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Nutritional Benefits of Purslane

Power-Packed Purslane: The Nutritional Benefits

Purslane has been studied by researchers and nutritionists for its very high nutritional value, containing fiber, protein, and other macronutrients and high levels of various nutrients, namely essential amino acids, organic acids, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients important for human health1,2,4,5,8,9,10.

The table below shows the nutritive value per 100g of Purslane (Portulaca oleracea).

Power-Packed Purslane: The Nutritional Benefits

In terms of nutritive value, there are some nutrients worth highlighting:

Fatty acids

  • Rich in essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Purslane is the richest vegetable origin of essential omega-3 fatty acids especially α-linolenic acid (ALA).
  • Other fatty acids: docosapentaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, catechol, a-Linolenic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, elaidic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid and oxalic acid, p-Coumaric acid, ferulic acid.

Purslane is enriched with a whole profile of fatty acids, with 10× more total fatty acids than either spinach or kale, and more than many other green plants like mint, watercress, parsley, and broccoli.

Purslane includes omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 (3:1:0.5) fatty acids, all of which provide health benefits3. It also shows the highest abundance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, with a 1:3 ratio (ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in cultivated purslane is 1:3, while in wild purslane this ratio is 1:1). Low ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 contribute to reducing the risk of many chronic illnesses3.


  • Vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), folates, pantothenic acid and thiamin as well as hesperidin and tocopherols, such as α-tocopherol.

When compared with kale and spinach, purslane contains the highest amount of the antioxidants vitamin C and E8.


  • Potassium, calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, iron, manganese, boron, zinc, selenium, and copper.

Purslane contains higher levels of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron than spinach1 and significantly more magnesium and potassium than kale8.


  • Glutathione (antioxidant)
  • β-carotene
  • Melatonin
  • Essential amino acids and proteins
  • Portulacerebroside A
  • Dietary fiber
Power-Packed Purslane: The Nutritional Benefits

Phytochemicals and Bioactive Compounds in Purslane and Health Effects

A total of 184 phytochemicals have been identified for purslane, a number much higher than that reported for kale and spinach, with a total of 118 compounds identified3,8, and among these compounds, 124 are unique to purslane8.

The compounds found in purslane include a wide range of secondary metabolites with potential beneficial health effects, including flavonoids, homoisoflavonoids, anthocyanins, alkaloids, betalains and terpenoids, lignans, phenolic acids, and catecholamines2.

Important phytochemicals reported for purslane2.


Oleracein A, B, C, D, E, K, L



Aurantiamide acetate






















Portuloside A






Phenolic acids

Caffeic acid

p-coumaric acid

Ferulic acid

Gallic acid

Gentisic acid

Benzoic acid

Anisic acid

Vanillic acid







(+)-Lirioresinol A

Fatty acids

Α-linolenic acid

Linoleic acid


Again it is worth highlighting some of the most important bioactive compounds found in purslane and their purported beneficial health effects1,2,5:

Flavonoids (a class of phenolic compounds)

  • antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anti-tumor, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fertility, antimicrobial, and antidiabetic effects


  • anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic


  • antioxidant, anti-inflammatory. antitumor


  • anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, neuroprotective, antidiabetic


  • antioxidant


  • antioxidant, hepatoprotective, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-hypoxia effects


  • antioxidant

Phenolic acids

  • antioxidant, anticancer


  • neuroprotective

Polyunsaturated fatty acids and polysaccharides

  • immunomodulator, hypoglycaemic, hypolipidaemic and insulin resistance reducer effects.


Purslane has thus, many medicinal and pharmacological properties1,2,5,6,7,11,12,13,14,15, such as:

Power-Packed Purslane: The Nutritional Benefits
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant properties (due to its phenolic compound and omega-3 fatty acid abundance, particularly α-linolenic acid, vitamin A, tocopherols, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene)
  • Radical scavenger
  • Immuno-modulatory
  • Anti-tumor and anti-cancer
  • Antimicrobial and antibacterial
  • Anti-hyperglycemic and anti-hyperlipidemic
  • Gastroprotective and neuroprotective
  • Renoprotective and hepatoprotective effects
  • Anti-diabetic (regulate the lipid and sugar metabolism)
  • Analgesic, anti-spasmodic and antiseptic
  • Anti-insomnia
  • Skeletal muscle-relaxant
  • Wound-healing
  • Diuretic
  • Febrifuge and vermifuge

There are also reports of purslane being used in the treatment of several illnesses, such as gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders, liver inflammation, kidney and bladder ulcers, fevers, insomnia, headaches, and for sugar and lipid regulation5.


One of the facts that makes purslane so unique is that phytochemical studies have shown that this plant is one of the richest terrestrial sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and has a high content of antioxidants – vitamins A and C, alpha-tocopherol, β-carotene, and glutathione, endowing it with an enormous nutraceutical potential2,9. More surprising is the “very high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, especially α-linolenic acid, gamma-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, which are not generally synthesized in terrestrial plants2.”

However, although purslane has been referred to as a “wonder crop2,” it is still nowadays one of the most underutilized crops worldwide2. There are records of its use for many centuries and in different countries as food and medicine, however, it has never seemed to catch the general public attention.

But it should.

Besides the enormous nutraceutical value of this plant, in terms of sustainable food production, purslane also possesses very relevant traits, which make it “an important crop for the future2.” Purslane is highly tolerant to salinity and due to global water scarcity, water-efficient crops will certainly play an important role in food production. Therefore, purslane can be “promoted as a biosaline crop for future food and nutritional security2.” It also constitutes an alternative source of omega-3 fatty acids, not just for vegans and vegetarians, but for everyone, contributing to reducing the pressure on delicate fish ecosystems and naturally increasing the consumption of these essential and healthful fatty acids.


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