Imagine a plant that doesn’t need to be taken care of. A plant that needs very little water, grows on almost any soil and is incredibly nutritious. Imagine a plant that grows super fast and can be harvested many times throughout the year. Well, that plant exists.
After doing some research I’m convinced this plant is a true gift, proof of how much the Earth loves us. Hated by traditional production-based farmers, it’s a rebellious “weed” that even if cut, will grow roots right back into the ground and form a new plant.
*There is so much purslane in the garden but no phone or camera to take pictures (read [here](https://goldvoice.club/steem/@fenngen/killed-my-phone-got-back-my-soul
) to know why I have no phone).* [Source](https://pixabay.com/es/photos/portulaca-oleracea-verdolaga-855543/
Portulaca oleracea, commonly known as purslane, is a succulent that tolerates drought and poor soil. It’s so good at surviving that it has naturalized itself in most of the world.
Purslane is a highly concentrated nutrient bomb. It is filled with nutritional and medicinal properties, boasting more omega 3 fatty-acids than fish (100 grams of fresh leaves contain 350 mg. of this compound) [Source](https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/purslane.html
This plant holds one of the highest amounts of vitamin A among the green leaf vegetables. It’s rich in complex B vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium and manganese. Take a look at these percentages provided by the USDA:
- Vitamin A (from beta-carotene): 26% of the daily value.
- Vitamin C: 35% of the daily value.
- Magnesium: 17% of the daily value.
- Manganese: 15% of the daily value.
- Potassium: 14% of the daily value.
- Iron: 11% of the daily value.
- Calcium: 7% of the reference daily intake.
You can eat it raw, put it in smoothies, steam it or cook it into a soup. All manner of preparations work fine! For me, raw is the way to go.
This plant is considered a super-food, and like many of it’s kind it is super-ignored by the masses. I wonder what it is about super-foods that just drive people away, specially when they are free and abundant in nature.
Almost everyone I present these nutrient dense - gifted from nature - plants to, will try it only once and never again. Maybe they think because it didn’t cost money it lacks value? If they don’t sell it at the supermarket there must be something wrong with it, right?
I understand this behaviour when a plant has a challenging taste but purslane is delicious! Perhaps not as tasty as a tomato but it has a very nice, non-invasive taste. Slightly acid and very crunchy, it works perfect in salads.
#### Here are some ideas for preparing purslane:
- Blend up with cucumber and apple for a nice refreshing smoothie.
- Chop finely and mix with tomato, garlic and green beans.
- Steam cook it along with some pumpkin.
- Use it as ingredient for fajitas or tacos.
- Make pickled purslane!
- Australian aborigines would ground the seeds and use it as some sort of flour.
#### Medicinal uses
Purslane has a long history of usage in traditional folk medicine to treat affections such as sore eyes, dermatitis, inflammation, headache, abdominal pain, dysentery and intestinal worms. The sap is extracted and applied over the skin to reduce inflammation, burns, heal wounds and insect bites. [Source](https://www.herbal-supplement-resource.com/purslane-herb-benefits.html#Traditional_and_Historical_Uses_of_Purslane
“Purslane has been considered valuable in the treatment of urinary and digestive problems. The diuretic effect of the juice makes it useful in the alleviation of bladder ailments-for example, difficulty in passing urine. The plant’s mucilaginous properties also make it a soothing remedy for gastrointestinal problems such as dysentery and diarrhea. In Europe it’s been turned into a cough syrup for sore throats". [Source](https://www.herbalpedia.com/blog/?p=240)
According to Peterson’s Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs “science confirms (purslane’s) antibiotic and antioxidant activity. One of the few plants reported to contain L-dopa and noradrenaline (norepinephrine). This hormone reduces bleeding at the tissue level, suggesting a rational scientific basis for the plant’s use in traditional Chinese medicine to stop postpartum bleeding.”
It is also rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant and immune system booster, says James Duke in “The Green Pharmacy”. He also adds that:
“Foods containing the minerals magnesium and potassium have been shown to have antidepressant effects. Purslane, which is very rich in these minerals, is also high in other constituents with antidepressant value, including calcium, folate (the naturally occurring form of folic acid) and lithium. In fact, purslane contains up to a whopping 16% andidepressant compounds, figured on a dry-weight basis”.
#### Benefits for ecosystems
Not only is this an incredibly nutritious plant, but also an awesome water desalinator. It is also believed to help to lighten up the heavy mineral load on soil, though this has not been extensively researched.
P. oleracea appears to be an excellent candidate for inclusion in saline drainage water reuse systems (Grieve and Suarez, 1997). It is highly tolerant of both chloride- and sulphate-dominated salinities, is a moderate selenium accumulator and a valuable vegetable crop for human consumption (Bianco et al., 1998) [Source](https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/43609
If the apocalypse is to hit us eventually you’ll want to be acquainted with this poorly understood “weed” as it will be for sure one of the few plants hardy enough to resist everything and stay to witness the recovery of Earth.
There is so much to write about purslane so I will be making another post for sure. My intention is to try making pickled purslane, as well as fermenting it so I’ll be posting on that to further the information on this nutritious and tasty plant.