Is This a “Weed” Or An Unrecognized Health-Boosting Plant?

Most of you would probably pull this plant from the garden thinking it is just some kind of a weed. What you do not know is that actually this plant has many health benefits, and it is also popular in some cuisines throughout the world.

Purslane (portulaca oleracea) has fleshy succulent leaves and yellow flowers. Its reputation as being simply a weed comes due to the fact that it grows in different conditions, ranging from fertile garden soil to poor arid areas and rocky driveways.

The hardiness of this resilient plant can be easily demonstrated by the fact that its seeds can stay viable buried in soil for up to 40 years. Purslane originated in Persia and India, but today it grows all around the world. There is evidence proving that it can be used in the treatment of different health conditions.

Researchers have discovered that purslane contains more antioxidants than spinach, and the concentration of omega-3 fatty acids is greater than the amount found in some fish oils. And the fact that it is suitable for vegans and vegetarians is another advantage that goes in favor of this plant.

Antioxidants improve the general health, and boost the immune system. They are considered to be the main aid in cases of heart diseases, atherosclerosis, cancer, memory-loss and age-related vision loss.

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, asthma, heart diseases and depression.

Purslane is rich in vitamin A, which prevents some types of cancer and improves the eyesight. 100g of purslane provide 44% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A.

It is also rich in vitamin C, and vitamins B, including riboflavin, pyridoxine, and niacin, carotenoids, and some trace minerals, such as iron, magnesium and calcium.

Keep in mind that purslane loses its nutritional value immediately after the harvesting. If your garden is too small, or if you think that purslane may take over your entire garden simply grow it indoors as a microgreen.

Take an empty container, or whatever you may prefer, some potting soil, and organic purslane seeds. Sow the seeds and keep the soil moist (be careful not to over-water it), and feel the joy as your micro-purslane grows!

In the Middle East purslane is sold in bundles, and people use it to prepare different dishes. It is often referred as a ‘cooling food’ in hot climates. It is also used in the preparation of some typical Mediterranean dishes. Sauté it with some onions, garlic and tomatoes, or prepare a healthy salad with some olive oil and lemon juice. It is a perfect, health-boosting ingredient for your favorite soups and smoothies. Now it is not just a weed, right?

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