You might step right over this plant every day and not realize it. Just under your feet may very well lie a powerful immune-system booster, cancer fighter, and delicious addition to your salad. This stealthy succulent is purslane, and you will never disregard it as just another weed again.
Originally native to India and North Africa, purslane, or Portulaca oleracea, now grows all over the world. Most in North America still consider it a weed, but many cultures grow the green for culinary uses. It is known for its slightly sour and salty taste, which is found in its meaty leaves and stems.
It has often been used for animal feed, which has earned it the moniker “pig weed." Those were probably some pretty healthy pigs, as purslane has a large number of health benefits that science has become aware of. Purslane is a great source of vitamin A, which aids in ocular health, and is also a strong ally in the fight against various cancers. It is also one of the greatest sources of omega-3 fats on earth, even outpacing some types of fish oil.
The benefits don’t stop there! This magical little plant also contains two different chemicals with strong antioxidant properties: betaxanthin and reddish beta-cyanis. In addition, purslane is full of vitamin C, B vitamins, carotenoids, and small amounts of calcium, magnesium, and iron.
You don’t just have to take our word for it. Check out the video below for more information on this important occupant of your backyard medicine cabinet. Just remember to give it a wash before you head out to the yard with your fork and salad dressing in hand.