Purslane is a low-growing succulent like plant that is found around the world (except Antarctica), in gardens and flowerbeds, in the cracks of sidewalks and driveways and by fields and in the wilderness. It grows without any help in sun or shade, in any soil an climate, without fertilizer or water.
Purslane is very healthy to eat. The succulent like leaves are mild in flavor and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Eating 5 sprigs of purslane a day provides over 550mg of calcium. It’s antibacterial and its leaves are a very rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which prevents heart attacks and strengthens the immune system. Purslane also has a cooling effect on the body, and its alkalinity is helpful in alleviating acidic stomachs and various other ailments stemming from acidic or toxic conditions.
Purslane is delicious! I love adding it to salads. After picking it, I always rinse and dry it before I use it. When rinsing it, you’ll find little black seeds at the bottom of the bowl or salad spinner. Just add the water and seeds to your garden or raised beds and grow more purslane
If you aren’t able to forage for it where you live, I’ve seen it available in Farmer’s Markets in California and New York.
Apparently, King Henry VIII (1491-1547) held a high regard for purslane. He was very interested in botanical medicine and has over 100 favorite recipes archived in the British Museum. One purslane remedy relieved his prostrate problems, which involved taking 1 cupful of chopped purslane leaves and covering them in bowl with 3 cups of boiling water, and steeping it for 30 minutes, strain and sip several cupfuls.
*Do not confuse purslane with hairy-stemmed spurge, which is poisonous. They are easy to tell apart because the stems and leaves of spurge are much thinner than purslane’s thick, succulent ones. Also, when you break spurge’s stem, a white, milky sap will leak out of it, which it doesn’t with purslane.