health benefits of purslane

Purslane (Scientific name Portulaca oleracea) which is also known as red root is found in various countries commonly growing by street sides and spreads easily. It is widely considered a weed due to its abundant growth. Both the tender stems as well as the leaves of purslane are edible. They are used to make gravy, in salads and in soups since they have a nice flavour.

Nutrition information:

Purslane contains large amounts of the below –

  • Omega 3 Fatty acids (Alpha linolenic acid)
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid

Purslane also contains large amounts of anti-oxidants and can help to prevent a large number of diseases.

Health benefits of Purslane:

Omega 3 fatty acids is essential for reducing the chances of stroke, coronary heart diseases prevention of ADHD and Autism in children. Purslane is one of the few plants that contain good amounts of Omega 3 Fatty acids in its leaves and can be very beneficial for children and adults of all ages.

Purslane contains two types of betalin alkaloids. These pigments are responsible for the reddish yellow colour present in their stems and outline of leaves. In addition to imparting colour, the alkaloid pigments also have anti-mutagenic properties. This property of purslane makes it to work like a probiotic resulting in better health.

Child health

Purslane can be very useful for pregnant mothers and children. Several research studies point to the fact that Omega 3 fatty acids can reduce the probability of ADHD or Autism in children. Pregnant women consuming purslane can lower the chances of their foetus developing such developmental disorders.

Heart health

These leaves are nowadays cultivated across the globe for their health benefits. Due to the presence of Omega 3 EFAs, purslane leaves can help to strengthen the heart and prevent cardiac diseases. Raw salads can be made using purslane to derive maximum benefit from the leaves.


A tea can be made using purslane and consumed regularly to fight depression and anxiety. This again, is due to the presence of the Omega 3 fatty acids. A soup can also be made using purslane, turmeric and ginger to relieve stress.

Treat diabetes

Those who are prediabetic or diabetic can consume purslane leaves as part of their daily diet to keep blood sugar levels under control. This plant can be easily grown in the kitchen garden and is very low maintenance too.

Ideal for weight loss

Purslane is low in calories but high in nutrition. It has carbs and dietary minerals in the right amounts which makes it a great choice when on a weight loss diet. Although the leaf has substantial amounts of Omega 3 EFAs, it still is low in overall fat which is another important benefit. Purslane can be included in smoothies also to benefit from their anti-oxidant properties.

Skin care

Purslane has high amounts of alpha-tocopherol, ascorbic acid and glutathione. Ascorbic acid helps in collages synthesis and as a result helps in healing various skin conditions, promotes healthy skin and delays signs of aging. Ascorbic acid can also reverse the damage due to UV rays exposure.

Note: Purslane contains substantial amounts of oxalic acid. So, those diagnosed with kidney stones are not advised to consume purslane as it can aggravate the condition.

Research reference:

omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-tocopherol, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene and glutathione determined in leaves of purslane (Portulaca oleracea), grown in both a controlled growth chamber and in the wild, were compared in composition to spinach. Leaves from both samples of purslane contained higher amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (18:3w3) than did leaves of spinach. Chamber-grown purslane contained the highest amount of 18:3w3. Samples from the two kinds of purslane contained higher leaves of alpha-tocopherol, ascorbic acid and glutathione than did spinach.


Culinary uses

Purslane can be cooked along with moong beans, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and garlic to make a flavourful dal or curry.

A soup of purslane can be made by boiling the leafy green in water, adding spices and salt.

Ramya Srinivasan, PDGBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. As a result of her passion in native medicine, she got her Diploma in Traditional Siddha Medicine from Bharat Sevak Samaj registered under the Indian Planning Commission. She is certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.