Purslane – Portulaca oleracea


Purslane has to be the one of the least appreciated edible weeds with huge hidden benefits. The greatest benefit being high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids
(known to help prevent heart disease and improve the immune system), a whopping 4mg per gram, compared to .89mg in spinach.
Purslane has been used as a food and medicine for at least 2000 years and is still a food staple all over the Mediterranean.
It is a wonderful healing plant used for high blood pressure, anaemia, rickets, diabetes, blood disorders (its red stem is a clue that purslane is good
for the blood) and fevers. It is a good source of thiamin, niacin, Vitamin B6 and folate, and a very good source of Vitamin A in the form of carotenes,
Vitamin C, riboflavin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. Nutritious indeed!

Purslane tastes slightly sour, is crunchy and also mucilaginous or slippery to eat. This slipperiness is very soothing to our whole digestive system.

When you look at a purslane plant you’ll notice it is a bit like a succulent with fleshy, hairless, rounded, paddle shaped leaves growing on reddish,
branched stems. It has tiny bright yellow flowers only 1 cm in diameter without stalks, hiding singly or in groups at the tip of the branches.
The flowers only open when the sun is shining. The plant is an annual (lasting one year or one season) that spreads over the ground, only in the heat of
summer and autumn and is killed by frost. It grows in dry waste places, gardens, farm gateways and yards and bare ground.
I met a woman who said she hates this ‘weed’ because she pulls it out and it still doesn’t die. This is because of it’s water retaining fleshy leaves and
stems. She gladly gave me some of her throw away plants. The saying “one person’s trash is another person’s gold” was so true in this instance.
The plant will easily self seed once you have it, meaning the small shiny black 1mm long seeds drop and will come up next year without you having to do


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