Probably, although we do not recognize the purslane in the first instance by its name, it is very possible that at some time in our lives we have come across it.
It is a wild plant that grows even between the cracks in the ground. It has been mistakenly dismissed as a weed or weed, but it is edible and one of the vegetables with the greatest number of properties that provide both nutritional and medicinal benefits.
To highlight: Purslane or Portulaca olerocea (which is its scientific name) is also known as the flower of a day, tears of San José and because of the shape of its leaves, cat’s tongue.
Then in the following article we will share some interesting facts about this particular plant, where you will learn about its wonderful properties and health benefits.
What is purslane?
In the work “Cultivation and use of purslane as a nutritious plant”, it is defined as a succulent plant with fleshy leaves and small size (1) .
Note: Its name comes from the Romance language, where they are known as verdilacas , yerba aurato and yerba orate (which is silly grass). It belongs to the Portulacas, which means that it is a family of plants such as Jade Tree and Mother-in-law’s Tongue.
Purslane is edible in its entirety, including its stems, seeds, leaves and flowers.
To highlight: The great geographical dispersion of this plant causes concern, especially due to the paradox of how it was native in the “old world”, and it is proven by the presence of this species in Europe before the year 1492.
The study carried out in the journal Nature called “Pre-Colombian purslane (Portulaca oleracea L) in the new world” leaves the hypothesis of natural dispersal that explains a propagation through birds that ate the seeds (2) .
Note: It is important to mention that purslane is safe for human consumption, even during periods of pregnancy or lactation.
Its flowers are yellow, and it is a very noble plant in growing conditions. The flavor of the leaves is usually defined between salty and acid, for this reason it is widely used as an ingredient in various salads or sauces in Asian countries.
The main properties of purslane in the field of biological molecules are obtained with its direct consumption.
It contains vitamins that are favorable for the structure of the cellular organism and antioxidants. The following reflected values are percentages in daily values:
- Vitamin A 44%
- Vitamin C 35%
- Vitamin B-9 3%
The minerals present have a high level of specificity, especially for the correct functionality of our body. The following reflected values are percentages in daily values
The contribution is 20 grams of calories per 100 grams of purslane. The energy units of this food come from different macromolecules, which are listed below:
For every 100 gr.
Health benefits of purslane
In investigations carried out at the Catholic University of Ecuador, the antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of purslane (4) has been verified , something that has been ignored for many years due to the ignorance of all its properties, being this an accessible and high-content source. of health-promoting agents.
In this sense, purslane is rich in omega 3 and vitamins, as well as being used to treat diseases and intestinal parasites.
It also has a high water content in its composition, which becomes 92.86% of it . Here are some of the most powerful purslane benefits:
Promotes cardiovascular health
The high value that purslane provides in fatty acids and the lack of cholesterol in its components, help the body to improve circulation and proper functioning of the system.
The fatty acids contained in purslane (Omega 3 and 6) help reduce cholesterol accumulation in the body.
In fact, in a study carried out to identify this type of component, a 1:9 ratio was established in omegas (5) . This confirms your ownership.
Lowers blood sugar levels
There are studies carried out that show how the consumption of purslane seeds improves the activity of insulin in the pancreas.
In the work entitled “Biomolecular characterization of putative antidiabetic herbal extracts” , the studies showed the approval of purslane as a medicinal plant with glucose absorption capacity, which is why its levels in the blood are reduced (6) .
Stimulates intestinal transit
Purslane, in addition to being diuretic and helping to detoxify the body, contains mucilage, which is a soluble fiber.
To highlight: These types of fibers are those capable of increasing the volume of fecal matter, for this reason the transit of the intestine is stimulated.
It helps to eliminate the retentin of liquids
The FAO (7) defines the use properties of purslane as a medicinal plant considered antiscorbutic, diuretic, rich in mineral salts and anti-inflammatory due to its high level of flavonoids.
Fights bacteria, fungi and parasites
Due to its inhibitory capacity and the spectrum of action that this plant has, there are infusion teas or medicinal extracts used for the elimination of intestinal parasites and pertinent bactericide.
Note: Purslane leaf extracts inhibit E. coli, S. aereus and in the studies by Ercisli, et al (2008) their antimicrobial activity against Pseudomonas, Vibrio and Yersinia is evidenced (8) .
Decreases febrile states
Due to the antimicrobial properties that the plant confers and that we have already mentioned previously, it is used in infusion or direct consumption as a vegetable for febrifuge treatments.
In the empirical knowledge of the use of purslane it is applied for headaches, toothaches and arthritis in infusion or tincture with alcohol.
The studies that exist on the properties of the plant demonstrate its analgesic capacities.
Decreases cell aging
Purslane has neuroprotective effects that increase the level of peroxide dismutase and increase telomerase activity (9) , which slows down the shortening of telomeres (which are responsible for protecting the body’s genetic information).
Important: It is a rich source of antioxidants and this reinforces the activity of our cells.
Purslane in its nutritional value has a high percentage of iron, a micronutrient that is key to the production of hemoglobin in our body.
To highlight: The high level of vitamins and minerals that this superfood contributes to the diet positions it as one of the best sources as a supplement to improve anemic conditions.
Balances the menstrual cycle
When used for home medicine, it is claimed that purslane helps regulate menstrual periods in women who have complications or delays in their bleeding.
Note: In addition to intervening in the reduction of symptoms that the cycle brings with it (anti-inflammatory and analgesic).
Strengthens hair and skin
Purslane is rich in antioxidants and nutrients that help care, improve pigmentation or solve inflammatory or irritating complications , both in the extension of the body and in the scalp area. Purslane is even used to treat dermatitis.
How to consume purslane?
Purslane is a vegetable with a favorable texture for consumer acceptance. It can be introduced into the diet as fresh, cooked, fermented and infused purslane. Here are different ways to do it:
For the elaboration of purslane juice, the intervention of some other fruit of preference is recommended. This helps in the flavor and the increase and fixation of its nutritional properties.
- 1 cup of fresh purslane
- 1 glass of water
- sweetener to taste
- Preferred fruit.
- Initially, purslane should be soaked in vinegar (acetic acid) or lemon (citric acid) for approximately five minutes.
- Drain and add to the blender together with the glass of water and the fruit of your choice (we recommend pineapple, lemon, cucumber, orange, watermelon) .
- Sweetener is added to taste and served.
The infusion is used mainly for medicinal properties and can be made with fresh or dried purslane. It is recommended not to boil the infusion to avoid that the oxalic acid that the plant can absorb from the soil affects the health of the consumer.
Important: Excess consumption should be avoided when kidney stones occur due to the calcium it provides to the body.
- 3 dried purslane leaves
- Juice of half a lemon
- Hot water
- sweetener to taste
- Add the purslane leaves (fresh or dried) and the juice of half a lemon to the hot water.
- Five minutes of rest is expected for the release of volatile substances.
- Sweeten to taste and serve.
As we previously mentioned, the addition of purslane to various salads, apart from its nutritional values, is due to the salty-acidic effect it provides.
It is consumed raw, since it has a tender stem and leaves, or it can be sautéed if the texture of the mucilage it gives off is considered uncomfortable for the consumer.
It is previously washed to remove excess soil since they usually grow in corners or corners. It is recommended to soak in vinegar or lemon for five minutes as in the preparation of the juice.
Tip: It can be added to salads with spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, onion, chili, etc.
- 5 cups of fresh purslane
- 3 cups of parsley leaves
- 1 chopped tomato
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Purslane leaves are soaked for five minutes with vinegar (acetic acid) or lemon (citric acid).
- All the ingredients are cut to taste and the previously drained purslane is added, either raw or sautéed.
- Season with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
- Purslane is a wild plant that grows even between cracks in the ground. It has been mistakenly dismissed as a weed or weed, but it is edible and one of the vegetables with the greatest number of properties that provide both nutritional and medicinal benefits.
- It has a high nutritional level. It has vitamins such as Vitamin A, C and B9; minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and potassium. And it also has all the macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
- As benefits, purslane regulates cholesterol, fights bacteria, fungi and parasites; it also combats anemia, helps eliminate fluid retention, favors cardiovascular health, among others.
- It can be consumed in juice, infusions and salads. In juice, we recommend combining it with a fruit of your choice. For the infusion you can consume dried or fresh purslane, it is used mainly for medicinal properties. In salads, it can be combined with spinach, cucumber, onion, etc.