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Scientific Name(s): Portulaca oleracea L.
Common Name(s): Garden (common) purslane, Gelang pasir, Little hogweed, Ma Chi Xian, Munyeroo, Pigweed, Portulaca, Pourpier, Purslane, Pusley, Pussly, Rigla, Sormai

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 1, 2022.

Clinical Overview


Purslane has been used as a vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids and is high in vitamins and minerals. Purslane possesses anti-inflammatory activity. Roles in asthma, dyslipidemia, constipation, and type 2 diabetes, among other conditions, have been suggested; however, clinical studies are limited.


Limited clinical studies are available to provide dosage guidelines, with various dosages and preparations evaluated. See specific indications in Uses and Pharmacology section.


Contraindications have not been identified.


Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Limited clinical studies have not reported significant adverse effects. Constipation has been reported.


No data.

Scientific Family


The purslane family includes several fleshy plants. P. oleracea is an herbaceous, succulent annual that grows 10 to 30 cm in height and prefers sandy soil and warmer conditions. It is sometimes considered a weed because of its invasive growth patterns. The plant has reddish-brown stems, alternate wedge-shaped leaves, clusters of yellow flowers containing 4 to 6 petals that bloom in summer, and numerous black, shiny, and rough seeds. The botanical name is derived from the Latin potare (meaning "to carry") and lac (or "milk," referring to the milky sap of the plant). Synonyms are Portulaca neglecta Mack. & Bush and Portulaca retusa Engelm. P. oleracea (also known as little hogweed) should not be confused with giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum).(Chevallier 1996, Rashed 2003, USDA 2022)


In ancient times, purslane was used to protect against evil spirits. Purslane has been used medicinally for at least 2,000 years but was used as food well before this period. Traditional medicinal uses for purslane are broad. Ancient Romans used purslane to treat dysentery, intestinal worms, headache, and stomachache. Purslane has also been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine and is referred to as the "vegetable for long life." Aerial parts are dried and used for fever, diarrhea, carbuncle, eczema, and hematochezia.(Zhou 2015) Other uses in traditional Chinese medicine include for diabetes, atherosclerosis, vascular endothelial dysfunction, and urolithiasis.(Sabzghabaee 2014) Purslane is also used as a food source in various European regions.(Chevallier 1996, D'Amelio 1999)


Various studies have shown that purslane is a rich source of important phytochemicals such as flavonoids; alkaloids (including oleraceins, dopa, dopamine, and noradrenaline); terpenoids; proteins; carbohydrates; vitamins such as A, B, C, and E; carotenoids; and minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Purslane contains high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, and linoleic acid, which are not generally synthesized in terrestrial plants.(Kumar 2021, Zhou 2015) Antioxidants, including tocopherol, ascorbic acid, beta carotene, and glutathione, are also present.(Ezekwe 1999, Guil-Guerrero 1999, Liu 2000, Simopoulos 2005, Teixeira 2010) The alpha-linolenic acid content varies with cultivar, geography, and environmental factors, with the leaves containing a greater percentage than the seeds and stems.(Palaniswamy 2000, Teixeira 2010) Purslane's bright yellow flowers are of interest in the food industry because of their nitrogen-containing betalain pigments.(Gandía-Herrero 2009, Wang 2010)

Purslane also contains lipids, glycosides, sterols, coumarins, and triterpenes.(Chen 2010, Dong 2010, Xiang 2005, Yang 2009) Phenolic constituents of purslane include scopoletin, bergapten, isopimpinellin, lonchocarpic acid, robustin, genistein, and others.(Aljeboori 2014, Awad 1994) Amino acids in the leaves of the Portulaca species include phenylalanine, alanine, tyrosine, and aspartate.(Mirajkar 1984) Plant acids include isoleucine, proline, leucine, lysine, phenylalanine, methionine, cystine, valine, threonine, and tyrosine.(Zhou 2015) The volatile oil of P. oleracea has also been studied and contains mainly linalool and 3,7,11,15-tetramethyl-2-hexadecen-1-ol.(Liu 1994)

Uses and Pharmacology

Various parts of purslane are known for ethnomedicinal and pharmacological uses because of various associated activities (eg, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, skeletal muscle relaxant, hepatoprotective, anticancer/antitumor, antioxidant, gastroprotective, neuroprotective, wound healing).(Kumar 2021)

Anti-inflammatory effects

In vitro data

P. oleracea (gelang pasir) crude extract at concentrations of 250 mcg/mL exhibited potent anti-inflammatory activity in vitro.(Abu Bakar 2018) Similarly, methanol and dichloromethane seed extracts of P. oleracea inhibited gene expression of cyclooxygenase (COX)1, COX2, and prostaglandin E2 enzymes, whereas the methanol extract inhibited tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and IL-1beta cytokines and the dihloromethane extract upregulated TNF-alpha levels and the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, but exhibited no effect on IL-1beta.(Ahmed 2022)

Clinical data

A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (10 studies; sample size per study ranged from 14 to 98) in patients with various clinical conditions (eg, metabolic syndrome, aphthous stomatitis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes), showed a positive effect of purslane supplementation for decreasing C-reactive protein levels. However, biomarkers of oxidative stress remained unchanged.(Zhu 2021)

Antimicrobial/Antiviral effects

In vitro data

Purslane has been reported to possess antifungal, vermicidal, and antiviral effects.(Awad 1994, Dong 2010, Oh 2000)


In vivo data

Both a pure methanol extract and a dichloromethane oil extract of P. oleracea seeds demonstrated antioxidant activities with different activities observed in different assays.(Ahmed 2022)


Animal and in vitro data

In vitro studies have demonstrated activity against human hepatoma and cervical cancer cell lines.(Chen 2010) P. oleracea extract has also been observed to inhibit the development of colorectal cancer in mice in a dose-dependent manner and increase survival. Elucidated mechanisms included 20 potential targets that result from differential gut microbiota in cancer samples versus controls and their effect on a specific signaling pathway.(Yi 2022)

CNS effects

Animal and in vitro data

CNS effects of both ethanol and aqueous extracts of purslane are attributed in part to observed antioxidant activity. Both histological and biochemical studies have shown free radical–scavenging activity, as well as reduced lipid peroxidation, lactate dehydrogenase, and consequent reduced oxidative stress.(Arruda 2004, Boğa 2011, Yang 2009, YouGuo 2009) Other proposed mechanisms include increased glycolysis and adenosine triphosphate levels and promotion of endogenous erythropoietin.(Chen 2009, Wanyin 2012) Experimental studies report levels of noradrenaline and dopamine in the leaves, stems, and seeds of less than 1%, but no anticholinesterase activity for either ethanol or water extracts.(Boğa 2011, Chen 2003)

Limited experiments suggest ethanol extracts and betacyanins from P. oleracea have neuroprotective effects against induced hypoxic injury in mice. Cognition improved and anxiety was reduced in behavioral tests, and histology and biochemical measurements showed neuroprotective properties.(Hongxing 2007, Wang 2007, Wang 2010, Wanyin 2012)


Clinical data

In a clinical trial of patients with chronic constipation (N=60), 480 mg daily of an alcoholic purslane extract for 8 weeks significantly increased bowel frequency and improved bowel function and quality of life measures compared with placebo.(Bang 2022) It should be noted that constipation has been reported as a frequent adverse effect in other studies, including in a review of traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacology of P. oleracea.(Iranshahy 2017, Wainstein 2016)


Clinical data

A small clinical trial (N=30) evaluated the effect of purslane seeds in type 2 diabetes. After 8 weeks of 5 g of P. oleracea seeds twice daily, improvements in serum insulin and triglycerides were noted, as well as improvements in liver function tests.(El-Sayed 2011) The efficacy of purslane extract in achieving glucose control in adults with type 2 diabetes was evaluated in a 12-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial (N=63). Purslane extract was dosed at 180 mg/day, which corresponded to 750 mg of dried purslane or 15 g of fresh herb per day. This dose was chosen in order not to exceed commonly ingested quantities of purslane as food, and it was in line with a recommended dosage of 10 to 30 g/day described in a Chinese herbal medicine text. No significant improvement was seen in glucose control overall. However, in a subgroup of "responders" (defined as those with week 12 hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c] that was lower than baseline values), a statistically significant improvement in HbA1c was observed in those who received purslane. Responders treated with biguanides before study enrollment demonstrated a significantly greater change in HbA1c when treated with purslane compared with placebo. Purslane was well tolerated, with constipation listed as the only adverse event.(Wainstein 2016) A review highlighted 12 clinical studies in patients with type 2 diabetes, as well as in vitro and animal data, that support the potential efficacy of purslane in the treatment of metabolic syndrome and its complications. Beneficial effects demonstrated in clinical trials in patients with type 2 diabetes are summarized for purslane seed powder, seed extract, and freeze-dried supplements for reducing fasting blood glucose, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and obesity.(Jalali 2022)

As a component of medical nutrition therapy for patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association Standards of Care (2022) recommend an increase in foods containing alpha-linolenic acid to improve lipid profiles and reduce the risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.(ADA 2022)


Clinical data

A triple-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in adolescents with dyslipidemia and BMI equal to or greater than age- and gender-specific 95th percentile (N=74) to determine the effects of purslane seeds (500 mg twice daily for 1 month) on lipid parameters. Purslane was standardized to a total phenolics equivalent of approximately 1.8 mg of gallic acid. After 1 month, significant improvements from baseline were observed with purslane in LDL cholesterol (−11 mg/dL; P<0.001) and triglycerides (−16 mg/dL; P=0.006). No adverse effects were reported.(Sabzghabaee 2014)

A systematic review and meta-analysis suggested that purslane might be effective in improving blood lipid and glucose levels. However, types of purslane supplementation and daily dosages varied among studies; further robust studies with sufficient durations and supplementation dosages are needed to confirm results.(Hadi 2019)

Fatty acid profile/cholesterol effects

Animal data

Studies in chickens fed purslane have shown improved feed efficiency, with reduced body weight and increased egg production. The cholesterol content of the eggs did not change, but omega-3 fatty acid content increased.(Aydin 2010)

Gastric ulcer

Animal data

Experiments in mice showed reduced severity of induced gastric ulcers with ethanol and aqueous leaf extracts.(Karimi 2004)

Hepatoprotective effects

In vitro data

In vitro studies have demonstrated hepatoprotective effects against cisplatin-induced injury.(Sudhakar 2010)

Clinical data

In a randomized, double-blind clinical trial (N=74) in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, purslane extract 300 mg/day for 12 weeks had no significant effects on liver enzymes, lipid profile, or glycemic indices.(Darvish Damavandi 2021)

Immunomodulatory effects

In vitro data

In in vitro studies, purslane polysaccharides increased proliferation of thymocytes and splenic lymphocytes.(YouGuo 2009)

Melatonin levels

Animal data

Circulating levels of melatonin were increased in chickens and rats fed purslane.(Simopoulos 2005)

Oral lichen planus

Clinical data

In a small randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of patients with oral lichen planus (N=37), oral purslane extract 235 mg/day for 3 months resulted in better improvements than placebo. According to visual analog scores, a partial to complete response was observed in all purslane-treated patients, while 71%, 15%, and 14% of the controls demonstrated partial response, no response, and worsening of the symptoms, respectively.(Agha-Hosseini 2010)

Pulmonary/Bronchodilator effects

Clinical data

A small clinical trial in patients with asthma (N=13) compared the bronchodilatory effect of an oral boiled purslane 5% extract (dosage of 0.25 mL/kg of body weight) with that of oral theophylline and inhaled salbutamol. Purslane extract showed improvements in pulmonary function tests similar to those of theophylline.(Malek 2004) These findings were supported by a review in which P. oleracea extracts and quercetin showed relatively potent antiasthmatic effects.(Khazdair 2019) Another review showed evidence that purslane has smooth muscle–relaxant properties (bronchodilator effects) via stimulation of beta-adrenoceptor or inhibition of muscarinic receptors (in vitro), with improvement in the pulmonary function test observed in clinical settings. The authors suggested that there may be a place for purslane in the treatment of chronic cough in children.(Mortazavi Moghaddam 2020)

Uterine bleeding

Clinical data

In a small study of premenopausal patients with abnormal uterine bleeding (N=10), reductions in duration and volume of bleeding were observed with purslane seed powder 5 g (administered in a glass of water every 4 hours 48 hours after onset of menstruation for 3 days).(Shobeiri 2009) Based on estrogenic and antiproliferative activity demonstrated in vitro, the effect of P. oleracea seeds on abnormal uterine bleeding was explored among 30 women enrolled in an open, observational trial. The women were 18 to 45 years of age with heavy irregular and abnormal bleeding for at least 3 months. After 2 months of supplementation with purslane seed powder (2 g taken 3 times daily for the first 10 days of 2 consecutive cycles), mean blood loss was significantly reduced during the 1st and 2nd cycles (P<0.001 each) as well as during the 3rd and 4th cycles (P<0.001 each), which were measured at 1 and 2 months post-treatment. Quality of life scores were also significantly improved after the intervention (P<0.001). No significant changes were noted in mean hemoglobin and no adverse events or drop outs were observed.(Khanam 2021)

Wound healing

Animal data

Experiments in mice showed increased wound healing rates with topical applications of crude fresh plant extracts.(Rashed 2003)

Clinical data

In one clinical trial (N=86), purslane cream (2% w/w) was associated with a faster recovery process for nipple fissure healing in lactating women.(Niazi 2019)


100 g of fresh purslane leaves yields approximately 300 to 400 mg of alpha-linolenic acid.(Simopoulos 2005)

Limited clinical studies are available to provide dosage guidelines; the following dosages have been used in small clinical trials:

Abnormal uterine bleeding

Purslane seed powder 5 g (administered in a glass of water every 4 hours 48 hours after onset of menstruation for 3 days) was used in one very small study of patients with abnormal uterine bleeding.(Shobeiri 2009)


One clinical study evaluated an oral boiled purslane 5% extract (dosage of 0.25 mL/kg of body weight) in patients with asthma.(Malek 2004)

Dyslipidemia (adolescents)

A study of adolescents with dyslipidemia and BMI equal to or greater than age- and gender-specific 95th percentile evaluated the effects of purslane seeds 500 mg twice daily for 1 month on lipid parameters.(Sabzghabaee 2014)

Oral lichen planus

Oral purslane extract 235 mg/day for 3 months was used in a study of patients with oral lichen planus.(Agha-Hosseini 2010)

Type 2 diabetes

One study evaluated 5 g of P. oleracea powdered seeds twice daily over 8 weeks.(El-Sayed 2011) In another study of patients with type 2 diabetes, purslane extract 180 mg/day (equivalent to 750 mg/day of dried herb or 15 g/day of fresh herb) was given for 12 weeks.(Wainstein 2016)

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. Effects on uterine contractions are contradictory and poorly evaluated; caution is warranted.(El-Sayed 2011, Shobeiri 2009)


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

No clinically important adverse events have been reported with purslane in the limited clinical trials.(Agha-Hosseini 2010, El-Sayed 2011, Malek 2004, Shobeiri 2009) Constipation was reported as the most frequent adverse effect.(Iranshahy 2017) Older references suggest increases in kidney filtration rates and increased urine production, but these events have not been further evaluated.(El-Sayed 2011) Oxalate nephropathy has been reported in an individual consuming large amounts of purslane.(Cai 2022)


Studies are lacking. A toxicology study of Portulaca grandiflora Hook, a related species, found no evidence of toxicity on histology, hematology, or biochemistry.(Chavalittumrong 2004)

Index Terms



This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

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