A common weed found all over the United States and beyond, Purslane is more than just an annoying pest, it’s a healing medicinal worth much praise.
In China, Purslane is known as Ma Chi Xian, and has numerous health benefits. In the US, this plant is known to tolerate all kinds of soil and weather, and can grow up to 20 inches high, often growing from sidewalk cracks, stepped on by countless varieties of shoes and feet. If only more people knew how amazing this often overlooked plant truly is!
Noxious Weed or Superfood?
The U.S. department of agriculture classifies Purslane as a “noxious weed”, however, it’s been used in Eastern and Western herbalist traditions to heal anything from dysentery to boils and sores, eczema, hemorrhoids and abnormal uterine bleeding. It’s known to have the highest amount of Omega-3 fatty acids of any other green plant and has been used not only in ancient traditions but in culinary circles around the world.
Easy to grow, delicious to eat, it’s no wonder Purslane is enjoying a Renaissance. Early Americans also enjoyed Purslane, with Martha Washington enjoying a recipe for pickled “pursland” in the Booke of Cookery and Booke of Sweetmeats—a collection of hand-written family recipes she received as a wedding gift, according to mountvernon.org.
Convincing the Masses
People are still confused on what to do with this mysterious weed, is it a miracle or an overrated weed? Education is key, be it in the kitchen or garden, but once you know the benefits and the joys of eating Purslane, you’ll be forever grateful. As stated before, it has an impressive amount of Omega 3 Fatty Acids for a green plant as well as a party of vitamins and minerals. This is a nutrient powerhouse, with antioxidants, anti-cancer tannins and more health qualities previously unimaginable. Vitamin A, B, C, E—six times more vitamin E than spinach as well as beta carotene (seven times more than carrots), magnesium, calcium, potassium, folate, lithium, iron and protein!
Growing Purslane Indoors
- First, buy Purslane seeds from a reputable supplier that provides chemical-free options (you can buy certified USDA organic purslane seeds from amazon here). Fill an empty container with drainage holes at the bottom with organic potting soil, sow the seeds by scattering them evenly over the soil. (You can buy the container here and organic potting soil here.)
- Now you’ll want to place the container on a sunny windowsill, and if the weather is warm outside, place them outdoors. These plants will need lots of sun and light, so make sure they are in a part of the house where they will receive several hours of daylight per day. If not, consider buying a grow light designed for growing seedlings. You can find one here.
- Water the soil until it’s moist, but not soggy and keep the soil moist every day while the seeds are germinating. The Purslane will begin to grow within two weeks.