It never ceases to amaze me how much money women are willing to spend on beauty products that just don’t work.
They’ll order jars of overpriced cream from France and tubes of useless lotion from Italy…
They’ll pay exorbitant shipping charges… hoping to discover the anti-aging pot of gold.
The truth is many of these products make big promises… and most fail to deliver. And they’re usually loaded with chemicals that can actually harm your skin and your health.
You don’t have to search all over the world or spend a fortune for younger-looking skin. In fact, you probably have an anti-aging wonder plant in your own backyard.
You see, there’s a persistent little herb that grows all over the world. The FDA says it’s the seventh worst pervasive “weed” worldwide. But for more than 2,000 years traditional healers have recognized the health powers of this plant.
I’m talking about purslane.
You may have seen it popping up through cracks in your sidewalk or driveway. It’s very common.
But rather than a pesky weed, purslane is actually a superfood. Humans have been eating if for over 4,000 years. Ancient healers used it as a treatment for toothache, headaches, inflammation and indigestion. Modern research proves purslane may:
|Boost heart health||Treat gastrointestinal problems|
|Prevent certain cancers||Strengthen the immune system|
|Improve vision health||Increase circulation|
|Build strong bones||Treat diabetes|
It is also a powerful anti-aging herb…
Recent research confirms that purslane has the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in any vegetable. In fact, it has more omega-3s than many fish oils!1
Omega-3s are essential for keeping your skin youthful. These fats help keep skin-cell walls strong and flexible. Without them, cell membranes become stiff. Nutrients can’t get in and waste products can’t get out. Pretty soon, your skin shows the effects. You see dryness, wrinkles, age spots and sun damage. Deficiencies of omega-3s are also linked to atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and even acne.
Purslane is rich in one special type of omega-3 fat called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). Research reveals that ALA is the best type of omega-3 for keeping your skin looking young.
In one study, French researchers examined the diets of 2,919 people between the ages of 45-60. After two and half years people who got more ALA in their diets had less severe photo-aging from the sun.2
Other studies show that ALA helps build your skin’s defense against infection and inflammation.3
Purslane is also rich in vitamins E and C, carotenes and other antioxidants. These compounds help reduce oxidative damage to skin cells that can lead to fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and other signs of aging. One Korean study found that an extract of purslane protected human skin cells from damage from ultraviolet rays.4
And purslane is loaded with CoQ10. It restores youthful energy levels inside your skin cells. CoQ10 has been shown to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It also tightens, tones and smoothes skin for a younger look.5
Purslane looks like a miniature jade plant. It’s also known as pigweed, hogweed, fatweed, verdolaga, red root and pursley. It grows low to the ground forming flat, circular mats.
How to get the health benefits of purslane
Purslane hasn’t made it yet into most supermarkets. But it’s beginning to appear in local farmers markets. The entire plant is edible including leaves, stems, flowers and seeds.
And take it from me… purslane is delicious! It is slightly crunchy and has a subtle lemon flavor.
Look for young, tender leaves. I like to mix chopped purslane leaves with yogurt and lots of garlic. I serve it as a side with grilled meats like chicken, lamb or steak. 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 that can help thicken soups or stews.
Also look for organic purslane seeds on the Internet. Add 5 to 10 grams per day to yogurt, salads or soups.
You can also use purslane directly on your skin. To make your own extract of purslane, look for dried or powdered purslane on the internet. Place ½ to 1 teaspoon of the powder in a cup and add ½ cup of boiling water. Stir and let it rest at least one hour. Strain the mixture and you’ll be left with purslane extract. Here are two ways to use it…
- To make a toner, add another cup of water and a teaspoon of olive oil to the extract. Store the mixture in a spray bottle. Spray the purslane extract on sunburn or just to refresh your face.
- To make a facial mask for dry skin, whip one teaspoon of the extract with an egg yolk. Pat the mixture on your face and let dry for 30 minutes. Rinse off. Repeat once a week.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Uddin MK, Juraimi AS, Hossain MS, Nahar MAU, Ali ME, Rahman MM. Purslane Weed (Portulaca oleracea): A Prospective Plant Source of Nutrition, Omega-3 Fatty Acid, and Antioxidant Attributes. The Scientific World Journal. 2014;2014:951019.
2. Latreille J et al, “Association between dietary intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and severity of skin photoaging in a middle-aged Caucasian population.” J Dermatol Sci. 2013 Jul 23. pii: S0923-1811(13)00250-8.
3.McCusker, M.M. and Grant-Kels, J.M., “Healing fats of the skin: the structural and immunologic roles of the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.” Clin Dermatol. Jul-Aug 2010;28(4):440-451.
4.Lee S, Kim KH, Park C, Lee JS, Kim YH. “Portulaca oleracea extracts protect human keratinocytes and fibroblasts from UV-induced apoptosis.” Exp Dermatol. 2014 Oct;23 Suppl 1:13-7.
5.Muta-Takada K et al, “Coenzyme Q10 protects against oxidative stress-induced cell death and enhances the synthesis of basement membrane components in dermal and epidermal cells.” Biofactors 2009; 35(5):435-41.