What is Purslane?
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) extract is obtained from the purslane plant, an herb largely used in traditional medicine due to its anti-diabetic properties. It has more nutritional benefits than many other cultivated leafy-green vegetables and even aids in the manufacturing of beauty products.
This brownish-yellow extract has numerous health benefits thanks to its broad assortment of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and E and minerals. It also plays a crucial role in boosting the immune system (x).
Purslane extract can actually treat a number of common illnesses in various ways. It serves as a topical remedy for headaches and fever. And on top of that, it has a substantial amount of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can benefit your skin.
So what makes purslane extract such a beneficial supplement? What are its side effects, and how can you use it to your advantage?
Purslane Extract Benefits
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Purslane extract is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids — especially the alpha-linolenic acid that plays a key role in the growth and development of the human body (x). Purslane has the greatest level of alpha-linolenic acid compared to all other leafy green vegetables. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help in the prevention of cardiovascular disorders due to their ability to minimize the thickness of blood.
These omega-3 fatty acids also minimize the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which helps to maintain good blood pressure. Moreover, these acids are essential in the maintenance of a robust immune system (x). Purslane extract is an excellent provider of omega-3 fatty acids that are free from cholesterol and calorie content, unlike common fish oils. Since purslane omega-3 fatty acids occur naturally, they minimize the risk of cancer and heart disease occurrence (x). They also aid in cognitive functions and ensure that the brain stays alert (x).
Vitamins and Minerals
Purslane extract is rich in vitamin A, a natural antioxidant. Vitamin A helps take care of your vision by preventing night blindness (nyctalopia), maintaining strong mucous membranes and keeping lung and oral cancer at bay (x, x). This fat-soluble vitamin is important in human sexual reproduction and in the proper functioning of the immune system. Additionally, it can aid the heart, kidneys, lungs and other organs to function properly.
The extract also contains vitamin C, which plays a critical role in maintaining overall health and boosting immunity. Not only does it lend your immune system a hand, but it also assists with wound healing, maintenance of bones and muscles and acts as a natural body cleaning solution (x).
Purslane extract provides high dietary minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and iron (x). Potassium helps in the regulation of blood pressure and also reduces the risk of stroke. Iron facilitates the transportation of oxygen in the body, allowing cells to function optimally, while calcium and phosphorus from purslane are responsible for bone and dental wellness.
Relieves Headache and Fever
Purslane extract is a mild laxative good for treating stubborn headaches and controlling body temperature. Chronic tension headaches and migraines could be a result of magnesium deficiency in the body. However, this extract provides the necessary amount of magnesium required to keep those headaches from occurring (x).
Purslane extract should be an excellent supplement for individuals trying to restrict their calorie intake. This wonderful leafy green is nutrient-rich, but very low in calories. It is chock-full of dietary fiber, which ensures that one will feel more full after a meal, significantly minimizing the risk of overeating. In turn, this decreases one’s calorie intake, creating a simpler solution for steady weight loss (x).
Purslane can help in the treatment of major skin conditions. It contains large volumes of vitamin A, which revamps skin health and its overall appearance, minimizes wrinkles and stimulates the repair of skin cells, which, in turn, will get rid of scars and blemishes (x).
Antioxidants from purslane help get rid of harmful byproducts that result from cellular metabolism. The manganese in the extract plays its role as an antioxidant and aids in fighting off free radicals while repairing damaged skin tissues. They protect from premature aging and are an important element of anti-wrinkle diets (x).
Healthy Heart Conditions
Consumption of omega-3 rich foods minimizes the risk of heart attacks and coronary heart diseases. They protect the heart’s vascular system by reducing bad cholesterol levels (LDL). This creates an ideal balance in the bloodstream (x). Purslane extract is rich in pectin, a polysaccharide capable of lowering cholesterol levels in the body. The magnesium in purslane is also an important element in the fight against heart diseases (x).
Purslane plant seeds can make quite the impact as a natural deworming remedy. The extract from these seeds helps in eliminating intestinal tract parasites, making it an effective remedy in dysentery cases (x).
When it comes to the prevention of eye disorders, purslane extract is very beneficial. The extract helps in getting rid of unwanted germs that would otherwise invade cells in the eye and cause cause eye complications. This is where natural antioxidants like vitamin A and beta-carotene in purslane come in — they are essential to maintaining optimal vision.
Handling Gastrointestinal Diseases
There are several forms of gastrointestinal diseases and numerous ways to control or prevent each from occurring. With its numerous organic compounds like dopamine, alanin and citric acid, purslane extract can treat intestinal bleeding, diarrhea and even hemorrhoids (x).
Elements like vitamin A and D, iron, calcium and magnesium are essential to strengthening bones and preventing bone loss. With all these elements, purslane extract can prevent osteoporosis, a conventional age-related illness (x). These elements ensure that bones continue to develop and remain strong.
Purslane Extract Side Effects
As long as one follows the correct dosage instructions, purslane extract side effects are rare. The following are the possible side effects that may occur:
Pregnancy (may cause contractions)
It is best that expectant women refrain from consuming purslane extract. The extract may stimulate uterine contractions and may lead to miscarriage.
Purslane has high levels of oxalates. Oxalates have antinutrient properties, which may interfere with the absorption of food in the stomach. They may also limit the intake of significant minerals like magnesium and calcium into the bloodstream (x). However, adding yogurt or coconut products to purslane extracts can lower the oxalate capacity (x).
Consuming too much of anything is not good for the body. Purslane is no different, as it is highly concentrated in oxalic acid. It may result in health complications in individuals suspected to have kidney stones (x). The acid may also crystallize in the urinary tract to form oxalate stones. However, boiling it would be a way of getting rid of the oxalate acid and still retain some of its vital elements. Another precaution is consuming a lot of water to ensure there is normal urine output.
Dosage and Instructions
Purslane can be eaten raw and also be incorporated into different recipes. Purslane extract can be added to dough to make different delicious bread alternatives. It can be boiled or added to smoothies or juiced. Fresh purslane stored at the ideal temperature has higher nutritional value than when stored at room or extreme temperatures. It can typically be refrigerated for as long as a week by storing it in an open plastic bag with a paper towel at the bottom (x).
These supplements should be taken in servings between 100 and 500 g daily. If used as a dietary supplement, take 100 mg (1/32) to 500 mg (rounded 1/8 tsp) each day, or as otherwise directed.
The dosage of purslane may vary depending on the condition being treated. Many professionals recommend 9-15 grams of dried purslane and 30-60 grams if the purslane is fresh. It should be administered every morning for three to five days (x).
Why Take Purslane Extract
From the benefits listed above, it is impossible to ignore that purslane is, in fact, a super food. Its naturally occurring nutrients can provide you with optimal amounts of supplements and vitamins without having to empty your pockets.
Maintaining sufficient omega-3 fatty acids in the body is not only important for development and growth, but also for overall health and a functioning immune system. Purslane extract is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and it provides them in a convenient, absorbent form.
In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, purslane extract contains a number of other important nutrients and antioxidants that are essential to human health such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and C and dopamine.
The Bottom Line
Despite being considered a weed in many cultures, purslane is a highly nutritious vegetable and ranks as one of the ultimate nutrient-dense foods around the globe. This nutritious plant offers rich nutrition sources, and if harnessed correctly, could be a lifesaver.
Try and include some purslane extract in your recipes every now and then. It is best that you add this supplement to a beverage or take it in capsule form due to its peppery flavor. And, of course, be sure to exercise all the necessary precautionary measures if you begin to supplement with purslane.