Purslane has been used throughout history in treatment of cardiac weakness, dry cough, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, gingivitis, and high cholesterol, hypertension, sore throat and urinary tract infections. Topically purslane has been used as a poultice for bee stings, boils, burns, and hemorrhoids.
Purslane is reported to have been one of Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite foods and also consumed by Thoreau while residing at Walden Pond. It is pleasant, cool, and moist, with a sour flavor that can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Use purslanes in salads, pickles, stir fry dishes and soups as a cooling summer food. Bake purslane shoots with breadcrumbs as a casserole. It can be used in place of okra in recipes.
Purslane is used in Creole cooking and in the mideastern salad, fattoush. The dried seeds can be ground and added to flour. I’ve noticed our local farmer’s market selling this fine herb to introduce people to purslane’s vegetable potential.
One hundred grams of purslane contains about 2,500 IU beta-carotene, 103 mg. calcium and 25 mg vitamin C. In 1986, purslane was discovered to be the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps reduce the risk of heart disease and can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Read about six different ways to eat purslane plus tips for storing and keeping it.