The Plain Truth

The Plain Truth
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Purslane, the weed you should eat!

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)
Purslane is also known as Little Hogweed which is the official vernacular name and Pusley..

Plant Type: This is a non-native succulent, it is a
annual which can reach 40cm in height (16inches). It has smooth, reddish, mostly prostrate stems.
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Each succulent leaf is entire and the leaves are clustered at stem joints and ends.
Flowers: The flowers have 5 Regular Parts and are up to 0.6cm wide (0.25 inches). They are yellow. Blooms first appear in late spring and continue into mid fall. The flowers open singly at the center of the leaf cluster for only a few hours on sunny mornings.
Fruit: Seeds are formed in a tiny pod the lid of which opens when the seeds are ready.
Habitat: Gardens and disturbed areas.
Range: Almost all of North America.

This common, introduced, 'weed' comes to us from India or the Middle East but is a close relative of several less common native plants. Rooting easily from cut stems and with the ability to mature the seeds even after the plant has been pulled it is a difficult plant to remove from gardens.

Lore: Purslane is a good edible and is eaten throughout much of Europe and Asia. It can be eaten fresh or cooked and has no bitter taste at all. Since it has a mucilaginous quality it is great for soups and stews.

Medical Uses: Purslane contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant we know of. The most common dietary source of Omega-3s are cold water fish like Salmon. Omega-3s aid the body in the production of compounds that effect blood pressure, clotting, the immune system, prevent inflammation, lower cholesterol (LDL), prevent certain cancers and control coronary spasms. In addition recent studies suggest that Omega- 3s may have positive effects on the brain and may aid in such conditions as depression, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer's disease, autism, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and migraines. Though very beneficial, there are few good dietary sources other than seafood for Omaga-3s. (Some oils, nuts, grains and other leafy vegetables do contain Omega-3s)

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