Portulaca (Portulaca oleracea) is a herbaceous plant spread spontaneously. Today portulaca is an undervalued herb, because it is considered a weed, perhaps because many do not know its beneficial properties: it is diuretic, purifying, thirst-quenching and more. Let's discover everything about it.
Portulaca (Portulaca oleracea) is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the Portulacaceae family and that grows wild in vegetable gardens and gardens. It is an herb native to India and since ancient times this plant was appreciated for its therapeutic properties: it was used in Egypt as a medical herb. However, today portulaca is an undervalued herb, because it is considered an infesting weed, perhaps because many do not know its beneficial properties: it is diuretic, purifying, thirst-quenching and more. Let’s discover more about its properties and how to use it in the kitchen in our recipes.
Beneficial properties of portulaca oleracea
Portulaca is an excellent vegetable source of Omega 3, polyunsaturated fatty acids that bring great benefits to our body. Thanks to the presence of these so-called "good fats" and alpha-linoleic acid, portulaca helps reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood and triglycerides, preventing cardiovascular diseases. This spontaneous herb is very appreciated also for its purifying, diuretic, thirst quenching and anti diabetic properties: it is therefore useful in case of hypertension, water retention, cirrhosis of the liver, renal or cardiac distress. Its leaves are also rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and B vitamins, while among the mineral salts we mainly find iron, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, calcium and magnesium. As a natural remedy, portulaca is also used to fight vomiting and diarrhea, and it is also particularly effective against hemorrhoids. The packs made with its leaves are useful for insect bites, dermatitis or eczema.
How to use the portulaca for your recipes
Portulaca oleracea can be easily found in vegetable gardens, meadows and gardens, but you can also buy it from the greengrocer, while it is more difficult to find it in large supermarkets. Once brought home, you can use the portulaca in the kitchen for your preparations. The ideal thing would be to eat it raw for the preparation of summer salads: its taste is slightly salty and acidulous, similar to that of lemon. However, those who prefer can prepare soups with it, but also first courses, omelettes or a filling for pasta. In your recipe use the most tender leaves and twigs. Fresh portulaca is often combined with rocket, but it is also excellent in mixed salads with cucumbers, onions and cherry tomatoes, seasoned with extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar and oregano.
If you want to prepare a fast and tasty omelette with portulaca, wash it well, dry it and take only the leaves and the most tender stems. In a bowl mix the eggs with the milk, the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Fry the portulaca leaves in a pan with extra virgin olive oil. As soon as it is cooked, pour over the beaten eggs with the milk and cook over low heat on both sides.