Common purslane is also known to have anti-inflammatory effects. In Greek popular medicine purslane is regarded to as an important medicinal herb for treatment of arthritis, colds, constipation, fever, female disorders, stomach aches, healing of wounds, and inflammation of the urinary system.
This succulent herb also contains a high level of soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol. Purslane is rich in vitamin C and E, beta-carotene and vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and high in the dietary minerals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, silicon and zinc. In addition, it is very rich in antidepressant substances. Just an excellent source of nutrition.
Purslane has .01 mg/g of EPA. This is an extraordinary amount of EPA for land based vegetable sources. EPA is an omega-3 fatty acid normally found mostly in fish and some algae. Omega-3 fatty acids are useful for treating irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Also present are two types of beta lain alkaloid pigments, the reddish (visible in the coloration of the stem), and the yellow (noticeable in the flowers and in the slight yellowish cast of the leaves). Both of these pigment types are potent antioxidants and have been found to have anti-mutagenic properties in laboratory studies. A diet high in antioxidant nutrients help prevent cancer.
Although purslane is considered a weed in the United States, it can be eaten as a leaf vegetable. It has a slightly sour and salty taste and is eaten throughout Europe and Asia. Purslane can be used fresh as a salad, or cooked like spinach, and because of its mucilaginous quality, it is also suitable for soups and stews.
Purslane is an annual succulent. It is a native of India and the Middle East, but is naturalized elsewhere and in some regions considered an invasive weed. It has smooth, reddish stems that trail along the ground and alternate leaves clustered at the stem joints and ends.
The flowers first appear in late spring and continue into mid fall. The flowers open singly for only a few hours on sunny mornings. Seeds are formed in a tiny pod, which opens when the seeds are ready. Purslane has a taproot with fibrous secondary roots and is able to tolerate poor, compacted soils and drought.
Other herbs containing antioxidant actions include astragalus, balm, basil, chaparral, comfrey, garlic, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, gotu kola, kelp, licorice, sage and tea.