|By pinoyfarmer | March 12, 2011|
Portulaca, common name for a family of plants in the pink order, comprising a small, widespread group of more or less succulent herbs and subshrubs, with concentrations of species along the Pacific coast of North America and in southern Africa, and for its representative genus. About 21 genera and 400 species make up this family. The leaves are opposite or alternate and bear stipules (appendages, usually leaf-like, at the leaf base) that are often modified into membranous scales or hairs. The usually small flowers characteristically have only two green sepals, four to six petals and stamens, and a single ovary borne above and free from the other floral parts. The common purslane has long been used as a pot-herb and in salads. Several other species are used as ornamentals.
· Annual, prostrate or spreading, succulent, branched, smooth, often purplish herb, with the stems 10 to 50 cm long. Nodes without appendages.
· Leaves: fleshy, flat, oblong-obovate, 2.5 cm long with obtuse apex and wedge-shaped base.
· Flowers: 5-merous, comprise yellow, stalkless, axillary and terminal few-flowered heads. Heads solitary or cymose with compressed buds. Flowers with five yellow petals which are about as long as the sepals and notched at the tip. Flowers open only for a few hours in the morning.
· Fruits: capsules which dehisce horizontally containing many minute, dark brown, heart-shaped seeds.
Properties and constituents
Considered antihemorrhagic, antipyretic, diuretic, vulnerary, antiscorbic, refrigerant, tonic, febrifuge, anthelmintic.
Contains large amounts of l-norepinephrine, a neurohormone with vasopressor and antihypotensive activities.
High in nutrients, including vitamins (A, B, B2, C, niacinamide, nicotinic acid, a-tocopherol, B-carotene), minerals, fatty acids (esp omega-3), glutathione, glutamic acid and aspartic acid. Also contains flavonoids, aklaloids, saponins and urea.
Leaves are used for poulticing tumors, bad wounds and ulcers; also for blennorhagia and leucorrhea.
Leaf poultice is anti-hemorrhagic.
Seeds in decoction is an excellent diuretic.
A very common weed found throughout the Philippines in settled areas.
- Whole plant.
- Harvest when the vegetative parts are well-developed.
- Cut off the roots, steam, sun-dry.
- May also be used fresh.
Used as a vegetable component in salads. Excellent source of calcium and iron; also, vitamin C and ash.
- Poultice of leaves and tops used for cuts and wounds.
- Pounded leaves and stems for tumors, swellings, bruises, gout and erysipelas.
- Decoction of leaves used as a wash for skin diseases.
- Juice used for dysmenorrhea, dysuria, dysentery, and for expelling worms.
- The seeds have also been used as antihelmenthic and diuretic.
- For diarrhea: boil dried drug 20 to 40 gms in a cup of water to a concentrated solution and drink; fresh materials, use 40 to 100 gms.
- Poisonous bites or snake bites: get the fresh plant, wash thoroughly, add salt and crush, then cover the affected part with the preparation.
- Eczema: put crushed plant with its juice over the sensitive area.
- Acute gastroenteritis, bacillary dysentery, orchitis, nephritis, beriberi, edema: use 30 to 60 gms of dried material in decoction.
- Pulmonary tuberculosis, whooping cough: use 24 to 30 gms dried material in decoction.
- Furuncle infections: aside from treatment taking drug orally, external administration may also be applied in the form of poultice.
- In Pakistan, used for kidney, liver, urinary bladder and lung problems.
- In Iranian folk medicine, used to treat abnomal uterine bleeding.
- Anti-Ulcer / Gastroprotective: Study in mice showed inhibition of gastric lesions induced by HCl or absolute alcohol, with dose-dependent reduction in ulcer severity. The highest dose of extracts were similar to sucralfate in activity. Results suggest that P. oleracea has gastroprotective action and support its use in folk medicine for gastrointestinal diseases.
- Anti-Tumor: Study in mice showed inhibition and/or suppression of gastric tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo. An aqueous extract showed tumoricidal activity against a human gastric carcinoma cell and humn colon adenoma cell line.
- Wound Healing: Study of the fresh homogenized crude aerial parts of Portulaca oleracea applied topically on excision wound surface showed acceleration of the wound healing process with increase in tensile strength and decrease in wound surface area.
- Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory: Ethanol extract of aerial parts showed significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects with intraperitoneal application but not with oral administration. Results support some of the claimed traditional uses for relief of pain and inflammation.
- Bronchodilatory effect / Asthma: Study showed P. oleracea has a relatively potent but transient bronchodilatory effect on asthmatic airways.
- Anti-Diabetic / Decreased Insulin Resistance: Study suggests P. oleracea could improve insulin resistance in rats with T2DM, the mechanism possibly related to its actions in improving lipid metabolism and decreasing free fatty acids.
- Antitussive Effect : Study in guinea pigs showed antitussive effects of Portulaca oleracea comparable to codeine.
- Antifungal activity: Extract study showed a specific and marked activity of P. oleracea against dermatophytes of genera Tricophyton.
- Treatment of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding: Study using seed powder showed that purslane seeds could be effective and safe in the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding.
- Hypoxic Neuroprotective Effect: Study showed Portulaca oleracea extracts enhanced the EPO mRNA and protein expression in mouse cortices. Histological analysis showed the extracts lessened the inflammation damage of the mouse brain and the PO extracts or the herb-containing serum raised the viability of cells under hypoxic conditions. Results demonstrated protective effects on hypoxic nerve tissue.
- Nephroprotective: Study results suggest that P oleracea extract may protect against cisplastin-induced renal toxicity and may serve as a novel combination with cisplastin to limit renal injury.
- Antimicrobial: Study showed the methanolic extract of P oleracea seeds to be active against S aureus, B bronchiseptica and Bacillus cereus. Study has also shown the extract of PO to have antifungal properties against Aspergilus niger and C albicans.