Purslane - cure-all or just a tasty herb?
Although I'd heard about purslane (Portulaca oleracea) being an edible herb, I never got around to trying it until this summer, when I harvested some of it growing between cracks in my garden path and had it in a salad. Very good - crisp, with a pea-like flavor and an undertone of citrus. It's become a frequent but not everyday addition to salads here (while it is high in vegetable omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C among other things, it also contains a relatively high content of oxalic acid (as spinach does) so eating large amounts daily may not be a sound practice).
Purslane has a reputation of being "good for what ails you" and has been touted for anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial activity, as a purgative, emollient or muscle relaxant, an aid to any digestive condition, for urinary complaints, age-related and chronic diseases, "skin rejuvenation", painful menstruation, heart disease and a wide range of skin complaints such as psoriasis, cuts and boils and to prevent cancer (related to omega-3/antioxidant content).
Herbs said to do so many different things generally lack evidence of having much effectiveness for any of them. Still, purslane has been demonstrated (at least in the test tube) to contain anti-inflammatory compounds and has shown positive results in a small trial for treating oral lichen planus (an inflammatory disorder).
Also (hint to eibren) it is traditionally used as an anti-parasite agent in China.
Anyone here making use of purslane medicinally? Are there valuable varieties other than the wild type (for instance, Johnny's Seeds sells one with larger greenish-yellow leaves)?