Purslane or Portulaca oleracea (also know as: pigweed,  verdolaga, red root, little hogweed,common purslane, pursley)was firstly cultivated in India and Persia, but nowadays it`s all over the place.

It has appealing leaves and sometimes yellow flowers, you have probably seen it grow somewhere on its own, but surely you have not known its health benefits and nutritional value.

You can also search it under fatweed, verdolagas, pussley, duckweed, wild portulaca and parsley and it`s not yet famous in North America, but it can grow everywhere and has a two-month growing season.

Even though many are mainly focusing on removing it from their yards, why not implementing it in your food. Once you try it, you won`t give up on it. It has a lemony taste and it`s crunchy, its leaves are good for sandwiches and you can even use it as a substitute for spinach.

It contains pectin, used for thickening stews and soups and this ingredient is also famous for lowering cholesterol, it creates a low-fat pesto without adding too much oil.This weed is slowly but safely taking its place in the kitchen, the writer of the New York Times, Marlena Spieler elaborated about the ways in which people use purslane:

In Mexico and California, verdolaga is eaten with pork and tomatillos; at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, Steve Sando, owner of Rancho Gordo New World Specialty Food in Napa, tucks a few whole stems into his big fat carnitas and tomatillo tamal. Farmers in Provence sell pourpier in wild mesclun.

In Greece, little old ladies forage from field to field hunting glistrida, and in Turkey semizotu is mixed with garlicky yogurt and chopped into fetching salads with ripe tomatoes. In Galilee I was told that”regelah” was delicious in salads — regelah being Hebrew for foot, since purslane is a plant typically found right at your feet.

However, because of its look, people normally used it in a salad, fresh, stewed or maybe fried a little bit. Its taste is beautiful and you can easily fall in love with this weed, especially when you finish reading this article, find out about its health benefits and nutritional value. This weed definitely goes in the group of vegetables, small in size, but big in nutritional value and health benefits.


Health benefits of Purslane

1. Powerful antioxidant

Rich in vitamin C, B-complex such as pyridoxine, carotenoids, riboflavin, niacin and minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium. It is also full with two different types of betalain- a yellow beta-xanthins and alkaloid pigments (a red beta-cyanis), which are an enormous antioxidants and anti-mutagens. It is also rich in vitamin A, the vitamin crucial for vision which protects you from lung and oral cavity cancer.

2. Purslane contains omega

3 fatty acids, more than any other vegetable and the presence of these acids can reduce the risk of developing autism, ADHD and other anomalies in children. About 100 grams of these leaves contain 350 mg of alpha-linolenic acid.

3. Improves your metabolism

It has also been proven that purslane is low in calories, it has a delicious taste, boosts your metabolism and all in all provides your whole organism with the sufficient nutrients.

4. Stimulates the production of red blood cells

Due to the iron and copper presence, purslane stimulates the production of red blood cells or improves the circulation. In other words, purslane boosts the circulation by providing more oxygen to be delivered to significant parts of the body as well as increases the healing process of cells and organs.

5. Promotes eye health

Due to the beta-carotene and vitamin A presence, purslane is also beneficial for eye health. These minerals can help the body eliminate the free radicals which attack the cells of the eye, prevent cataracts and other similar diseases or age-related diseases.

6. Promotes skin health

Purslane can help you reduce inflammation, prevent premature aging and the appearance of wrinkles, due to the presence of vitamin A. Purslane is also beneficial for healing damaged skin cells, scars and blemishes.

7. Protects and strengthens the bones

Purslane is a powerful and natural source of minerals including manganese, calcium, magnesium and iron, which are crucial minerals in strengthening the bones and it also prevents diseases such as osteoporosis or other age-related diseases.

8. Low in calories

Purslane is not only a healthy and healing “weed”, but it is also a powerful ingredient which should be present in your everyday life. All of you who are trying to maintain a healthy body weight or you are trying to achieve one, purslane is a good way to go. It is healthy, delicious and low in calories.

9. Promotes heart health

Due to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, purslane helps you maintain good heart health as well as lower the bad cholesterol responsible for numerous cardiovascular diseases. Another powerful ingredient found in purslane and beneficial for the heart, is the potassium. It helps the blood vessels relax and reduces the strain on the heart.

10. Prevents certain types of cancer

Due to the beta-cyanins and beta-xanthins, purslane can fight the free radicals from attacking the healthy cells and hence the prevention against cancer. Since it’s a powerful and natural source of vitamin A and C, purslane can help you prevent certain cancers from attacking your body, including lung and oral cancers.

We often throw a lot of money on supplements, but it seems that purslane can be the best fit for you. It`s a health-booster and you can easily implement it in your everyday diet.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Purslane, raw, fresh.

Nutritive value per 100 g.  Source: USDA National Nutrient data base

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 16 Kcal 1.5%
Carbohydrates 3.4 g 3%
Protein 1.30 g 2%
Total Fat 0.1 g 0.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Folates 12 µg 3%
Niacin 0.480 mg 3%
Pantothenic acid 0.036 mg 1%
Pyridoxine 0.073 mg 5.5%
Riboflavin 0.112 mg 8.5%
Thiamin 0.047 mg 4%
Vitamin A 1320 IU 44%
Vitamin C 21 mg 35%
Sodium 45 mg 3%
Potassium 494 mg 10.5%
Calcium 65 mg 6.5%
Copper 0.113 mg 12.5%
Iron 1.99 mg 25%
Magnesium 68 mg 17%
Manganese 0.303 mg 13%
Phosphorus 44 mg 6%
Selenium 0.9 µg 2%
Zinc 0.17 mg 1.5%