What are the Benefits of Purslane?
Purslane, also known as pirpirim, is a warm-climate, herbaceous, succulent and annual plant.
Purslane, also known as pirpirim, is a warm-climate, herbaceous, succulent and annual plant. Purslane has been determined by the World Health Organization as one of the most used medicinal plants. Purslane, which can grow in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Australia, consists of fleshy stems and leaves. This plant, spread over a wide geography, is a type of herb used in soups, salads and meals. According to data, it is known to have a wide range of benefits such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antiulcerogenic.
Purslane has rich nutritional value, which has positive effects on eye, bone and muscle health, wound healing and immune system, antioxidant balance of the body and cardiovascular health. These effects are caused by the compounds it contains, such as various vitamins, minerals, proteins, fatty acids, flavonoids, alkaloids, polysaccharides and sterols. Growing in a wide variety of regions, purslane is widely found among field crops as well as grass areas.
Considering the information among the public for years, it is seen that it is used as a laxative, muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory, and in the treatment of osteoporosis and psoriasis. It is reported to be useful as a herbal medicine for bloody dysentery, eczema, snake and insect bites. In addition, some sources show that it cleans the blood from urea and other toxins, is good for constipation due to the high fiber it contains, reduces nervous breakdowns and brain fatigue, and helps pass kidney stones and sand.
Purslane consists of a smooth, reddish, hairless stem parallel to the ground and green-yellow leaves. It is a slightly sour, salty and completely edible plant. Thanks to its robust structure, it is a grass that can grow in dry and hot regions without needing much water. It can be easily cultivated and is one of the ideal foods for regions with a shortage of food resources. It is the plant with the highest vitamin content among green leafy vegetables and is extremely nutritious. Additionally, purslane extracts appear to have some antibacterial and antifungal properties against microorganisms.
What Does Purslane Contain?
Purslane plant has many medicinally important components. Purslane leaves, stems and flowers contain many chemical compounds such as flavonoids, alkaloids, polysaccharides and sterols, vitamins and minerals. In addition, purslane contains high amounts of omega-3 components, which are unsaturated fatty acids.
Purslane is a good source of alpha-linolenic acid. Alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that plays a role in growth and development and disease prevention. Since the human body cannot synthesize omega-3, it must be obtained from the diet. Minerals found in significant amounts in purslane:
In addition to being high in minerals, purslane has the highest vitamin A content among green leafy vegetables. In addition to vitamin A, which is a natural antioxidant, B complex vitamins such as thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6); It is a rich source of glutathione, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, vitamins E and C. Therefore, purslane has an important place in nutrition with its antioxidant content.
What are the effects of purslane on human health?
Purslane is one of the important nutrients that can be good for the immune system, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and inflammation problems. The effects of purslane on human health can be detailed as follows:
Cardiovascular health: Thanks to the omega-3 component it contains, it helps reduce blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increase beneficial high-density lipoprotein. Instead of fish oils, which have high calories and cholesterol, purslane, which does not contain cholesterol, is a useful source of omega-3. Omega-3 may be effective in the treatment of vascular diseases against clotting due to its ability to reduce blood density.
Cancer: Compounds that help prevent cellular damage by reducing the number of free radicals in the body are called antioxidants. Antioxidants contribute to reducing the risk of cancer in the body. Antioxidants found in purslane are beta-carotene, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and melatonin compounds. These compounds have the potential to help prevent cardiovascular diseases as well as cancer by neutralizing free radicals.
Bone and muscle system: Purslane is a good option for bone and muscle health due to the significant amounts of calcium and magnesium in its structure. Calcium is one of the most common minerals found in bones and muscles, and its deficiency can weaken the skeletal system. In addition to calcium, magnesium is also a mineral that affects bone health. Getting enough calcium and magnesium minerals helps reduce the risk of bone diseases caused by aging. Additionally, some studies report that purslane ointment helps reduce the severity of pain in elderly patients with chronic muscle and skeletal pain.
Growth and development: Purslane is a rich source of folate, which helps in safe cell division and DNA multiplication. Folate is a nutritional component that is recommended to be taken especially before and during pregnancy. Because various birth defects may occur in babies with folate deficiency.
Nervous system disorders: According to recent studies, it may be a promising treatment option for some nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, epilepsy and hypoxia through multiple mechanisms such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects. However, additional research is needed to determine the long-term mechanisms and consequences of its neurological effects.
Purslane is widely used in various fields in many countries. It is popularly used as a muscle relaxant, diuretic and anti-inflammatory, as well as for the treatment of fever, diarrhea, dysentery, eczema, psoriasis and hematochezia (bloody stools). Within the scope of all these treatments, it functions as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory (substance or treatment that reduces inflammation and edema) and antioxidant.
What are the Side Effects of Purslane?
Purslane leaves have high oxalate content. High amounts of oxalates are linked to the formation of kidney stones. Purslane seeds have higher oxalate values than other parts. Individuals who have or are prone to kidney stones should be especially careful when eating purslane seeds. If you consume a large amount of food, be sure to consult your doctor. Additionally, purslane seeds tend to retain more salt due to their watery structure. Individuals with a salt-free or low-salt diet should be careful about consuming purslane so that they do not consume too much salt.
Since some individuals may develop allergic reactions to purslane, allergy status should be checked.
It is necessary to be especially careful about the safety and effectiveness of herbal medicines. The possible effects of multicomponent purslane mixtures need to be better investigated pharmacologically and physiologically. Traditional purslane formulations should not be used in high doses and for long periods of time, which may cause toxicity.
How to Consume Purslane?
Purslane is widely grown in various climates and regions. Since it is sour, salty and juicy, it adds flavor to salads and dishes. The leaves and stems, raw, are an ideal option for salads, alone or with other vegetables. Purslane can also be cooked and consumed in the form of food or soup. The leaves, flowers and stems of purslane, which can also be consumed as pickle, are completely edible.
Purslane needs to be washed carefully to completely remove soil and pesticides. It can usually be easily found during the spring and summer seasons. It can be consumed as a side dish, sauteed, or mixed with grilled vegetables. It can easily be used with foods from different food groups with various sauces and spices.
Individuals with serious health problems should consult their doctor before consuming large amounts of purslane or using supplements containing purslane components. In case of a possible allergic reaction after consuming purslane, it is important to consult a health institution as soon as possible.