How To

Invasive Weed Actually A 'Miracle' Plant

August 30th, 2018

We’ve all seen this sticking out of sidewalks and stone paths, most of us probably don’t know what it’s called.

It’s called purslane.

And you probably never imagined that it has medicinal properties or that it may be served up at restaurants. So, next time you see the weed in your garden you might want to let it grow.

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Flickr/Alyss Source: Flickr/Alyss

According to Return to Now, purslane was a beloved super-food by Gandhi. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies it as a “noxious weed,” Dr. Artemis Simopoulos, the president for the Center for Genetics, Nutrition, and Health, calls it a “miracle plant.”

She says purslane containers more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other green plant.

Purslane has tear-shaped leaves that contains tons of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

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Flickr/AOF22 Source: Flickr/AOF22

“Purslane is native to Indian sub-continent and now distributed widely across the continents but actually as a wild weed. There exist varieties of pusley with variation in leaf size, thickness, and leaf arrangement and pigment distribution. This hardy herb plant requires relatively less water and soil nutrients and grows well sunny climates,” Nutrition and You reports. “Leaves and tender stems are edible. In addition to succulent stems and leaves, its yellow flower buds are also favored, especially in salads. Purslane seeds, appear like black tea powder granules, are often used to make some herbal drinks.”

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Flickr/david schiller Source: Flickr/david schiller

Purslane is also said to be pretty darn tasty. Sergio Vitale, chef and owner of Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano in Chicago, says they are cucumber-crisp leaves that have a lemony tang and peppery kick.

He grew up eating Purslane in southern Italy.

“When you bite into it, it bursts,” he says.

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Rahel Jaskow Source: Rahel Jaskow

You’ll often find purslane in salads or stir-fries. If your lawn is weed free you can buy seeds and grow purslane.

There are lots of health benefits from eating purslane.

We already know that it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, so purslane is really good for your brain and heart health. It’s also high in antioxidants to protect cells from damage and aging.

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Flickr/Bruce Arthurs Source: Flickr/Bruce Arthurs

Purslane is chock fuck of minerals like manganese, copper, folate, selenium, calcium and more.

It’s a great source of immune-boosting Vitamin C and beta-carotene.

Purslane also has a significant amount of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, in it. The weed is also said to help lower cholesterol.

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Flickr/wayne marshall Source: Flickr/wayne marshall

This is because it contains betalain which prevents cholesterol from damaging the blood vessels.

Purslane also contains tryptophan.

Tryptophan has important amino acid that regulates mood and fights depression. You can learn how to prepare and serve purslane here.

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Source: Nutrition and You