Purslane has an extensive distribution which is assumed to be mostly anthropogenic, extending from North Africa and parts of Southern Europe through the Middle East, and Indian subcontinent to Australasia and Malesia. It reached North America in the pre-Columbian era and was eaten by native Americans, who spread its seeds, according to scientist. Here Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com, reflects on purslane’s many health benefits:
“The purslane plant (Portulaca Oleracea) is one of those herbs that sometimes you just can’t decide whether to keep or remove from your garden. It’s often viewed as unwelcome because it pops up beside plants you want to showcase or eat. Purslane has become so widespread in gardens1 today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has branded it a noxious weed.2
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Purslane, which may reach up to 30 centimeters (11 to 12 inches) high, can grow in almost any place, as long as there is loose, sandy and nutrient-rich soil. You can find it in gardens, roads, fields or orchards.3 The plant has a green or red stem,4 spoon-like succulent leaves5 and small flowers with a distinct yellow color. On hot and sunny days, the buds usually open from midmorning until early afternoon.6
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But is purslane edible? It surely is. This herb is widely embraced in certain cuisines as a wonderful addition to salads and other recipes.7 In the U.S., however, it’s still seen as an unwelcome plant.8
Remember that if you remove this herb from your garden, you may be casting aside the numerous health benefits that it can actually offer you. In fact, purslane may be called a “superfood” because of the vitamins and minerals that can be found in this herb.9
Purslane’s Many Health Benefits
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Owning up to its title as a “superfood,” purslane has a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in its arsenal. It has antibacterial, antiscorbutic (combats scurvy10), depurative (detoxifying and purifying11), diuretic (increases amount of fluids expelled from the body12) and febrifuge (fever-reducing13) properties.14 Plus, you can also receive these beneficial nutrients when you consume purslane:
• High amounts of omega-3 fatty acids15 — The leaves of the purslane plant are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids that may help prevent high cholesterol and blood pressure levels and aid in lowering the risk for heart disease and, possibly, cancer.16 Omega-3 fats also have anti-inflammatory abilities, and they may help manage cognitive function17 and promote normal growth and development.18
• Minerals like zinc, phosphorus, manganese, copper and calcium19 — Zinc is responsible for maintaining and improving immune system function,20 and combating free radicals that may cause inflammation and cancer.21,22 Calcium is also essential for nerve, muscle and blood function,23 and in promoting optimal bone24 and dental health.25
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The copper in purslane can help ensure absorption of iron from your intestines, and assist with hemoglobin production in your body.26 Lastly, manganese acts as an antioxidant27 and helps fight off free radicals.28,29 It’s also useful in breaking down fats, protein and carbs to use as energy by your body.30
• Vitamin A — Compared to other leafy vegetables, purslane contains the highest amounts of vitamin A,31 which may be beneficial for improving and maintaining visual health32,33 and cell growth.34 Vitamin A has also been linked to better bone health, although you may need to consume it in moderation to reap this benefit — some studies revealed that too much vitamin A may lead to adverse effects, such as increased fracture risks.35,36
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• Low in calories — Purslane contains only 20 calories per 100 grams.37 This is good news if you’re trying to limit your caloric intake. It’s also packed with dietary fiber,38 which helps you feel full after meals, limit your food intake39 and aid in weight loss.40,41
What Is Purslane Used For?
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Purslane can actually be used in different ways to help relieve illnesses such as headaches,42 fever and inflammation, to name a few.43 Purslane, when made into a juice, may also be used as a remedy for dry cough and shortness of breath.44
The 16th century English botanist Nicholas Culpeper also claimed that purslane leaves can be placed under the tongue to quench thirst,45 though I would still recommend drinking enough high-quality filtered water to address dehydration.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://articles.mercola.com/herbs-spices/purslane.aspx
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