A number of people consider it as a common weed, and even grow it in their gardens, but are not aware of the health benefits that purslane, also known as Portulaca oleracea, can offer to them. It is an aesthetically attractive weed with fleshy leaves and often yellow flowers, but its health benefits are even more desirable.
It was first cultivated in India and Persia, and then it spread to the rest of the world. Some cultures grow it specifically for consumption, while some pluck it out and throw it away with leaf clippings and other weeds.
Often called pig weed, this is an all- natural crop and its seeds are so powerful they can stay viable in land for up to 40 years. It grows in a well-tended garden and in arid climates, often equally as well. This resilient plant poses similar benefits for our immune systems and overall health.
Purslane also has one of the highest levels of vitamin A among all leafy green vegetables (1320 IU/100 g, provides 44% of RDA). High Vitamin A foods can help protect us from many types of cancers and helps to boost eye health. This weed has more beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids than many fish oils!
Additionally, it is abundant in two different types of betalain alkaloid pigments – a reddish beta-cyanis and a yellow beta-xanthins. Both of these pigments are equally potent antioxidants and antimutagens. Purslane also contains large amounts of vitamin C, and B-complex, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and niacin, as well as carotenoids, and trace minerals like iron, magnesium, and calcium.
Therefore, purslane packs a powerful nutritional punch and offers numerous nutritional benefits, so it should be elevated from weed status to health-boosting plant, which should be consumed regularly.