Red Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) has been harvested since ancient times. It is a food plant in the family Portulacaceae which is native to India although it is also commonly found growing out of sidewalk cracks and in wild yards in the United States. The plant, however, is mostly sold in high-priced organic food stores making this vegetable a “luxury” item. As well as making its way to the United States, the plant has earlier “roots” in the Mediterranean. In early colonial America, the plant was best known as Pot Herb, and it was cooked mostly for its variety of medicinal uses.
This is perhaps one of the most nutritional plants to eat. It is a high source of Vitamin A, C, E and it is considered one of the best sources of antioxidants. Recent studies have found that this herb has very high concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as beta-carotene and glutathione. As if that was not enough, this plant is rich in minerals, with high concentrations of iron, manganese, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. All of this makes Purslane work great as an anti-inflammatory. In addition to this, purslane has anti-microbial properties which are effective in treating skin conditions (ex: cuts, psoriasis, dermatitis, boils, etc.) Purslane is also known to help treat digestive problems like irritable bowl syndrome, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, cystitis, and ulcerative colitis.
Growing Information: Regular but mostly dry soil works just fine for growing these seeds. They prefer to be scattered loosely on top of the soil and left in an area that has mostly clear ground and gets full sun most of the day. DO NOT COVER THE SEEDS WITH ANY SOIL ONCE THEY HAVE BEEN SCATTERED. Once the seeds have been started there should be very little care needed as the same traits that make it a weed also make it an easy herb to grow. Because this plant can become invasive it needs to be harvested regularly before flowering.
The seeds should be planted during the last two weeks of winter frost right before the spring fully begins since this plant is known to best thrive in high temperature. Purslane is best grown in Zones 3 and warmer. Plants should ideally be where they will receive full sun in a soil that has a P.H of around 7.0 and that is well draining. If not submitted to cool and damp conditions the plant should need very little care. Germination usually happens in about a week after planting.
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