Before we give you a detailed answer to the question contained in this article’s title, let’s first explain what purslane is, because quite a few people have never heard of it. Purslane is a meaty leafed plant which can grow up to 16 inches in height and is also known as verdolaga, pigweed, little hogweed, wild portulaca, red root, pursley and moss rose.
Believe it or not, in the United States, it’s considered a weed but in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Mexico it is a delicacy of a slightly sour, lemony, salty taste. It can be used fresh, in salad, or cooked like other green leafy vegetables (spinach or mangold). Not only that, it’s great for soups and stews.
The Greeks use purslane stems with feta cheese and in combination with vegetables like tomatoes, onions and garlic. They mix all of these ingredients together, add a bit of olive oil, salt and oregano to make a delicious salad. In Pakistan, purslane is cooked in stews together with lentils, while in Turkey, it is a common ingredient in baked pastries. In China, the plant is used for medicinal purposes, i.e. for treating insect and snake bites, bee stings, sores and cuts among other things.
For all of you who are suffering from insomnia, purslane could be the answer you’ve been looking for. The plant contains a large amount of melatonin (a hormone that regulates our sleep). Recent studies have shown that purslane can be even used in treating cancer because it has 10 times more melatonin than other leafy vegetables. Furthermore, purslane is effective in treating jet lag.
Now, for the nutritional value of this plant. Purslane is a power-packed plant and an unsung hero of the superfood world. It contains more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than any other plant. It also contains a myriad of vitamins – A, C, E, B and carotenoids (organic pigments usually found in carrots) – as well as minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium.
Additionally, purslane contains two very potent antioxidants – betacyanin and betaxanthin. Even when cooked, this wonderful plant maintains a lot of its nutritional richness. One cup of cooked purslane contains 90mg of calcium, 561mg of potassium and over 2,000 IUs of Vitamin A which is 40% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
This useful plant is surprisingly easy to grow. Actually, if you have a garden, you might have been pulling it out without even realizing it. You can either grow purslane by harvesting some seeds or by trimming off a few stems from a purslane plant. The most important thing that this plant needs is a lot of light. Soil type is not that important, but, as a rule of thumb, it grows better in drier soil.
What you need to do is simply scatter seeds on the ground, refraining from covering them with soil. Purslane seeds have to be exposed to a lot of sun to germinate. Because this plant is pretty self-sufficient, you don’t need to do anything special to nurture it. Just water it as you would your flower bed.
In skincare, purslane is used to calm irritated, red, blotchy skin. It is also effective in treating razor burns and cuts.
Furthermore, it contains plenty of Vitamin E, which is essential for healthy skin, hair and nails. Adding walnut oil to it will further boost its nutritional value. As we have mentioned earlier, the plant is also a rich source of Vitamin A which is important for protecting and replenishing skin cells and improving your eyesight.
Not only that, Vitamin A is considered the best overall age fighter, because it reduces wrinkles, fades brown spots, smooths skin roughness and is also effective at managing acne and eczema.
Next time you’re looking for a way to spice up your salad, consider purslane. Why should you start eating purslane? It’s incredibly healthy, full of nutritional value, and will do wonders for your skin, hair and nails.