MEDILOGIN | Medical Academy

Purslane – The new “Power-Food”?

Purslane is also known as parsley, verdolaga, or red root and is an annual succulent in the Portulacaceae family. It is widespread in the temperate zones: in the Mediterranean region, America, and Asia. From the culinary point of view, it can be used as a vegetable or spice.

What substances does it contain?

Chemical elements

Purslane contains chemical elements like potassium, magnesium, and calcium, and constitutes a source of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and gamma-linolenic acid. Alpha-linoleic acid is an essential nutrient and plays an important role in inflammatory processes.

Polysaccharides and glutathione

Moreover, purslane contains polysaccharides and glutathione. The latter is capable of preventing damage to important cellular components caused by free oxygen radicals, among other things.

Vitamins

It also has a very high amount of beta-carotene (precursor to vitamin A), alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and B-complex vitamins like niacin, pyridoxine, and riboflavin (1).

Evidence based medicine - properties of purslane

Protective concerning arterial hypertension and diabetes

A 2016 study performed in adults with type 2 diabetes showed that purslane decreased the blood pressure significantly. Moreover, patients with diabetes showed a significant decline in HbA1c, a parameter used to measure the long-term control of diabetes, due to the intake of purslane extract (2).

Antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects

In addition, purslane possesses antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activities against common fungi like Candida albicans (3), viruses like the Herpes simplex virus (4), and bacteria like Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

Anti-inflammatory effects

Purslane inhibits Tumor Necrosis Factor α, which is responsible for the production of free oxygen radicals, among other damaging reactions in the body (5).

Antiulcerogenic and liver protective activity

Moreover, it represents an effective therapeutic agent for gastrointestinal diseases due to its gastroprotective activity. It also has protective activity of the liver, as studies in mice showed that elevated liver enzymes could be decreased significantly by purslane extract (6).

Telomere protection function of purslane

Purslane is a medicinal plant with a multitude of healthy properties. Furthermore, studies in mice have shown that it has the capacity to protect the telomere length (7). The telomere is a region at each end of a chromosome which protects the end of that chromosome from deterioration.

There is evidence that oxidative stress-mediated damage of our DNA (the molecule encoding our genetic code) is an important determinant of telomere shortening (8). Telomere shortening is associated with aging, mortality, and aging-related diseases (9).

Conclusion

Taking into account the telomere protective function of purslane and its high nutritive and antioxidant properties, purslane can be described as the new “power food”.

Table of Contents

Bibliography

  1. Uddin MK, Juraimi AS, Hossain MS, Nahar MA, Ali ME, Rahman MM. Purslane weed (Portulaca oleracea): a prospective plant source of nutrition, omega-3 fatty acid, and antioxidant attributes. Scientific World Journal. 2014 Feb 10;2014:951019.
  2. Wainstein J, Landau Z, Bar Dayan Y, Jakubowicz D, Grothe T, Perrinjaquet-Moccetti T, Boaz M. Purslane Extract and Glucose Homeostasis in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial of Efficacy and Safety. J Med Food. 2016 Feb;19(2):133-40.
  3. Oh K.-B., Chang I.-M., Hwang K.-J., Mar W. Detection of antifungal activity in Portulaca oleracea by a single-cell bioassay system. Phytotherapy Research. 2000;14(5):329–332.
  4. Dong C.-X., Hayashi K., Lee J.-B., Hayashi T. Characterization of structures and antiviral effects of polysaccharides from Portulaca oleracea L. Chemical & Pharmaceutical Bulletin (Tokyo) 2010;58(4):507–510.
  5. Zhou YX, Xin HL, Rahman K, Wang SJ, Peng C, Zhang H. Portulaca oleracea L.: a review of phytochemistry and pharmacological effects. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:925631. doi: 10.1155/2015/925631. Epub 2015 Jan 26.
  6. Elkhayat E. S., Ibrahim S. R. M., Aziz M. A. Portulene, a new diterpene from Portulaca oleracea L. Journal of Asian Natural Products Research. 2008;10(11-12):1039–1043.
  7. Hongxing Z, Nancai Y, Guofu H, Jianbo S, Yanxia W, Hanju H, Qian L, Wei M, Yandong Y, Hao H.
  8. Neuroprotective effects of purslane herb aquenous extracts against D-galactose induced neurotoxicity. Chem Biol Interact. 2007 Dec 15;170(3):145-52.
  9. Richter T, von Zglinicki T. A continuous correlation between oxidative stress and telomere shortening in fibroblasts. Experimental Gerontology 2007 Nov. 42 (11): 1039–42.
  10. López-Otín, C, Blasco, MA., Partridge, L, Serrano, M, Kroemer, G. The hallmarks of aging. Cell 2013 Jun. 153 (6): 1194–1217.