The Remarkable Purslane: A Prized Superfood for Healthy Living

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

Verdolaga, also known as purslane, is no longer considered an invasive plant. Its unique blend of health benefits and delicious flavor has propelled it back into the spotlight, gracing upscale eateries and farmer’s markets alike. This incredible plant, once referred to as hogweed and pigweed, is now recognized as a superfood and has even garnered admiration from influential figures like Mahatma Gandhi.

Dr. Artemis Simopoulos of the Centre for Genetics, Nutrition, and Health dubbed purslane a “miracle plant.” Its resilient nature allows it to thrive in gardens and even sprout through cracks in pavement. During his research at the NIH, Dr. Simopoulos discovered that purslane has the highest concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids among leafy greens.

The succulent, teardrop-shaped leaves of purslane are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritional powerhouse. But that’s not all – these leaves also offer a slightly spicy and lemony flavor. Sergio Vitale, chef and owner of Chicago’s Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano, reminisces about his childhood in southern Italy and fondly recalls the use of purslane in meals.

In the early 1900s, the popularity of raw and pickled purslane waned, despite its adoration by early Americans like Martha Washington. Fortunately, innovative chefs, foragers, and farmers have reignited interest in this versatile herb in recent years.

When working with wild purslane, it is crucial to thoroughly wash the plant to remove any pesticide residues. With its mildly salty and tart taste, purslane serves as an excellent complement to a variety of dishes.

Try this Easy Purslane and Basil Pesto Recipe

What you’ll need:

  • 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
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • A half-milliliter bottle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Place almonds, basil, garlic, lemon juice, and purslane in a food processor.
  2. Pulse the ingredients together until mixed.
  3. While the machine is running, slowly add the olive oil to emulsify the mixture.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, according to your liking.
  5. Enjoy this aromatic pesto on toasted sandwiches, roasted veggies, meats, or mixed with pasta for a delightful meal.

The Dietary Advantages of Purslane

Let’s delve into the numerous dietary benefits offered by purslane:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Purslane is an excellent plant-based source for vegans who want to support brain and heart health.
  • Antioxidants: Rich in antioxidants like glutathione, purslane helps protect cells, combat damage, and slow down the aging process.
  • Minerals Galore: This remarkable plant contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and folate – minerals vital for overall health.
  • Vitamin C Boost: With purslane, you can easily meet your daily vitamin C requirements, supporting a robust immune system.
  • Beta-Carotene: Purslane is an abundant source of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which helps address common deficiencies.
  • Melatonin: Surprisingly, purslane includes melatonin, a hormone that plays a crucial role in regulating sleep patterns.
  • Heart Health Support: The antioxidant betalain found in purslane helps lower cholesterol levels and protects blood vessels from damage.
  • Mood Regulation: This plant also provides the amino acid tryptophan, which aids in mood regulation and fights depression.

As you savor the culinary and medicinal benefits of purslane, take a moment to relish its beauty. The abundance of Omega-3 fatty acids and melatonin makes purslane an incredibly versatile and health-promoting plant.