Purslane and It's Imposter
I love wild edibles! They are so nutrient-dense and rich in minerals. You don't need to eat large quantities to get great results.
One of my favorites is purslane. Not only does it have a delicious lemony taste, it also has incredible health benefits. It has more omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), than any other leafy plant on earth, which is great for heart health.
Purslane is also a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Folate, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
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A study by the Journal of American College of Nutrition found purslane to be better than spinach in multiple categories.
Purslane is also a great treatment for urinary and digestive problems and it has antifungal properties as well. It has also been reported to provide relief from diarrhea, acne and psoriasis. It even helps to reduce fevers and inflammation and you can use it to relieve sunburn pain like you would use aloe vera.
Before you rush outside to look for this amazing wild edible, beware of spurge, which is a poisonous "purslane imposter". Consuming spurge causes severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. The good news is, it's easy to tell the difference. They are often found near each other, so it's important to be able to tell them apart.
It’s interesting how the good and the bad often grow next to each other, just like poison ivy and jewel weed. Did you know that jewel weed is a cure for poison ivy?
You may feel comfortable telling the difference between these two weeds now. I would still advise that you spend some time with knowledgeable people who can take you out and show you the real thing. Many communities offer tours to assist those who are new to identifying wild edibles. Check with your community before eating anything from the wild and stay healthy!
Study by the Journal of American College of Nutrition
9/20/2014 08:03:39 am
Yes,DawnMarie, it grows beautifully in Florida, it likes a sunny and sandy environment!
9/20/2014 04:41:18 am
What a nice blog. The pictures side by side, along with your descriptions, show the differences well. I've seen both plants and can understand how a person might mistakenly choose the poisonous one. That would be bad... This is very helpful. Thanks Rene!
12/28/2014 02:10:49 am
This is great information! Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. I would not like anyone to make this mistake! I would like to grow some. I recently moved to fla and have a regular lawn so I do not know how to get purslane. I would love to grow it and other beneficial plants. Let me know if you have any ideas on this. Thanks!
3/30/2016 11:10:46 pm
This article is quite an eye opener for us. We live in Southern Ontario and I have loved growing our own vegetables all my life. For many years I have been fighting with purslane; in my eyes a very nasty weed that keeps coming every year in abundance, no matter what I do to get rid of it. After reading this article I realize that I should have embraced this 'weed' instead. From now on I'll sure want to make good use of the plant. Since we've started juicing recently, (masticating juicer) we are hoping that purslane can be added to our daily juicing mix of veggies and fruit. It looks to me that the goodness of the plant will be just as good or better in the juicer as in a salad.
8/5/2018 08:13:59 am
Is this something that you can purchase as a tea, fresh, or medicine
John (Juan) Pedraza
10/7/2018 04:30:35 am
I'm always killing this "weed". Now I'll kill it by eating it! Thanks!
Roger L Cain
3/25/2019 06:04:17 am
I have eaten a lot of this from the garden and elsewhere, raw or cooked. I think the difference between real and fake weeds is the thickness of the leaves. The stems were red but I boiled them twice throwing out the first water. The effect was like green beans cut up and good with regular seasoning like bacon scraps. It was the only thing we had to show for our garden in a dry year. Purslane grows in bare clay soil in dry years. It is comparable I think to a cactus which is a succulent.
This is a fabulous year for purslane, both wild darker green and "golden" lighter green that I grew from seeds and that keeps coming back. The golden looks like miniature Jade plants. The wild is growing everywhere and is gorgeous. I out some into my green smoothie every morning. Yummmm!
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