Eat Local: Purslane/Pig weed
What do you call this plant?
It is known by many names including Pigweed, Moss Rose, Purslane and we even heard it called Jumbie Potato.
This succulent herb, know scientifically as Portulaca oleracea, grows all over in Grenada. Most people don't give this prolific plant a second look unless they are weeding it out of their garden. However, Purslane has the highest level of Omega-3 fatty acids than any other green plant plus it is rich in many other nutrients.
It grows in many countries worldwide because of its ability to thrive in poor soil, only needing a two-month growing season. In parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, the middle East and Mexico they use purslane in their cuisine. It can be found in soups and salads, often as a substitute for spinach. The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible. It is great for your immune system!
Contains more Omega 3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable, containing 15 times the amount found in most iceberg lettuce.
It also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol, vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron.
It has high levels of pectin that are known to lower cholesterol.
Purslane is antibacterial, antiscorbutic (prevents/cures scurvy), depurative (great for detoxing), diuretic (increased production of urine) and febrifuge (reduces fever).
There are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments visible in the stem and flowers that are potent antioxidants and have been found to have antimutagenic properties. These properties have been tested in studies to prevent the distribution of cancer cells in the human body. Betacynanins have been tested to successfully improve cognition deficits in aged mice.
- Purslane leaves can be used to treat bee, insect and snake bites on the skin, dysentery, diarrhea, hemorrhoids and postpartum and intestinal bleeding.
- It can also act as a companion plant, able to create humid microclimates that allow surrounding plants to retain moisture. Its roots can dig through tough soil, making a passageway for other plants to ground roots.