Herbs & Botanicals
Purslane (ma chi xian)
What is purslane? What is it used for?
Although regarded as a weed in the United States, purslane is a well-known
plant able to tolerate almost any kind of soil or weather. It grows up
to 20 inches high, with purple or green stems; greenish, tear-shaped leaves;
and yellow flowers that open only when sunny.
The aerial parts of the
plant (branches, leaves, flowers, etc.) are used medicinally by being
washed, steamed (or treated with boiling water), and left to dry in the
In traditional Chinese medicine, purslane is used to remove toxic heat
and substances, and to arrest bleeding. Among the Western conditions purslane
treats are dysentery; boils and sores; eczema; hemorrhoidal bleeding;
and abnormal uterine bleeding.
How much purslane should I take?
The amount of purslane being used depends on the condition(s) being treated.
Many practitioners recommend 9-15 grams of dried purslane, or 30-60 grams
of fresh purslane for oral administration. Larger amounts can be grounded
into a paste to apply to the skin.
What forms of purslane are available?
Fresh and dried purslane is available at many Asian markets and specialty
What can happen if I take too much purslane?
Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should
At this time, there are no known drug interactions or adverse side-effects
from taking purslane. As always, make sure to consult with a qualified
health care provide before taking purslane or any other herbal remedy
or dietary supplement.
- Cowper A. Portulaca oleracea, purslane. Australian
Journal of Medical Herbalism 1996;8(1):28.
- Kamil M, Chan K, Habibullah M. A review on portulaca
species with special reference to portulaca oleracea. Department
of Pharmacognostical Sciences, Zayed Complex For Herbal Research &
Traditional Medicine, Ministry of Health, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism 2000;12(2):43-48.
- Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural
Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics, 2nd edition. John
- Oh KB, Chang IM, Hwang KJ, Mar WC. Detection of antifungal
activity in portulaca oleracea by a single-cell bioassay system. Natural
Products Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul 110-460,
Korea Republic. Phytotherapy Research 2000;14(5):329-332.
- Reid DP. Chinese Herbal Medicine. Boston: Shambhala,