Purslane is considered helpful medicinally in treating and/or preventing a wide range of conditions, including scurvy, cataracts, heart disease, asthma, cardia arrhythmia, depression, gingivitis, multiple sclerosis, and psoriasis, as well as boosting the immune system. Rich in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as the minerals calcium and magnesium, and also omega-e oils, purslane offers both superb nutrition and valuable medicinal help to mankind.
Some thoughts from a book called EveryWoman’s Guide to Natural Home Remedies by Sally Freeman include the following: “Rodale Press, in a booklet ‘The Good Fats’, reports that purslane, a fleshy, mucilaginous plant that grows all over the world, has been shown to reinforce the body’s own insulin supply.” (20)
In regard to psoriasis, the author mentions that exposure to sunshine or a light box with full-spectrum lighting can help clear up psoriasis in its early stages. “According to the Rodale Press editors, Omega-3 oils can inhibit cellular production of leukotrienes, which trigger the inflammation that can cause itching and scaling. Eat purslane or tuna fish, mackerel, and other oily fish, or take fish oil supplements.” (21)
In his very comprehensive book The Green Pharmacy, James Duke goes through many ailments or disorders, and lists plants that may be helpful, including fruits, vegetables, and various kinds of herbs. Mr. Duke details his many observations, along with the data he has compiled over the years. He estimates that more than 70% of Americans get insufficient magnesium, and that may be why cardiac arrhythmia is so common. Scientists have said that magnesium, at does of 250 milligrams a day, helps prevent arrhythmia. Purslane is very rich in magnesium, as are green beans, poppy seeds, oats, cowpeas and spinach.
Mr. Duke states that magnesium deficiency has been implicated in high blood pressure, and that many Americans are deficient in this mineral but don’t know it. He suggests that to get magnesium, people should turn to leafy greens, legumes and whole grains. Especially helpful would be purslane, poppy seeds and string beans.
“In a letter to the British medical journal ‘Lancet’ some years ago, a British biochemist with MS (multiple sclerosis) said that supplemental magnesium by itself worked better for him than all other supplemental vitamins and minerals. He took 375 milligrams a day. (The Daily Value is 400 milligrams.)” “…If you’d like your magnesium from an herbal source, purslane is the herb richest in this mineral, at nearly 2% on a dry-weight basis, followed by poppy seeds, cowpeas, and spinach. I steam purslane like spinach and eat it raw in salads. A heaping serving of steamed greens could provide as much magnesium as the biochemist took. So would 8 ounces of fresh greens.” (22)
Magnesium is an important mineral for muscles, bones, and connective tissues. Leafy green vegetables are a good source of magnesium. Mr, Duke suggests making a “Magnesium Medley Salad”, using any of the following ingredients to which you have access: fresh purslane, green beans, spinach, and lettuce. He suggests using poppy seeds in the dressing, as they also contain magnesium.
In a discussion of headaches, Mr. Duke says that nutritionists suggest 600 milligrams of magnesium a day for a person who is prone to headaches. He notes that magnesium deficiency has been found in people who have frequent tension headaches or migraines. And again, leafy greens like purslane, as well as legumes and whole grains could be a help, as they are good food sources of magnesium. In his database, purslane is the clear leader in this nutrient.
Regarding gingivitis, Mr. Duke notes: “Foods high in magnesium and vitamin C have often been recommended for treating gum disease. Because I am a big fan of spinachlike purslane, I can’t help suggesting it as a good source of magnesium. Several other herbs, including coriander, cowpeas, dandelion, licorice root, lettuce leaf, poppy seeds, spinach, stinging nettle greens, and string beans, are high in magnesium as well.” “Which brings me to my ‘Magnesium Medley’ for keeping gingivitis at bay: Steam a mixed mess of dandelion, stinging nettle greens, purslane and spinach leaves.” (23)
As mentioned in the Chemical Constituents section, Mr. Duke explains that eating foods rich in magnesium and potassium can help people suffering from depression. Purslane is very rich in these minerals and is also high in other constituents with antidepressant value, including calcium, folate, and lithium. Mr. Duke suggests what he calls an “Un-Sad Salad”: lettuce, pigweed, purslane, lambsquarters and watercress. He also recommends using thyme in the dressing, as it’s high in the antidepressant mineral lithium.
When discussing a condition called intermittent claudication, he mentions that saturated fat is a major culprit in causing any form of cardiovascular disease. The beneficial oils known as omega-3 fatty acids help prevent cardiovascular disease, and purslane is the best leafy source of omega-3’s. It also has a lot of antioxidants, substances that mop up free radicals, the highly reactive oxygen molecules that damage the body’s cells and contribute to heart disease.
In going over what would be helpful for someone with shingles, Mr. Duke notes that purslane has a folk reputation in China for treating herpes, so it’s worth a try.
And regarding yeast infections, Mr. Duke says “Vitamins A (and betacarotene), C and E are my personal ‘ACE in the hole” for supporting the immune system. You definitely want to give the immune system help when it’s fighting a yeast infection of any kind. Purslane is the best food source of all of these nutrients.” (24)