Health, Nutrition

A Great Green Super Power: Purslane

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PurslanePurslane, or Portulaca oleracea, is a plant that is eaten in Asia, Europe, Mexico and the Middle East. In the US, it’s classified as a weed, which may explain why it’s relatively unknown. Purslane is great for the skin, urinary and digestive systems, boosting the immune system and has a perfect combination between antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, potassium, calcium, magnesium and carotene.

  • “What’s so healthy about it? Purslane is a potent anti-oxidizing and anti-inflammatory herb. It has the highest amount of  alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) — a heart-healthy omega-3 fats — of any leafy plants, yielding about 300 to 400 mg of ALA per 100 g. ALA It is an essential substance and can be converted by our body to become the omega 3 fatty acid (just like that the ones found in flax and hemp seed). Many non-meat/animal by-product and vegetarians lack in this beneficial substance because they do not eat the fish. Wild purslane is rich in the precursor of the omega 3 fatty acid, so that even the most strict of vegans can get the benefit of omega 3 naturally, ouside of supplements.
  • Who needs Omega 3? This is one of my favorite supplements to recommend to people, no matter what your age, gender or lifestyle. Omega 3 may control coronary spasms, aid in weight control, and prevent certain types of cancer. It can improve the effectiveness of treatment for hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder and depression.
  • Green vs. Green: Compared to spinach, purslane has seven times more vitamin E, and also higher amounts of vitamin C and glutathione (an antioxidant that is found naturally in many foods).
  • Known as 马齿苋 in Chinese, this herb is classified as cooling by traditional Chinese medicine physicians and is used to treat intestinal inflammatory disorder (dysentery) and bleeding of the genito-urinary tract among other uses.
  • How to prepare purslane:
  • Some people add purslane to their green smoothie and claim that their young children love the taste. Here is a sample smoothie idea with purslane from healthiveg.com: banana, lime juice, apple cider, maple syrup, and several cups of purslane, smaller stems and leaves.

    Recipie: Purslane Smoothie

    • 1.5 cups frozen pureed purslane with lemon or lime juice (see tips below)
    • 1 or 2 bananas
    • 1 cup organic applesauce (no sugar)
    • ¼ cup 100% maple syrup
    • 1 shamrock (wood sorrel, lemon grass), 1 white clover flower, or other garnish

    Blend until smooth. You can even put the blended concoction into a popscycle mold and freeze it to make “Groovy Pops.”

  • Make a tincture: Tincture is a popular method to extract the beneficial compounds from a plant-based material and make them easier to be absorbed by our body. Tinctures are usually taken orally and people often mix them with plain water or fruit juice. These are a few steps to prepare purslane tincture:1. Harvest purslane in garden, park, field or roadside. Purslane leaves should not be yellowed, rotted or wilted. You may need to take it in enough quantity.

    2. Sterilize a mason jar and its lid, by submerging them in boiling water for 5 minutes. Set aside.

    3. Chop purslane finely in very small pieces, the smaller the better. Fill a jar to about 3/4 full.

    4. Add vodka to the above jar, until the liquid covers the herb completely. Shake gently to release trapped air bubbles, add more vodka if necessary. Seal the jar with the lid and shake vigorously. Place in a cool, dark place.

    5. Shake the jar everyday for about a month, if possible two months. The storage and shaking process can help to release the medicinal compounds and essential oils to the alcohol.

    6. When the storage period ends (1 or 2 months), sterilize another jar (and its lid) and wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap. Strain the liquid into the recently sterilized jar using cheesecloth or muslin. Squeeze as much as liquid as you can and cap the jar. Before using the tincture, shake the jar vigorously, to make sure the beneficial compounds and nutrients are distributed evenly.

  • How to Eat Purslane: Purslane can also be eaten simply as a green salad (if you have given up alcohol and do not have vodka in the house for the preparation above) and eaten raw with other greens. For example, when making a salad, you can combine purslane with cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, lemon juice and olive oil. To complete the meal, add garbanzo beans, seared wild tunas, organic chicken breast and top them off with some freshly chopped basil or rosemary. You can also use raw purslane as wraps or an ingredient for rice bowl or sandwhich. Purslane is also often used to replace spinach in dips, omelettes, casseroles and soups. You can also add purslane in pasta sauce or pesto sauce. However, when overcooked, purslane can become quite slimy. They can also be pickled or cooked for consumption. When preserving purslane for the winter, you can use the combination of peppercorns, garlic cloves and apple cider vinegar. Also try stir-frying them, and add Braggs Amino Acid. toss some into a bowl of salad, or juice them with other fruits and vegetables to add variety to your diet. Purslane can be found in most well-stocked health food stores and ethnic (Asian and Mexican) markets.”
  • Sources: theconsciouslife.com, healthguidance.org, motherearth.living.com, menshealth.com, livestrong.com
  • photo credit: ppdl.purdue.edu, graduallygreen.com, brooklynsupper.net,
ALA alkaline Alzheimer's Disease anti-inflammatory antioxidant boost immune system digestive system immune system omega 3 purslane superfood tincture urinary system vegan vegetarian vitamin C vitamin e

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