Common weed beats diabetes drug

The FDA lists the herb purslane as the seventh worst pervasive weed worldwide. They got the pervasive part right…

But dismissing it as a weed just goes to show you how clueless they are about herbs.

Not only does this “weed” have the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids of any vegetable, studies show it may be just as effective as Big Pharma’s metformin when it comes to treating diabetes.

I’ll explain more about how purslane treats diabetes in a minute, but first I want to tell you a little more about this nutrient-packed powerhouse.

Even if you’ve never heard of purslane, you probably have this hardy little plant growing right in your backyard. You may spend hours trying to rid your lawn or garden of this “weed.” And it’s so persistent you often see it growing even through the cracks in the sidewalk.  

But what the FDA will never tell you is this… Purslane is actually a superfood and an amazing healing herb. Chinese medicine and other healing traditions have been using purslane for thousands of years. And there are good reasons for that…

Modern science shows purslane is packed with nutrition. Along with omega-3s, a recent study1 found purslane also contains high levels of:

Vitamin A Vitamin C B vitamins
Vitamin E Iron Potassium
Calcium Manganese Phosphorus
Magnesium Copper CoQ10
Fiber Carotenoids Glutathione

All of that nutrition translates into real health benefits.

In traditional Chinese medicine, purslane is used as a natural remedy for diabetes. New clinical research proves it really works. In one study, diabetics who took 180 mg of an extract of purslane increased their insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake into their cells. They also improved their hemoglobin A1c by an average of 44%.2 (The A1c test measures your average blood sugar over the previous 2 to 3 months.)

In fact, purslane has proven to work as well as metformin. In one study of 30 diabetics, half of them took 1,500 mg per day of the drug. The other half ate 5 grams of purslane seeds twice a day. After eight weeks, purslane reduced triglycerides, blood sugar levels, insulin and weight just as well as metformin.3

In another randomized trial, 48 people with type 2 diabetes ate either plain yogurt or yogurt with 10 grams of purslane seeds every day. Results showed that after eating purslane for five weeks the patients reduced their blood pressure, triglycerides and fasting blood glucose levels. In addition, they lost weight.4

Purslane may also:

• Boost heart health • Boost vision health
• Treat gastrointestinal problems • Increase circulation
• Prevent certain cancers • Build strong bones
• Strengthen the immune system • Improve skin

Purslane looks like a miniature jade plant. It’s also known as pig weed, duckweed, fatweed, pursley and pussley. It grows close to the ground forming flat circular mats. 

The FDA writes purslane off as a weed, but this “pest” has incredible health benefits.

The entire plant is edible including leaves, stems, flower and seeds. Although it’s not yet very popular in America, I’ve seen it on the menu in Europe, Asia and Africa.

And purslane is delicious. It’s slightly crunchy and has a subtle lemon flavor. You can use it in place of spinach in many recipes. Or add a handful to pesto, salads or sandwiches. It is also high in pectin. So it can help thicken soups or stews.

Purslane hasn’t made it yet into most supermarkets. But it’s beginning to appear in local farmer’s markets. And be careful if you pick your own. Make sure it’s really purslane. A lookalike called spurge has fuzzy leaves and is actually poisonous.

You can also find organic purslane seeds on the Internet. Add 5 to 10 grams per day to yogurt, salads or soups. 

Here’s one of my favorite ways to eat fresh purslane:

Purslane Salad

• 2 cups purslane sprigs • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
• 1 cup spinach • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 cup arugula • Juice of one lemon
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved • Unrefined sea salt
• 4 scallions thinly sliced • Fresh cracked black pepper
  1. Rinse the purslane well and remove the stems. Rinse and dry the salad greens.
  1. Combine the greens, tomatoes, and scallions in a bowl with the lemon juice and olive oil.
  1. Add the feta and toss gently. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

Al Sears, MD, CNS

1. Uddin MK, Juraimi AS, Hossain MS, et al. “Purslane Weed (Portulaca olertacea): A Prospective Plant Source of Nutrition, Omega-3 Fatty Acid, and Antioxidant Attributes.” The Scientific World Journal. 2014:951019.
2.Wainstein J, Landau Z et al. “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;19(2):133-40.
3. El-Sayed MI. “Effects of Portulaca oleracea L. seeds in treatment of type-2 diabetes mellitus patients as adjunctive and alternative therapy.” J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;137(1):643-51.
4 Esmaillzadeh A, Zakizadeh E, Faghihimani E, et al. “The effect of purslane seeds on glycemic status and lipid profiles of persons with type 2 diabetes: A randomized controlled cross-over clinical trial.” Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. 2015;20(1):47-53.