Weeds – those nasty little plants that invade your garden and lawn are not always the pests we think they are. Sometimes they are the hidden gems of the vegetable world.
Purslane is one of these vilified bits of greenery. Instead of being a nuisance, this little wonder is chock full of Omega 3 fatty acids, the building blocks of our brains and nervous systems! Purslane is a perpetual nutritional powerhouse, whose praises go unsung in the United States.
Around the world, Purslane is recognized and sold in produce as an ancient Super Food. Greek texts from the fourth century say “It’s a plant no respectable Greek kitchen, garden or medicine cabinet is without.” Yet, here we are with no knowledge of this powerful plant.
Purslane contains more Omega 3 fatty acids than any other plant source in the solar system. It provides 8.5 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids per gram and contains vitamin A, B, C and E. This ‘weed’ reportedly has about six times more vitamin E than spinach and seven times more beta-carotene than carrots. It also has an abundance of other nutrients such as,
These make purslane is a veritable greenhouse for suffers of anxiety, stress, depression and troubled sleep! Vegetarians also have a new source of protein to add to their arsenal thanks to purslane’s high protein content (2.5% protein)!
Globetrotting Super Food
Purslane is used as a holistic treatment all over the world. Starting with Theophrastus (372-287 B.C.), the father of botany, purslane was recommended as a remedy for heart failure, scurvy, sore throats, earaches, swollen joints, and dry skin.
On a different continent, northwest Indians were using purslane tea to soothe sore throats and inflammation. Tribes from west tropical Africa were using purslane as a heart tonic and an ointment for boils and burns. In the Punjab and Cashmere, purslane weeds were recommended for inflammation of the stomach and intestinal ulceration.
Early humans ate fish, plants, or land animals that were being nourished by omega-3 fatty acids. Today, we consume a fraction of this essential nutrient. Surveys show that one-fourth of the U.S. population eats no fish whatsoever. Meanwhile, we eat a third of the amount of green leafy vegetables as our ancestors, and the eggs and meat that we eat comes from animals whose diets are artificially low in Omega-3 fatty acids.
It’s estimated that we now eat one-tenth of the amount of omega-3 fatty acids required for normal functions. Alarmingly, 20% of our population has levels so low that they defy detection.
So what happens to our brain when we lack sufficient Omega 3s?
Our brains rely on these Omega 3s to function properly. Here are just some of the problems that can develop and conditions we can treat by increasing our intake of Omega 3s –
• Memory loss
• Relieve some symptoms of depression and anxiety
• Improve cognition
“Eating a balanced diet” isn’t enough. We know now that our food has been stripped of this most essential nutrient. We need to do all we can to replace the Omega 3s we are missing to keep our brain and nervous system healthy.
There are many fun and delicious recipes containing purslane from around the world. My family loves to experiment during this season of Purslane with these new flavors. We especially enjoy the Greek Purslane Heirloom Tomato Salad. We also enjoy spreading the word about this wonder plant whose only side effect is cost-effective, pure nutrition- and sharing the seeds and plants. Eating-to-live has never been better than this!
Get our recipe for a healthy Purslane and Cucumber salad!