Plants have been used by humans for countless purposes for millions of years. Investigating the benefits and properties of each plant species is one of the most surprising discoveries that we can learn from nature.
Either as part of kitchen recipes, or as a medicinal contribution or ornamental element in orchards and gardens, plants are part of our day to day. Among them, the purslane ( Portulaca oleracea ) stands out, which, since ancient Greek times, was considered one of the most beneficial plants for human health. Although at that time it was widely consumed, nowadays it has been losing importance in the culinary and medicinal fields, since more and more people were unaware of its properties when considering it a weed.
In this interesting AgroCorrn article you will learn everything about the purslane plant: properties and what it is for .
What is the purslane plant like – characteristics
The purslane or filbert ( Portulaca oleracea ) is an edible and medicinal plants that provide more benefits to those who consume it . It is a succulent plant (a plant with a large proportion of tissue that allows it to store large amounts of water) that lives throughout the year. It belongs to the vegetable family of the Portuláceas, it reaches forty centimeters in height and its yellow flowers open only and exclusively during daylight hours on sunny mornings.
They are native to India and the Middle East, as well as southern Europe, although today it grows wild (that is, naturally and spontaneously) throughout the world, being considered a weed or weed in certain regions of the planet.
Purslane is known as a “superfood”, that is to say, its nutritional values are of great excellence and among them the contribution of:
- Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, C, E and beta carotenes.
- Minerals: potassium, calcium oxalate, magnesium, iron and phosphorus.
- Amino acids.
- Antioxidants such as glutathione and betalains.
The main properties of purslane for health are:
- Pain relieving.
- Purifying the blood.
- Reducer of insulin resistance.
- Muscle relaxant.
- Mild laxative.
- Vermifuge or antiparasitária.
What is purslane for, its benefits and uses
Purslane is highly valued in orchards and gardens, where it appears as an auxiliary plant and a bioindicator of soil quality . Another use of purslane, although of less importance, would be in the ornamentation of gardens as a decorative plant. In these cases, the species used would not be the wild purslane ( Portulaca oleracea ), but the Portulaca grandiflora , whose large and showy flowers are a good complement to the showiness of the garden. It should be noted that this ornamental species is not edible and, therefore, does not have any medicinal use associated with it.
However, the main use of wild purslane is for culinary and medicinal purposes. When used as a culinary supplement, purslane is a great source of fiber, omega 3, calcium, iron and magnesium. On the other hand, regarding the medicinal uses of purslane , which humans have taken advantage of since ancient Greece, its help to:
- Reduce or stop bleeding, through the vasoconstrictor action provided by neurohormones and neurotransmitters (such as dopamine and l-norepinephrine) that the fresh plant generates.
- Eliminate fluid retention and accumulated toxins, as it is diuretic and purifying.
- Improve intestinal transit and facilitate digestion, as well as eliminate intestinal parasites in case of infection.
- Relax the muscles, being able to take the infusion, but also, for a more direct effect, you can apply a cream or paste made from fresh purslane.
How to take purslane
From the purslane plant we can consume both its seeds and its stems, leaves and flowers. This full use of the plant allows it to be taken in various ways: in salads, sautéed or steamed, marinated in vinegar, in infusion (using the plant either dry or fresh), as well as in the form of smoothies or preparing flours with its seeds.
Next, we provide you with two simple recipes with purslane to quickly and easily obtain all the benefits of it.
Salad recipe with purslane and avocado
About 20 grams of wild purslane leaves, half an avocado, a tomato, the juice of half a lemon, olive oil and salt are used to dress.
- Wash the purslane well, separating its leaves and placing them in the bowl or plate.
- Cut both the tomato and the avocado half into small pieces and add them to the purslane leaves.
- Dress everything with the juice of half a lemon, oil and salt.
The salad is ready to serve and enjoy the nutritional benefits provided by all its ingredients, being a salad rich in fiber, vitamin C and folic acid.
Steamed purslane recipe
For four people, about 150 grams of purslane leaves are used as ingredients (washed and without the hard part of the stem), half an onion, half a teaspoon of garlic powder, oil and salt.
- Sauté the onion cut into strips, until it appears transparent.
- At this time, add the purslane leaves, as well as the garlic powder and salt.
- Cover the pan and let the purslane cook in its own steam. You can add a little water if you prefer it to be done earlier and be more cooked.
- Stir from time to time, until the leaves and onion are well cooked (about 30 minutes of cooking approximately).
Without a doubt, it is a simple recipe that will not leave diners indifferent when tasting the tasty flavor of purslane cooked in steam. Also, here below you can see a video about this beneficial plant.
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