translated from a website in French

le pourpier Portulacca oleracea


The portulacaceae are small herbaceous leaves usually fleshy sometimes succulent and whose fruit is a capsule that releases at maturity many very small seeds.

Common purslane is widespread and grows year round in the tropics as well as in warm temperate regions. It grows easily and quickly both in "rich" soil and on "poor", rocky or sandy substrates.

The fleshy stems are often reddish, recumbent and covering the ground or erect, its fleshy leaves slightly shiny on their upper surface and its taproot that penetrates deeply into even fairly hard soil, allow it to withstand drought episodes.
Purslane also has the possibility of adapting its metabolism (crassulacean acid metabolism) to climatic conditions (great drought or great heat).


The yellow flowers only last a day and the capsular fruit is full of black seeds, less than 1 mm in size, which are easily carried hence the ubiquity of this small plant

pourpier, Portulacca oleracea

In regions with cold winters, it is an annual plant that grows during summer and fall.

It is considered an invasive herb because it covers fairly quickly weeded soils (vegetable crops, gardens).
Common purslane is now found throughout the tropical world and in most temperate countries.

There are many species of Portulaca, some are decorative, with mauve, purple, pink flowers, others are more banal and, unlike Portulaca oleracea, many are very bitter (they are called little quinine).

A related species, Portulaca lutea (yellow purslane), is present in the Pacific Islands, often very close to the seacoast, it has saved many crews from the ravages of scurvy and is commonly eaten by the populations of the Pacific Islands.

Other "edible purslane" are of different botanical genera, such as: Atriplex halimus = sea purslane, Claytonia perfoliata or winter purslane native to the American West.


The common purslane Portulaca oleracea is rich:

- in vitamin C: 10 to 20 mg per 100g of fresh leaves,

- in essential fatty acids, it is even one of the land plants which contains in percentage the most omega 3 fatty acids, example: 100 g of leaves and stems of common purslane could contain 300 to 400 mg of alpha linolenic acid.
The seeds (tiny but numerous) contain even more (80 to 170 mg / g); alpha linolenic acid represents 60% of the fatty acids in the leaf and 40% in the seed. We also note the presence of 0.01 mg / g of eicosapentaenoic acid, an omega3 fatty acid generally produced in the marine environment.

- carotene (22 to 33 mg / g of fresh leaf), vitamin A and vitamins of group B.

- Common purslane provides potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. It contains a lot of oxalic acid (partly responsible for the tart taste of the leaves). It is a plant which tolerates slightly saline soils, it contains in these conditions more sodium chloride or other sodium and magnesium salts.

- Purslane is said to be rich in the neurotransmitter (noradrenaline = norepinephrine), a natural hormone which, in active doses, contracts the blood vessels and can therefore increase blood pressure.

- Finally, purslane is a source of phenolic compounds, frequent in plants, and which are natural antioxidants: flavonoids (in particular dyes such as betalaine), phenol acids.
We also note the presence of a small amount of not very active alkaloids.

This ubiquitous little plant has been the subject of recent studies around the world:

Arab and Egyptian researchers have shown that the aqueous extract of the sativa variety is active on the central and peripheral nervous system, leading to a decrease in the animal's activity, its threshold of response to external stimuli, and reduced muscle tone. , an anticonvulsant effect.
The 10% ethanolic extract of the leaves and stems is analgesic intraperitaoneally and locally in mice but without digestive effect.

In Iran: purslane would reduce or even heal oral lichen planus, which is difficult to treat other than by surgery.

In China: betacyanin dyes in purslane would help fight against cerebral senescence.

In Japan: some purslane polysaccharides are said to be antiviral.

In Turkey: Adding dried purslane to the diet of laying hens increases egg production, improves the omega6 / omega3 ratio of egg lipids but does not decrease the amount of total cholesterol.


This small, discreet but cosmopolitan plant has been consumed for centuries in salads, in soups, it provides mineral salts, vitamin C and carotene, essential fatty acids. It is part of the famous "Cretan diet" which decreases the risk of cardiovascular disorders.

The closely related Portulaca lutea species, growing on the beaches of the islands and atolls of the Pacific, has been an important source of vitamin C both for sailors suffering from scurvy and for populations of isolated atolls (Tuamotu, Kiribati, Tuvalu) .

A former author estimated at 1 kg per week and per person the consumption of yellow purslane in the Phoenix Islands (South Pacific). Common purslane is now present in all of these islands; in Polynesia some use it to improve pig feed.

Nowadays, few people know it or consume it, people eliminates this plant considered to invasive, it is nevertheless encountered in certain tropical markets or in countries around the Mediterranean.

We can only encourage the consumption or even the cultivation of this small dietetic plant, only hypertensive people and those who suffer from calcium oxalate urolithiasis (kidney stones) should be wary of it.

The purslane which grows on slightly salty grounds (seaside, salt marshes, irrigated fields polluted by salt) contain much more mineral salts of sodium, magnesium, be careful when you have to follow a salt-free diet.

Purslane is also a very old medicinal plant (Mediterranean rim, Arabian peninsula, tropical America).

Many use it fresh, crushed and mixed with a fatty substance as an ointment on muscle "tears", sprains, injuries to soft tissue, or to soothe irritated skin, to prevent skin aging (supply of protective fatty acids and antioxidants).

The juice of crushed fresh leaf is used to "cleanse the eyes" in case of conjunctivitis, inflammation of the eyelids.

The leaves and stems crushed and mixed with water give a liquid considered antidiabetic.

Purslane herbal tea or soup is soothing, relaxing (which corresponds to the observations of Arab researchers), "refreshing" and diuretic.

The seeds alone (tiny) were used until recently in the West Indies to eliminate intestinal parasites (10g of seeds in ½ liter of milk, boil, 1 glass in the morning) but no pharmacological study justifies this indication.


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Common purslane is a small, prostrate plant with "fleshy" leaves full of vitamin C, carotene and essential fatty acids and antioxidant phenolic compounds.
It is widespread in all hot and warm temperate regions,
it is very easy to grow even in temperate countries,
it is a good wild salad, interesting from a dietary point of view, which soothes and relaxes the nerves.
It is not recommended for people with kidney stones because of its oxalic acid content.