Fact or Myth: Can a Tasty Weed Reverse Heart Disease?

This is a FACT.

Purslane is a plant from the Portulaca oleracea family that is native to Asia. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies purslane as a weed, but it is popular worldwide as a vegetable and cooking herb.

In the Mediterranean, purslane is used in soups and salads, Russians pickle and can the leaves, while various Asian cultures use it in stir-fry and curry.

Presently available in ethnic food stores, the benefits of purslane is slowly making its way into organic grocery chains. Its flavor is mild with a slightly tangy lemon undertone. It is becoming more readily available in U.S. supermarkets and can be used in place of lettuce in salads, or prepared much like spinach or collard greens.

Scientists are taking another look at the benefits of purslane and the abundance of nutrients it provides. The health benefits this common yard plant offers are remarkable.

Medicinally, it shows promise in the treatment and prevention of heart disease, arthritis, neuro-degenerative disease, respiratory distress and mood disorders.

Vitamins and Minerals Health Benefits of Purslane

Keeps Your Heart Pumping & Protects Your Brain

One study conducted by the University of Texas at San Antonio found that purslane ranked in first place among all edible plants for a certain heart-healthy nutrient.

benefits of purslaneThere are very few foods – especially vegetables – that contain omega-3 vitamins. In his book, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Dr. Jonny Bowden calls the health benefits of purslane one of the most nutritious vegetables for your diet. One cup of purslane contains 400mg of omega-3.

Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fats that are crucial to the health of your cell membranes and to the communication between cells via neurotransmitters – dopamine and serotonin – which regulate mood.

The powerful anti-inflammatory benefits of the omega-3s found in purslane are beneficial to the prevention of heart disease, neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, arthritis and diabetes.

Regulates Sleep Patterns

Purslane contains a large quantity of melatonin – a hormone we manufacture naturally in our brains that regulates our sleep patterns and body rhythms. Melatonin is often used to naturally treat jet lag, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and insomnia.

There is great interest in melatonin as a cancer treatment, and purslane contains more than 10 times the melatonin of most veggies.

Get Glowing Skin and Strong Hair

One cup of purslane provides all the vitamin E you need for the entire day! Adding walnut oil to the leafy greens boosts the effect of the other nutrients.

Vitamin E is crucial to skin, hair and nails – what many don’t realize is that this vitamin is also critical to heart and central nervous system health. International Health News reported that iron supplements and birth control pills inhibit your body from absorbing vitamin E so if you take either of those, wait six hours before eating purslane.

Protect Your Eyesight and Nourish Your Skin

Among the leafy green veggies, you can’t find a better source of vitamin A. Use the benefits of purslane to protect and replenish skin cells, protect the mucus membranes of the lungs and keep your eyesight healthy.

You can get more than 40% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) from one cup of purslane – more than spinach!

Creates the Spark of Life

As one of the lesser-known vitamins, magnesium deficiency is common, and purslane is one of the best botanical sources. Magnesium is commonly referred to as “the spark of life” because it provides our cells with energy.

Not having enough magnesium in your system can lead to migraines, diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis. One cup of purslane provides your RDA of magnesium as well as 2,000mg of calcium and 8,000mg of potassium.

Feed Every Single Cell in Your Body

Purslane causes a significant increase in your body’s production of glutathione – found in every cell in your body. Glutathione regulates cell function and detoxifies your system. As we age, our production of this compound begins to diminish.

Fight Oxidation That Leads to Premature Aging

Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) is an enzyme found in all living cells. It is primarily responsible for fighting oxidation, which leads to cell damage.

SOD rebuilds damaged skin cells and lessens the depth and appearance of wrinkles. Being a very strong anti-inflammatory that is used in traditional medical treatment for radiation therapy, organ transplants and post-heart attack care.

As we age, our SOD levels begin to drop dramatically. Benefits of purslane boosts our body’s ability to make this enzyme and continue fighting oxidation.

Naturally low in calories but high in fiber, purslane is the perfect food for weight maintenance without sacrificing nutrition. It also appears to boost the absorption of other nutrients and boosts your body’s ability to make more of what it needs.

Because it grows in so many areas, it is likely that you’ve pulled some in your life and didn’t even know it. With rounded, smooth stems, purslane turns reddish as it grows and the leaves grow in groups.

It is safe to eat raw, lightly steamed or sautéed. The next time you’re out in your garden…be careful what you throw away!