchers were shocked at what they found! Purslane vegetable has extremely high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly for a land vegetable, as well as significant amounts of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, B-family vitamins, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, and copper. Furthermore, the betalain pigments (powerful antioxidant compounds) and carotenoids round out this veritable treasure trove of nutrients and beneficial organic compounds.

Health Benefits of Purslane

Purslane has many benefits that help in preventing and curing diseases. Let’s discuss the benefits in detail below:

Improves Heart Health

Research has found that the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, found in purslane, help to reduce the amount of LDL (bad) or bad cholesterol in the body. This helps to promote a healthier cholesterol balance in our bloodstream.

Purslane is s great to use in salads, soups, and stews. Photo Credit:

Consuming foods that are high in omega-3s have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, as well as atherosclerosis, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Furthermore, the potassium found in this vegetable can aid in reducing blood pressure due to its behavior as a vasodilator, relaxing blood vessels and reducing strain on the heart.

Weight Loss

Nutrition analyses suggest that purslane is very low in calories, while also being nutrient-rich and packed with dietary fiber. This means that people can feel full after a meal including purslane, without significantly increasing calorie intake, thereby assisting in the weight loss process.

Promotes Child Development

Purslane contains plenty of good fatty acids (omega-3s). Although research is still ongoing, early studies have shown that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the diets of young children seem to decrease some of the signs and symptoms in certain developmental disorders, including autism and ADHD.

Treats Gastrointestinal Diseases

Some people may shy away from alternative medicine treatments for health conditions, but in traditional Chinese medicine, purslane (known as Ma Chi Xian) was widely used to treat everything from diarrhea and intestinal bleeding to hemorrhoids and dysentery. Even today it is used to treat a wide variety of intestinal conditions. These benefits are mainly attributed to the organic compounds found in purslane, including dopamine, malic acid, citric acid, alanine, glucose, and others.

Skin Care

Purslane may help treat a wide variety of skin conditions as well. A study published in 2004 revealed that purslane leaves contain high levels of vitamin A. This vitamin, combined with the cocktail of compounds found in this ‘weed’ mean that it can help reduce inflammation when applied topically. When consumed it may aid in improving skin, reduce wrinkles, and stimulate the healing of skin cells to remove scars and blemishes.

Anti-cancer Potential

A 2016 study by Chinese researchers suggests that purslane seed oil has antioxidant and antiproliferative properties can help reduce oxidative stress. During the in-vitro test on cancerous cells, the seed oil inhibited tumor cell growth exhibiting anti-cancer potential. Further studies are required to explore its anti-cancer properties.

Improves Vision

Vitamin A and beta-carotene, contained in purslane, have both been connected to improved eye health and vision. These can help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts by eliminating free radicals that attack the cells of the eye and cause these common age-related diseases.

Strengthens Bones

The minerals present in purslane make it a healthy choice for people who want to mitigate bone loss. Calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese are all elements required to develop bone tissue and speed the healing process of the bones. As purslane contains these important nutrients for bone health, consumption may aid in the prevention of osteoporosis, a common age-related condition that affects millions of people.

Improves Circulation

The high content of iron and copper in purslane means that it contains the nutrients that can help stimulate the production of red blood cells. Both of these minerals are essential for boosting circulation by delivering more oxygen to essential parts of the body. They also increase the healing speed of cells and organs and aid in improving hair growth and metabolic efficiency!

Uses of Purslane

  • In culinary pursuits, purslane is commonly used in soups, salads, and stews. A University of Illinois newsletter suggests that ham and purslane on rye bread are delicious.
  • It is added to meat dishes as a flavorful element and is also mixed with dough to make certain delicious bread varieties.
  • Aside from culinary usages, it has also been used as traditional medicine for curing various diseases in China and India.

Word of Caution: The only potential downside that researchers have found about purslane is the relatively high content of oxalic acid, which leads to the formation of kidney stones. If you already suffer from kidney stones, speak to a medical professional about consuming it. It should be noted that boiling it in water causes a great deal of oxalic acid to be eliminated, without losing many of the other beneficial nutrients.

Edible Weeds 101: The Health Benefits of Purslane

Weeds may be an unwelcome sight in your garden, but some weeds are worth keeping around. Many weeds are edible, and some even have an array of health benefits! Purslane is one such weed. A food favored by Ghandi, purslane can and should be eaten. This succulent plant grows wild throughout the U.S., but if it’s not already growing in your garden, it’s easy to find a location where you can gather it (including your local farmers’ market!). Purslane’s health benefits reside in its tear-shaped leaves, so discard the stems once you’ve harvested this plant (usually in mid-summer).

Purslane’s tear-shaped leaves hold this plant’s health-giving powers, so grab a handful and head to the kitchen. Photo By A. Draugli Furnituremaker/Courtesy Flickr.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Purslane contains high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid generally found in vegetables, as well as small amounts of EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids more commonly found in fish. This essential fatty acid plays a key role in maintaining heart health; it can lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids also enrich brain health and can be useful in preventing and treating depression.

Antioxidants: Purslane is high in vitamins A, C and E, which are known for their antioxidant powers. This edible weed also contains two betalain alkaloid pigments, beta-cyanins and beta-xanthins, which act as antioxidants.

Vitamins and minerals: Purslane is low in calories and fat, but this weed does contain high amounts of dietary minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese.


Substitue purslane for other leafy green vegetables in your cooking. Use it to garnish sandwiches, add it to soups and stews, and incorporate it into your salads. If you’re pregnant, avoid purslane as it can make the uterine muscles contract. Purslane has a slightly pepper flavor and can be tart at times.

Quick and easy Purslane recipe to enjoy all the benefits it has to offer. The Purslane plant is considered a weed in some many places, and since it grows almost everywhere, you can see it rising through the pavement cracks in the parking lots and sidewalks, or small grass patched next to the footpaths.


Purslane is considered a succulent, its believed to arrive at the Mediterranean from Asia. It appears in the cuisines of Spain, Greece, and Italy.

Many people don’t realize that the Purslane plant is contemplated as a superfood due to the number of vitamins and minerals it offers. It is used as antibacterial, depurative and as a diuretic, not to mention other uses given in different cultures.

Purslane has teardrop shape leaves similar to those of succulents with a red stem, and small yellow flowers, the leaves are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help those with cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

In Mexico, it is sold at the Municipal markets and in some large chain style grocery stores, but mostly at the municipal or ambulant markets. However, it is common for people to forager them from their local surroundings.

Purslane also appears in the cuisines of the Mediterranean like Greece, Italy, and Spain. Although, Purslane is also consumed in the Middle East & Asia.

In case you want to know what other benefits you can obtain from consuming Purslane, here are some of them: It is an excellent source of vitamin A, Calcium, zinc, manganese, copper, Potassium, iron, and phosphorous. Purslane is an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid. Alpha-linolenic is an omega-3 fatty acid which plays an essential role in human growth and development and in preventing diseases. Purslane has been shown to contain five times higher omega-3 fatty acids than spinach

Other names for Purslane (Portulaca oleracea), is little hogweed, pusley, fatweed, and pigweed. In Spanish is know as “Verdolagas” And they taste a little bit tart, you can use eat them raw in salads before their small yellow flowers appear, after that, you can use them in stews or like in this easy recipe for Steamed Purslane.

Steamed Purslane Recipe



  • Fill a small saucepan or wide skillet with 1 cup of water, and add the garlic clove. Turn the heat to medium-high.
  • Bring the water to a boil, add the Purslane, and reduce the heat to low. Cover the saucepan or skillet and keep cooking for 6 minutes. The cooking time will also depend on the tenderness of the Purslane, is it has long, and woody stems it will take more time to cook compared to tender small leaves and steams.
  • Remove it from the heat and drain. Season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. To serve dust with the Cotija cheese or if you don’t find it, Parmesan cheese is a good substitute. Just remember that these two kinds of cheese are salty, no need to add too much salt to the purslane.

Other ways to use Purslane in cooking is to add to stews almost at the end of the cooking time, salads as mentioned above, with scrambled eggs or frittatas, and stir-fry meals.


  • If you want to reduce the number of calories, you can skip the addition of the cheese.
  • Tender and young leaves have a higher amount of nutrients.


Mely Martinez

Steamed Purslane Recipe

Quick and Easy Purslane Recipe. Purslane has been shown to contain five times higher omega-3 fatty acids than spinach 4.8 from 5 votes Pin Add to Collection Go to Collections Course: Side dish Cuisine: Mexican Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes Servings: 2 Calories: 124kcal Author: Mely Martínez – Mexico in my Kitchen


  • 2 Cups Purslane
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Cotija cheese or Parmesan
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Fill a small saucepan or wide skillet with 1 cup of water, and add the garlic clove. Turn the heat to medium-high.
  • Bring the water to a boil, add the Purslane, and reduce the heat to low. Cover the saucepan or skillet and keep cooking for 6 minutes. The cooking time will also depend on the tenderness of the Purslane, is it has long, and woody stems it will take more time to cook compared to tender small leaves and steams.
  • Remove it from the heat and drain. Season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. To serve dust with the Cotija cheese or if you don’t find it, Parmesan cheese is a good substitute. Just remember that these two kinds of cheese are salty, no need to add too much salt to the purslane.


  • If you want to reduce the number of calories, you can skip the addition of the cheese.
  • Tender and young leaves have a higher amount of nutrients.


Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 235mg | Potassium: 494mg | Vitamin A: 2270IU | Vitamin C: 29.4mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 4.6mg Have you made this recipe? Let me know on InstagramTag @mexicoinmykitchen and hashtag me #mexicoinmykitchen!

Also, check the recipe Pork with purslane and Chayote Salad recipe.

If you want to know more about Purslane and his benefits, nutrition value and research, visit the “The national center of Biotechnology” website.

I really hope you consider eating this beneficial weed. Purslane.


Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jun 3, 2019.

Clinical Overview


Purslane has been used as a vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids and is high in vitamins and minerals. It possesses marked antioxidant activity. Roles in abnormal uterine bleeding, asthma, type 2 diabetes, and oral lichen planus are suggested; however, clinical studies are limited and diverse in nature.

Limited clinical studies are available to provide dosage guidelines; however, 180 mg/day of purslane extract has been studied in diabetic patients, and powdered seeds have been taken at 1 to 30 g daily in divided doses, as well as both ethanol and aqueous purslane extracts. Traditional Chinese Medicine recommendations of 9 to 15 g of dried aerial parts, and 10 to 30 g fresh herb, have been reported for a variety of indications. One hundred grams of fresh purslane leaves yields approximately 300 to 400 mg of alpha linolenic acid.


Contraindications have not been identified.


Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

None well documented.

Limited clinical studies have not reported clinically important adverse effects. Effects on uterine contractions are contradictory.

Studies are lacking.

Scientific Family

  • Portulacaceae (Purslane)


The purslane family includes several fleshy plants. P. oleracea is an herbaceous, succulent annual growing 10 to 30 cm tall and preferring sandy soil and warmer conditions. It is sometimes considered a weed because of its invasive growth patterns. It has reddish-brown stems, alternate wedge-shaped leaves, clusters of yellow flowers containing 4 to 6 petals that bloom in summer, and numerous black, shiny, and rough seeds. The botanical name is derived from the Latin potare, meaning to “carry,” and lac or “milk,” referring to the milky sap of the plant. Synonyms are Portulaca neglecta Mack. & Bush and Portulaca retusa Engelm. This plant (also known as little hogweed) should not be confused with giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum).1, 2, 3


In ancient times, purslane was used to protect against evil spirits. Purslane’s medicinal use dates back at least 2,000 years, but it was used as food well before this period. Traditional medicinal uses for purslane are broad. Ancient Romans used purslane to treat dysentery, intestinal worms, headache, and stomachache. It has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is referred to as the “vegetable for long life.” Aerial parts are dried and used for fever, diarrhea, carbuncle, eczema, and hematochezia.4 Other TCM uses include diabetes, atherosclerosis, vascular endothelial dysfunction, and urolithiasis.5 The Chinese, French, Italians, and English also used purslane as a food source.2, 6


Purslane is considered a rich vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, including tocopherol, ascorbic acid, beta carotene, and glutathione.7, 8, 9, 10, 11 The alpha-linolenic acid content varies with cultivar, geography, and environmental factors, with leaves having a greater percentage than seeds and stems.10, 12 The plant’s bright yellow flowers are of interest in the food industry because of the nitrogen-containing betalain pigments.13, 14

Purslane also contains carbohydrates, lipids, glycosides, alkaloids (including oleraceins), sterols, coumarins, triterpenes, and flavonoids.15, 16, 17, 18 Phenolic constituents of the plant include scopoletin, bergapten, isopimpinellin, lonchocarpic acid, robustin, genistein, and others.19 Amino acids in the leaves of the Portulaca species include phenylalanine, alanine, tyrosine, and aspartate.20 Plant acids include citric, malic, ascorbic, succinic, fumaric, and acetic acids.21 The volatile oil of P. oleracea has also been studied and contains mainly linalool and 3,7,11,15-tetramethyl-2-hexadecen-1-ol.22

Purslane is a rich source of vitamins A, B, C, and E and is high in carotenoid content, including beta-carotene. Calcium, magnesium, potassium, folate, lithium, and melatonin are also present.2, 8, 9, 11

Uses and Pharmacology

Purslane has been investigated for its pharmacological actions in neurological disorders, diabetes, cancer, ulcers, microbial infections, liver disease, and as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Clinical studies are limited.4

Abnormal uterine bleeding

A small clinical study (N = 10) evaluated the efficacy of purslane seeds and found reductions in duration and volume of uterine bleeding.23


A small clinical trial (N = 13) evaluated the bronchodilatory effect of oral purslane extract compared with that of oral theophylline and inhaled salbutamol. Purslane extract showed improvements in pulmonary function tests similar to those of theophylline.24

CNS effects

Effects of both ethanol and aqueous extracts of purslane are attributed in part to observed antioxidant activity. Both histological and biochemical studies have shown free-radical scavenging activity, as well as reduced lipid peroxidation, lactate dehydrogenase, and consequent reduced oxidative stress.15, 25, 26, 27 Reduced inflammation consequent to hypoxic injury has been demonstrated with administration of purslane extracts.28 Other proposed mechanisms include increased glycolysis and adenosine triphosphate levels and promotion of endogenous erythropoietin.29, 30 Experimental studies report levels of noradrenaline and dopamine in the leaves, stems, and seeds of less than 1%, but no anticholinesterase activity for either ethanol or water extracts.26, 31

Animal data

Limited experiments conducted in mice have demonstrated neuroprotective effects against induced hypoxic injury by ethanol extracts and betacyanins. Cognition improved and anxiety was reduced in behavioral tests, and histology and biochemical measurements showed neuroprotective properties.28, 29, 32, 33

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of purslane for neuroprotective effects or other CNS conditions.


A small clinical trial (N = 30) evaluated the effect of purslane seeds in type 2 diabetes. At 8 weeks, improvements in serum insulin and triglycerides were noted, as well as improvements in liver function tests.34 The efficacy of purslane extract in achieving glucose control in adults with type 2 diabetes was evaluated in a 12-week, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial (n=63). Purslane extract was dosed at 180 mg/day, which corresponded to 750 mg dried purslane or 15 g fresh herb per day. This dose met the criteria as ‘food’ and was in line with the recommended dosage of 10 to 30 g/day described in a Chinese herbal medicine text. No significant improvement was seen in glucose control overall. However, a statistically significant improvement in HbA1c was observed in ‘responders’ (HbA1c less at end of study) who received purslane. Responders who were treated with biguanides before study enrollment demonstrated a significantly greater change in HbA1c when treated with purslane compared to placebo. Purslane was well tolerated with constipation listed as the only adverse event probably related to treatment.35

As a component of medical nutrition therapy for patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association Standards of Care (2014) recommend an increase in foods containing alpha-linolenic acid based on beneficial effects observed on lipoprotein profiles, heart disease prevention, and overall positive health in patients with diabetes (moderate-quality evidence).36


A triple-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted in 74 obese Iranian adolescents with dyslipidemia to determine the effects of purslane seeds (500 mg twice daily × 1 month) on lipid parameters. Purslane was standardized to total phenolics equivalent to approximately 1.8 mg gallic acid. After 1 month, significant improvements from baseline observed with purslane that were also significantly different than placebo were seen in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (−11 mg/dL, P<0.001) and triglycerides (−16 mg/dL, P=0.006). No adverse effects were reported.5

Oral lichen planus

Oral purslane performed better than placebo in treating oral lichen planus when administered daily at 235 mg of purslane extract.37

Other animal or laboratory experiments

In vitro studies demonstrated hepatoprotective effects against cisplatin-induced injury38 activity against human hepatoma and cervical cancer cell lines17 and increased proliferation of thymocytes and splenic lymphocytes.25 Purslane has been reported to possess antifungal, vermicidal, and antiviral effects.18, 19, 39 Experiments in mice showed increased wound-healing rates with topical applications of crude fresh plant extracts3 and reduced severity of induced-gastric ulcers with ethanol and aqueous leaf extracts.40 Studies in chickens fed purslane have shown improved feed efficiency with reduced body weight and increased egg production. There was no change in the cholesterol content of the eggs, but there was an increase in omega-3 fatty acid content.41 Circulating levels of melatonin have been increased in chickens and rats fed purslane.11


100 g of fresh purslane leaves yields approximately 300 to 400 mg of alpha linolenic acid.11

Traditional Chinese Medicine texts have been reported to use 9 to 15 g to treat fever, dysentery, diarrhea, carbuncle, eczema, and hematochezia; doses up to 30 g/day have also been noted.4, 35

Limited clinical studies are available to provide dosage guidelines; however, the following dosages have been used:

Bronchodilation: one clinical study used 0.25 mL/kg body weight of a 5% aqueous extract.24

Type 2 diabetes: 5 g of powdered seeds taken twice daily over 8 weeks.34 When 180 mg/day of purslane extract (Portusana EFLA 308), equivalent to 750 mg/day dried herb or 15 g/day fresh herb, given for 12 weeks was showed potential benefit in diabetic adults treated with biguanides.35

Hyperlipidemia (adolescents): Purslane seeds 500 mg twice daily for 1 month improved LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in obese adolescents.5

Oral lichen planus: 235 mg/day of purslane ethanol extract.37

Abnormal uterine bleeding: Powdered seeds at a dose of 5 g every 4 hours for 3 days.23

Pregnancy / Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. Effects on uterine contractions are contradictory and poorly evaluated; judicious use is warranted.23, 34


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Clinical studies are limited; however, no clinically important adverse events have been reported in these trials.23, 24, 34, 37 Older references suggest increases in kidney filtration rates and increased urine production, but these have not been further evaluated.34


Studies are lacking; however, a toxicology study of Portulaca grandiflora Hook, a related species, found no evidence of toxicity on histology, hematology, or biochemistry.42

Index Terms

  • Portulaca neglecta Mack. & Bush
  • Portulaca retusa Engelm
  • Little hogweed

1. Portulaca L. USDA, NRCS. 2007. The PLANTS database (http://plants.usda.gov, 13 December 2011). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401–4901 USA.2. Chevallier A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. New York, NY: DK Publishing; 1996:253.3. Rashed AN, Afifi FU, Disi AM. Simple evaluation of the wound healing activity of a crude extract of Portulaca oleracea L. (growing in Jordan) in Mus musculus JVI-1. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003;88(2-3):131-136.129631324. Zhou YX, Xin HL, Rahman K, Wang SJ, Peng C, Zhang H. Portulaca oleracea L.: a review of phytochemistry and pharmacological effects. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:925631.256921485. Sabzghabaee AM, Kelishadi R, Jelokhanian H, Asgary S, Ghannadi A, Badri S. Clinical effects of Portulaca oleracea seeds on dyslipidemia in obese adolescents: a triple-blinded randomized controlled trial. Med Arh. 2014;68(3):195-199.251953526. D’Amelio, F. Botanicals: A Phytocosmetic Desk Reference. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1999:245-246.7. Ezekwe MO, Omara-Alwala TR, Membrahtu T. Nutritive characterization of purslane accessions as influenced by planting date. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1999;54(3):183-191.107164008. Guil-Guerrero J, Rodríguez-Garcia I. Lipids classes, fatty acids, and carotenes of the leaves of six edible wild plants. Z Lebensm Unters Forsch A. 1999;209(5):313-316.9. Liu L, Howe P, Zhou YF, Xu ZQ, Hocart C, Zhan R. Fatty acids and beta-carotene in Australian purslane (Portulaca oleracea) varieties. J Chromatogr A. 2000;893(1):207-213.1104360210. Teixeira MC, Carvalho IS, Brodelius M. Omega-3 fatty acid desaturase genes isolated from purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.): expression in different tissues and response to cold and wound stress. J Agric Food Chem. 2010;58(3):1870-1877.2007008511. Simopoulos AP, Tan DX, Manchester LC, Reiter RJ. Purslane: a plant source of omega-3 fatty acids and melatonin. J Pineal Res. 2005;39(3):331-332.1615011612. Palaniswamy U, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid concentration in Portulaca oleracea is altered by nitrogen source in hydroponic solution. J Am Soc Hortic Sci. 2000;125:190-194.13. Gandía-Herrero F, Jiménez-Atiénzar M, Cabanes J, Escribano J, García-Carmona F. Fluorescence detection of tyrosinase activity on dopamine-betaxanthin purified from Portulaca oleracea (common purslane) flowers. J Agric Food Chem. 2009;57(6):2523-2528.1922797614. Wang CQ, Yang GQ. Betacyanins from Portulaca oleracea L. ameliorate cognition deficits and attenuate oxidative damage induced by D-galactose in the brains of senescent mice. Phytomedicine. 2010;17(7):527-532.1987912015. Yang Z, Liu C, Xiang L, Zheng Y. Phenolic alkaloids as a new class of antioxidants in Portulaca oleracea. Phytother Res. 2009;23(7):1032-1035.1914011716. Xiang L, Xing D, Wang W, Wang R, Ding Y, Du L. Alkaloids from Portulaca oleracea L. Phytochemistry. 2005;66(21):2595-2601.1620301917. Chen T, Wang J, Li Y, Shen J, Zhao T, Zhang H. Sulfated modification and cytotoxicity of Portulaca oleracea L. polysaccharides. Glycoconj J. 2010;27(6):635-642.2082091118. Dong CX, Hayashi K, Lee JB, Hayashi T. Characterization of structures and antiviral effects of polysaccharides from Portulaca oleracea L. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2010;58(4):507-510.2041063319. Awad N. Lipid content and antimicrobial activity of phenolic constituents of cultivated Portulaca oleracea L. Bull Fac Pharm. 1994;32:137-142.20. Mirajkar P, et al. Studies on leaf protein of Portulaca species and other leafy vegetables. Curr Trends Life Sci. 1984;11(Prog. Leaf Protein res.):95-98.21. Gao Z, et al. Determination of low molecular carboxylic acids in Portulaca oleracea L. by ion exclusion chromatography. Sepu. 1996;14:50-52.22. Liu P, et al. GC-MS analysis of volatile oil of Portulaca oleracea. L. Ziran Kexueban 1994;14:72-74.23. Shobeiri SF, Sharei S, Heidari A, Kianbakht S. Portulaca oleracea L. in the treatment of patients with abnormal uterine bleeding: a pilot clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009;23(10):1411-1414.1927470324. Malek F, Boskabady MH, Borushaki MT, Tohidi M. Bronchodilatory effect of Portulaca oleracea in airways of asthmatic patients. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;93(1):57-62.1518290525. YouGuo C, ZongJi S, XiaoPing C. Evaluation of free radicals scavenging and immunity-modulatory activities of Purslane polysaccharides. Int J Biol Macromol. 2009;45(5):448-452.1964312826. Boğa M, Hacíbekiroğlu I, Kolak U. Antioxidant and anticholinesterase activities of eleven edible plants. Pharm Biol. 2011;49(3):290-295.2128453827. Arruda SF, Siqueira EM, Souza EM. Malanga (Xanthosoma sagittifolium ) and purslane (Portulaca oleracea) leaves reduce oxidative stress in vitamin A-deficient rats. Ann Nutr Metab. 2004;48(4):288-295.1545240128. Wang W, Gu L, Dong L, Wang X, Ling C, Li M. Protective effect of Portulaca oleracea extracts on hypoxic nerve tissue and its mechanism. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16(suppl 1):227-233.1739210929. Wanyin W, Liwei D, Lin J, Hailiang X, Changquan L, Min L. Ethanol extract of Portulaca oleracea L. protects against hypoxia-induced neuro damage through modulating endogenous erythropoietin expression. J Nutr Biochem. 2011 May 2. .2154320230. Chen CJ, Wang WY, Wang XL, et al. Anti-hypoxic activity of the ethanol extract from Portulaca oleracea in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009;124(2):246-250.1939797831. Chen J, Shi YP, Liu JY. Determination of noradrenaline and dopamine in Chinese herbal extracts from Portulaca oleracea L. by high-performance liquid chromatography. J Chromatogr A. 2003;1003(1-2):127-132.1289930232. Wang CQ, Yang GQ. Betacyanins from Portulaca oleracea L. ameliorate cognition deficits and attenuate oxidative damage induced by D-galactose in the brains of senescent mice. Phytomedicine. 2010;17(7):527-532.1987912033. Hongxing Z, Nancai Y, Guofu H, et al. Neuroprotective effects of purslane herb aquenous extracts against D-galactose induced neurotoxicity. Chem Biol Interact. 2007;170(3):145-152.1776466834. El-Sayed MI. Effects of Portulaca oleracea L. seeds in treatment of type-2 diabetes mellitus patients as adjunctive and alternative therapy. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;137(1):643-651.2171877535. Wainstein J, Landau Z, Dayan YB, Jakubowica D, Grothe T, Perrinjaquet-Moccetti T, Boaz M. Purslane extract and glucose homeostasis in adults with type 2 diabetes: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of efficacy and safety. J Med Food. 2016;19(2):133-140.2685484436. American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes–2014. Diabetes Care. 2014;37(suppl 1):S14-S80.2435720937. Agha-Hosseini F, Borhan-Mojabi K, Monsef-Esfahani HR, Mirzaii-Dizgah I, Etemad-Moghadam S, Karagah A. Efficacy of purslane in the treatment of oral lichen planus. Phytother Res. 2010;24(2):240-244.1958547238. Sudhakar D, Krishna Kishore R, Parthasarathy PR. Portulaca oleracea L. extract ameliorates the cisplatin-induced toxicity in chick embryonic liver. Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2010;47(3):185-189.2065329139. Oh K, Chang IM, Hwang KJ, Mar W. Detection of antifungal activity in Portulaca oleracea by a single-cell bioassay system. Phytother Res. 2000;14(5):329-332.1092539640. Karimi G, Hosseinzadeh H, Ettehad N. Evaluation of the gastric antiulcerogenic effects of Portulaca oleracea L. extracts in mice. Phytother Res. 2004;18(6):484-487.1528707541. Aydin R, Dogan I. Fatty acid profile and cholesterol content of egg yolk from chickens fed diets supplemented with purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.). J Sci Food Agric. 2010;90(10):1759-1763.2056443342. Chavalittumrong P, Chivapat S, Attawish A, et al. Chronic toxicity study of Portulaca grandiflora Hook. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;90(2-3):375-380.


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Purslane Weed (Portulaca oleracea): A Prospective Plant Source of Nutrition, Omega-3 Fatty Acid, and Antioxidant Attributes


Purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.) is an important plant naturally found as a weed in field crops and lawns. Purslane is widely distributed around the globe and is popular as a potherb in many areas of Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean region. This plant possesses mucilaginous substances which are of medicinal importance. It is a rich source of potassium (494 mg/100 g) followed by magnesium (68 mg/100 g) and calcium (65 mg/100 g) and possesses the potential to be used as vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acid. It is very good source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and gamma-linolenic acid (LNA, 18 : 3 w3) (4 mg/g fresh weight) of any green leafy vegetable. It contained the highest amount (22.2 mg and 130 mg per 100 g of fresh and dry weight, resp.) of alpha-tocopherol and ascorbic acid (26.6 mg and 506 mg per 100 g of fresh and dry weight, resp.). The oxalate content of purslane leaves was reported as 671–869 mg/100 g fresh weight. The antioxidant content and nutritional value of purslane are important for human consumption. It revealed tremendous nutritional potential and has indicated the potential use of this herb for the future.

1. Introduction

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.) deserves special attention from agriculturalists as well as nutritionists. Purslane is a common weed in turfgrass areas as well as in field crops . Many varieties of purslane under many names grow in a wide range of climates and regions. Purslane has wide acceptability as a potherb in Central Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean region. It is an important component of green salad and its soft stem and leaves are used raw, alone, or with other greens. Purslane is also used for cooking or used as a pickle. Its medicinal value is evident from its use for treatment of burns, headache, and diseases related to the intestine, liver, stomach, cough, shortness of breath, and arthritis. Its use as a purgative, cardiac tonic, emollient, muscle relaxant, and anti-inflammatory and diuretic treatment makes it important in herbal medicine. Purslane has also been used in the treatment of osteoporosis and psoriasis.

Recent research demonstrates that purslane has better nutritional quality than the major cultivated vegetables, with higher beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid . Additionally, purslane has been described as a power food because of its high nutritive and antioxidant properties . Different varieties, harvesting times, and environmental conditions can contribute to purslane’s nutritional composition and benefits .

Purslane is popular as a traditional medicine in China for the treatment of hypotension and diabetes. Scientifically, it is not proven to have antidiabetic effects, but still people use it for this purpose. An experiment has been carried out for the extraction of crude polysaccharide(s) from purslane to investigate the hypoglycemic effects of these constituents with animal tests for the use of this plant in the treatment of diabetes .

Purslane is a very good source of alpha-linolenic acid. Alpha-linolenic is an omega-3 fatty acid which plays an important role in human growth and development and in preventing diseases. Purslane has been shown to contain five times higher omega-3 fatty acids than spinach. Omega-3 fatty acids belong to a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids essential for human growth, development, prevention of numerous cardiovascular diseases, and maintenance of a healthy immune system . Our bodies do not synthesise omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore omega-3 fatty acids must be consumed from a dietary source. Omega-3 fatty acids contain 18 to 24 carbon atoms and have three or more double bonds within its fatty acid chain . Fish is the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids. Health authorities highly recommend that we consume fish regularly to meet our bodies’ requirements of omega-3 fatty acids, as other sources are limited and do not supply nearly as much omega-3 fatty acids . Purslane has recently been identified as the richest vegetable source of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid . The lack of dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids has resulted in a growing level of interest to introduce purslane as a new cultivated vegetable . Purslane flourishes in numerous biogeographical locations worldwide and is highly adaptable to many adverse conditions such as drought, saline, and nutrient deficient conditions .

Distribution. It is reported that purslane was a common vegetable of the Roman Empire. Origin of purslane is not certain, but existence of this plant is reported about 4,000 years ago. The succulent stems and fleshy leaves of purslane reflect that it may have originated and adapted to desert climates of the Middle East and India. It can be found in Europe, Africa, North America, Australia, and Asia .

Botanical Classification. Portulaca oleracea is s cosmopolitan species and the genus Portulaca belongs to the family Portulacaceae, a small family with 21 genera and 580 species, and is cosmopolitan in distribution, occurring especially in America with some species found in Arabia . Purslane plants are succulent, annual herbaceous, and erect or decumbent up to 30 cm high. Purslane is botanically known as Portulaca oleracea and is also called portulaca.

Habitat. It grows well in orchards, vineyards, crop fields, landscaped areas, gardens, roadsides, and other disturbed sites.

Stem. Stems are cylindrical, up to 30 cm long, 2-3 mm in diameter, green or red, swollen at the nodes, smooth, glabrous apart from the leaf axils, and diffusely branched, and the internodes are 1.5–3.5 cm in length.

Leaf. Purslane leaves are alternate or subopposite, flat, fleshy, having variable shapes, obovate, 1–5 cm long, 0.5–2 cm across, obtuse or slightly notched at the apex, tapering at base, sessile or indistinctly petiolate, glabrous, smooth, and waxy on the upper surface, with entire margin, small stipules, and cluster of hairs up to 1 mm long. Leaves are egg to spatula shaped, succulent, and stalkless or have very short stalks, about 5–30 mm long, and sometimes their edges are red-tinged. Leaves are green or green with red margin.

Seedling. Cotyledons (seed leaves) are egg shaped to oblong, hairless, succulent, about 2–5 mm long, and sometimes tinged red.

Flower. Flowering initiates during May to September. Flowers originate as single or clusters of two to five at the tips of stems. The flowers are minute or small having orange yellow, purple, or white pink color with five petals and typically open only on hot and sunny days from mid-morning to early afternoon.

Fruit. Fruit consists of almost round to egg-shaped capsules, usually about 4–8 mm long that open around the middle to release the seeds. Seeds are tiny, less than 1 mm in diameter, circular to egg shaped, flattened, and brown to black with a white point of attachment. Numerous seeds are produced.

2. Health Benefits of Purslane

2.1. Nutrition

It is rich in vitamin A which is a natural antioxidant value. It can play role in vision healthy mucus membranes and to protect from lung and oral cavity cancer. Purslane contains the highest content of vitamin A among green leafy vegetables. It also contains vitamin C and B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and pyridoxine. It provides highest dietary minerals such as potassium (494 mg/100 g) followed by magnesium (68 mg/100 g), calcium (65 mg/100 g), phosphorus (44 mg/100 g), and iron (1.99 mg/100 g) (Table 1).

Principle Nutrient value Percentage of RDA
Energy 16 Kcal 1.5%
Carbohydrates 3.4 g 3%
Protein 1.30 g 2%
Total Fat 0.1 g 0.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
 Folates 12 μg 3%
 Niacin 0.480 mg 3%
 Pantothenic acid 0.036 mg 1%
 Pyridoxine 0.073 mg 5.5%
 Riboflavin 0.112 mg 8.5%
 Thiamin 0.047 mg 4%
 Vitamin A 1320 IU 44%
 Vitamin C 21 mg 35%
 Sodium 45 mg 3%
 Potassium 494 mg 10.5%
 Calcium 65 mg 6.5%
 Copper 0.113 mg 12.5%
 Iron 1.99 mg 25%
 Magnesium 68 mg 17%
 Manganese 0.303 mg 13%
 Phosphorus 44 mg 6%
 Selenium 0.9 μg 2%
 Zinc 0.17 mg 1.5%
Source: USDA National Nutrient data.

Table 1 Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) (Nutritive value per 100 g).

The range of Ca, Mg, K, Fe, and Zn from the young stage to mature plants was from 1612 ± 27 to 1945 ± 30 mmol kg−1 DW, 2127 ± 23 to 2443 ± 27 mmol kg−1 DW, 1257 ± 10 to 1526 ± 31 mmol kg−1 DW, 218 ± 8 to 262 ± 3 mmol kg−1 DW, and 128 ± 2 to 160 ± 1 mmol kg−1 DW, respectively. On the other hand, the Na and Cl concentrations in leaves were higher at the young stage and lower at the mature stage. The Na and Cl concentrations ranged from 356 ± 4 to 278 ± 8 mmol kg−1 DW and from 82 ± 2 to 53 ± 2 mmol kg−1 DW, respectively .

2.2. Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Purslane is one of the richest green plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. It has lower the cholesterol and triglyceride levels, raise the beneficial high density lipoprotein. Moreover, the ability of omega-3 fatty acids to decrease the thickness of the blood may be advantageous in the treatment of vascular diseases . Unlike fish oils with their high cholesterol and calorie content, purslane also provides an excellent source of the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids without the cholesterol of fish oils, since it contains no cholesterol. There are 3 varieties of purslane, namely, the green, golden, and a large-leaved golden variety . Important sources of omega-3 fatty acids are summarized in Table 2. It has a low incidence of cancer and heart disease, possibly due in part to purslane’s naturally occurring omega-3 fatty acids .

Table 2 Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids (g/100 g).

Purslane is best used for human consumption as a green vegetable rich in minerals and omega-3 fatty acids . Omega-3 fatty acid is a precursor of a specific group of hormones. It may offer protection against cardiovascular disease, cancers, and a number of chronic diseases and conditions throughout the human life. The antioxidant enzymes such as GPx, GR, SOD, and GST take part in maintaining glutathione homeostasis in tissues. Also, increased levels of GPx, GR, GST, CAT, and SOD were found to correlate with elevated glutathione level and depressed MDA and NO in rats, thus showing the antioxidant activity of purslane.

Purslane leaves contain higher contents of alpha-linolenic acid (18 : 3 w3), alpha-tocopherol, ascorbic acid and glutathione than the leaves of spinach. It grows in growth chambers containing seven times higher contents of alpha-tocopherol than that found in spinach. One hundred grams of fresh purslane leaves (one serving) contains about 300–400 mg of 18 : 3 w3; 12.2 mg of alpha-tocopherol, 26.6 mg of ascorbic acid, 1.9 mg of beta-carotene, and 14.8 mg of glutathione .

Purslane has the highest level of alpha-linolenic which is an omega 3 fatty acid essential for human nutrition compared to any leafy green vegetable. A 100 g sample of purslane contains 300–400 mg of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It also has 0.01 mg per gram of eicopentanoic acid (EPA), which is not present at all in flax oil. This would provide 1 mg of EPA for a 100 g portion of purslane or 10 mg for a kg (2.2 pounds), or 1 g for 100 kg (220 pounds) of sample.

Selected food sources of omega-3 fatty acids are illustrated in Table 2. Rapeseed oil, walnut oil, butternuts, and wheat germ oil are excellent sources (6.8–11.1 g/100 g fresh weight) of omega-3 fatty acids. Good sources (0.6–3.2 g/100 g fresh weight) of these fats include green soybean, soybean kernels, beechnut, and oat germ. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries, spinach, garden pea, corn, and common dry bean are additional sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These foods contain a smaller (0.1–0.3 g/100 g fresh weight) level of omega-3 fatty acids.

Purslane leaves contained higher amounts of alpha-linolenic (18 : 3 w3) than stem fractions, whereas 20 : 5w3 was higher in stem fractions (Table 3).

Table 3 Composition of selected fatty acids in purslane (Portulaca oleracea) (% of total FA)a.

Leaves of purslane grown both in the controlled growth chamber and in the wild contained higher amount of alpha-linolenic fatty acid (18 : 3 w3) than that of spinach leaves. The highest amount (3.41 mg/g) of alpha-linolenic acid was recorded in growth chamber grown purslane, which was seven times higher than that of spinach leaves (0.48 mg/g) (Table 4).

Table 4 Fatty acid profiles in total lipid extracts from leaves of purslane and spinach.

2.3. Lipid Content and Fatty Acid Composition

Table 5 Fatty acid composition of purslane fractions.

2.4. Antioxidants

Higher amounts of alpha-tocopherol, ascorbic acid, and beta-carotene were observed in the leaves of purslane grown both in the growth chamber and in the wild, compared to the composition of spinach leaves (Table 6). Growth chamber grown purslane contained the highest amount (22.2 mg and 130 mg per 100 g of fresh and dry weight, resp.) of alpha-tocopherol and ascorbic acid (26.6 mg and 506 mg per 100 g of fresh and dry weight, resp.), whereas beta-carotene was slightly higher in spinach.

Table 6 Antioxidant content of purslane and spinach leaves.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and beta-carotene have been reported to possess antioxidant activity, because of their ability to neutralize free radicals, and have the potential to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer . Leaves had the highest content of beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, and DPPH, followed by flowers and stems (Table 7). Thai wild purslane contained almost 10 times higher beta-carotene and ascorbic acid content than other varieties. The beta-carotene content in the leaf was two times higher than in the stems and slightly higher than in the flowers. This finding is in agreement with the data on Australian purslane, where the beta-carotene content in the leaf was higher than in the stem . Purslane is amongst the group of plants with high oxalate contents. Melatonin is a ubiquitous and versatile molecule that exhibits most of the desirable characteristics of a good antioxidant . The oxalate content of purslane leaves was reported as 671–869 mg/100 g fresh weight .

Table 7 Ascorbic acid and beta-carotene content and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical-scavenging activity of different parts of Thai purslane.

3. Conclusion

As a significant source of omega-3 oils, P. oleracea could yield considerable health benefits to vegetarian and other diets where the consumption of fish oils is excluded. Scientific analysis of its chemical components has shown that this common weed has uncommon nutritional value, making it one of the potentially important foods for the future. Presence of high content of antioxidants (vitamins A and C, alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, and glutathione) and omega-3 fatty acids and its wound healing and antimicrobial effects as well as its traditional use in the topical treatment of inflammatory conditions suggest that purslane is a highly likely candidate as a useful cosmetic ingredient.

Conflict of Interests

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.

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