This plant is considered a weed in the U.S. It can grow as a wild plant but it is also cultivated. Purslane may be the best source of Omega 3’s in plants that grow on land. It has a high amount of ALA omega 3’s but it also contains a small amount (0.01 mg/g) of EPA omega 3. Although small, it is one of the highest amounts of this type of omega 3 in any land based plant. This is important because the average ratio of omega 6 to omega 3’s of people in the U.S can be as high as 20:1. High amounts of omega 6 can promote inflammation and increase your risk for heart disease as well as a host of other diseases.
Our ancestors had omega 6 to omega 3 ratios of 1:1. They ate a variety of seafood and many wild plants. Purslane was most likely one of these plants that was commonly eaten wherever it grew naturally.
Purslane is also high in Vitamins C, E and beta-carotene (pro vitamin A). It’s also very high in melatonin, a hormone that’s central to our circadian rhythms and sleep cycles. Purslane is also very high in an antioxidant called glutathione. Most, if not all of our cells make glutathione, which protects us from the harmful effects of free radicals. It specifically protects us from peroxides that can form in our body. In a study done by the National cancer Institute, only Avocados and Asparagus, out of 98 common healthy foods, had more glutathione than Purslane.
This plant is more common in the Pacific Northwest but it grows virtually everywhere and can easily grow in your garden. It has a sour/salty taste and it can be eaten raw or stir-fried.