Herb - Purslane | Portulaca Oleracea | Health Benefits of Purslane Uses
Portulaca oleracea Portulacaceae
A small hairless, succulent with a,fleshy stem and dark green, oval leaves, purslalle is l/ative to Asiabu t also grows in temperate regions 4 Africa and America. Its young shoots call be eaten raw in salads, steamed as a vegetable or cooked in soups. It was once believed that purslane spread around a bed could protect the sleeperfrom evil spirits.
Purslane is rich in omega-3 fatty acids: 100g of fresh leaves contains 300-400mg fatty acids. The plant also contains mucilage (soothing to mucous membranes), and the antioxidant vitamins C, E and betacarotene (the plant form of vitamin A) as well as glutathione, another antioxidant. Purslane is also rich in the minerals potassium and calcium.
Purslane is notable for its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids - substances more commonly found in fish oils, Omega-3s strengthen the immune and cardiovascular systems. Purslane is anti-inflammatory, improves blood circulation and prevents clotting in the arteries. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of inflammation and autoimmune disease, including coronary heart disease, were outlined in a paper published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2002. The herb is prescribed for internal use to prevent cardiovascular problems.
The plant's high concentrations of antioxidants means that it protects against cancer-causing and degenerative free radical damagethus also slowing some of the effects of ageing. In addition, it may help to regulate blood cholesterol levels.
Purslane relaxes smooth muscle and has been shown to lower blood pressure: Scottish research publishedin 1993 found that the muscle relaxant properties were due to its high concentration of potassium.The mucilage in purslane soothes gastrointestinal infections and inflammation and urinary infections. Researchers in the United Arab Emirates in 2000 found that an extract of the dried leaves and stems was both anti-inflammatory and analgesic, and further studies in 2001 confirmed these analgesic effects.
A Colombian paper in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2002 reported purslane to be effective against worms. Purslane is also applied topically for muscle cramps.
Sow seeds in a sunny, well-drained position from May onwards. Purslane needs fertile soil and should not be allowed to dry out.
PREPARATION AND DOSAGE
For internal use
TO TREAT cardiovascular system, helping to prevent heart problems
For external use
TO TREAT muscle cramps COMPRESSES, POULTICES Put 100g of the fresh plant into 100ml of cold water; bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 15-30 minutes. Soak a cloth and apply once or twice a day to the painful areas.
IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR
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