By Dr. Kaycee Reyes
Wait, what? There’s a weed that’s wickedly good for you? If you pull out purslane in your garden, you might want to think twice and save this plant that is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, antitumor, antidiabetic, neuroprotective, and more! Whew! Now this is a weed to watch out for.
Purslane, or portulaca oleracea, is a succulent plant that originated in Persia and India. A lot of cultures consider purslane as an edible plant, and others as a weed. Purslane is a short plant with round, smooth, thick green leaves that grows yellow flowers and branches from brown stems. You will see purslane in salads and soups in Asian and Mediterranean cuisine, or used as medicine in other cultures as well. In the Philippines, purslane is also called as alusiman, bakbakad, dupdupil, gulasiman, ulasiman, kantataba, and a few more. Not all Filipinos know that purslane is a super food, despite the fact that this mighty plant can withstand even the most drastic of conditions. And because it is a succulent, consider it drought-proof! Literally, it can just grow anywhere!
So what does purslane boast of? It has loads of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids help with a lot of our bodily functions, from eye health, brain health, heart health, bone and joints, even our mood, and purslane doesn’t stop there:
- Rich in minerals, such as zinc (for immunity and wound healing), copper (for immunity and acts as an antioxidant as well), and calcium and magnesium (for healthy bones)
- Contains vitamins C, E, and beta carotene that help with immunity, eye health, and also for the skin
- Presence of B vitamins that help with our body’s metabolism
- With other crucial substances such as Coenzyme Q10 (helps regulate cholesterol, blood pressure, anti-fatigue, strengthens immune system), glutathione (an antioxidant that fights free radicals which may cause inflammation in the body), pectin (that is high in fiber and helps with cholesterol, diarrhea, and weight loss, and dopamine (that can relax muscles and improve mood)
You see, purslane is not just a pretty plant. It can make you pretty too! Here are the benefits of purslane for the skin:
- Accelerates wound healing
- Treats swelling, bruises, and gout
- Is an effective anti-allergy treatment
- Relieves skin irritation, atopic dermatitis
- Soothes insect bites
- Effective moisturizing and anti-aging treatment with its skin-tightening properties
- Great for sensitive skin, including babies’ skin
- Found to be beneficial in anti-acne care
- Nourishes and encourages hair growth
- Contains anti-dandruff properties
Indeed, purslane is a wonder weed. Packed with awesome benefits for the skin and body, make no mistake to add these in your diet, just make sure to wash it thoroughly and buy from those that grow them free of pesticides. It doesn’t hurt that it tastes great too! If trying purslane topically, make sure to discuss these with your dermatologist first to ensure that your skin won’t get irritated. Purslane is indeed a powerful plant. And look no further, as you might already have some growing in your garden today!