Purslane was growing in Australia before white man came. Early explorers observed Indigenous Australians collecting the tiny black seeds to mix with water and cook in hot ashes. The flavour of the seed is much like linseed. An annual plant and extremely hardy, purslane grows as a thick, mat-like ground cover with succulent stems, often with a red tinge; oval, succulent leaves, 1-3cm long.
Leaves are mild in flavour, slightly sour, mucilaginous, and an excellent source of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, potassium omega 3 fatty acids and magnesium. Eating 5 sprigs 10cm long of purslane daily, provides over 550mg of calcium: a great nutritional benefit to the bones for anyone from toddler to later years.
Purslane has a cooling effect on the body, and its high alkalinity is helpful in alleviating acidic stomachs and various other ailments stemming from acidic or toxic conditions.
Use leaves fresh, added to salads, stir-fries, quiche, egg dishes, soups, and pickled. For relieving thirst, purslane leaves are held under the tongue.
Purslane has a long history of therapeutic uses. Valued as a tonic to the liver, the intestines and the whole body, it is an ancient Chinese herb for longevity. The plant contains dopamine, which has been found of real advantage for strengthening the pituitary gland and treating Parkinson s Disease and other shaking disorders.
Many people esteem and eat purslane for the powerful antioxidant properties and its alkalising benefits.