Purslane: The Marvelous Herb That Saves Lives

Purslane, also known as verdolaga, is no longer just an invasive garden plant but has now become a highly sought-after commodity.

This incredible plant is making a triumphant comeback to upscale eateries and farmer’s markets, thanks to its unique combination of health benefits and delicious flavor. And guess what? Even famous people like Mahatma Gandhi hold it in high regard!

If you see this in your yard, do not break it under any circumstances. It saves lives!

Embracing the “Miracle Plant”

Purslane, previously known as hogweed and pigweed, is finally receiving the recognition it deserves as a beneficial weed. Dr. Artemis Simopoulos of the Centre for Genetics, Nutrition, and Health has even hailed it as a “miracle plant.” In fact, Purslane has been found to have the highest concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids among all leafy greens. It’s truly a nutritional powerhouse!

A Taste of Tradition

Not only is Purslane packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, but its teardrop-shaped succulent leaves also add a slightly spicy, lemony flavor to dishes. Sergio Vitale, chef and owner of Chicago’s Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano, fondly recalls his childhood in southern Italy where Purslane was cherished and used in traditional cuisine.

Reviving a Forgotten Gem

Although Purslane was beloved by early Americans like Martha Washington, its popularity declined in the early 1900s. But thanks to creative chefs, foragers, and farmers, this useful herb has experienced a resurgence in recent years. From raw salads to pickled delights, Purslane is once again in the spotlight.

Try a Simple and Delicious Recipe

Looking to incorporate Purslane into your meals? Give this easy Purslane and basil pesto recipe a try:

Things needed:

  • 2 cups of young, roughly cut, and rinsed Purslane stems and leaves
  • 45 grams of washed basil leaves
  • One garlic clove
  • 40 grams of toasted almonds
  • Half of a lemon’s juice
  • A half-milliliter bottle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Toss the almonds, basil, garlic, lemon juice, and Purslane in a food processor.
  2. Mix everything together by pulsing.
  3. Emulsify the mixture by slowly streaming in the olive oil while the machine is running.
  4. Add salt and pepper according to your taste.
  5. Use this aromatic pesto to enhance toasted sandwiches, roast veggies, meat, or mix it with pasta for a delicious meal.

Unlocking the Health Benefits

Purslane offers a myriad of dietary advantages that are worth exploring:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Brain and Heart Health: Vegans looking to meet their omega-3 fatty acid needs can turn to Purslane for this essential nutrient.

  • Antioxidant Powerhouse: Loaded with antioxidants like glutathione, Purslane protects cells, fights damage, and slows down the aging process.

  • A Wealth of Essential Minerals: Calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and folate are just some of the minerals found in Purslane, making it a valuable addition to a healthy diet.

  • Boost Your Immune System: By consuming Purslane, you can benefit from a daily dose of vitamin C, which supports a strong and healthy immune system.

  • A Source of Vitamin A Precursor: Beta-carotene, found abundantly in Purslane, acts as a precursor to vitamin A and helps address common deficiencies.

  • Melatonin for Better Sleep: Surprisingly, Purslane contains melatonin, a hormone crucial for regulating sleep-wake cycles.

  • Protect Your Heart: The antioxidant betalain in Purslane helps lower cholesterol and protects blood vessels from damage, ultimately benefiting heart health.

  • Promote Mood and Fight Depression: Purslane is a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which aids in mood regulation and fights depression.

Embrace the Potentials of Purslane

As you savor the culinary and medicinal benefits of Purslane, take a moment to appreciate its beauty. This versatile plant, with its abundance of Omega-3 fatty acids and melatonin, offers an endless array of health benefits and flavors. Join the movement and encourage your friends to discover the wonders of Purslane too!