Herbal medication totally hasn’t changed. The same plants give the same medicinal benefits as before, but most people are ignorant of them and are leery about their truthfulness.
In a world after a disaster, herbal medicine is maybe the only choice left to us. If Big Pharma is no longer willing to produce and sell the drugs to the pharmacies and doctors that dispense them, people will need medication. The solution for most will be to turn to the little they know or can learn about herbal medicines. Now learning about them just gives us a head-start.
Chances are quite high that you already have purslane growing somewhere in your yard. This prolific weed grows all over the world and in the Continental United States, it can be found from coast to coast. Alaska is about the only place you can’t find it in the USA, where the climate is just too cold for it.
Purslane is a leafy plant, which produces yellow flowers. The plant stems are reddish at the top, and light green at the bottom. Purslane leaves are spatula shaped and slightly puffy, particularly during the summer, which is the best time to harvest them, except if you live in the south, where you can harvest them all year long.
You have to be careful not to confuse purslane with the weed spurge, which looks similar, but is poisonous. There are several ways to say the distance between the two. There are a few ways to tell the gap between the two. First, the purslane will grow to 12 “to 15” tall, while the spurge on the ground lays flat. But this is not conclusive, since it depends on the conditions that develop. The best measure is cutting the stem and slicing off a little of the Spurge will have a milky sap (you shouldn’t eat any plants with a milky sap) and the purslane will have a translucent one, nearly clear.
As long as you have real purslane, it is safe to eat any part of the plant that grows above the ground. This can be eaten raw or cooked in various ways, just like using any other leafy vegetable. The flavor is something like spinach, and can be considered in salads and recipes as a substitute for spinach or watercress. It can even be pickled to preserve it.
Related: Lost Remedies from Our Forefathers
What’s So Special About Purslane?
Even though purslane is considered a weed, it is one of the most nutritious plants you can find filled with essential micronutrients, although low in calories. It contains beta-carotene, vitamins A, C and E, and some of the vitamins B, magnesium, calcium, folate, lithium and protein.
But the most important element found in this vegetable is: Omega-3 fatty acids, 8.3 mg for every gram of weight. Nutritionists have long argued that consuming fish or fish oil is important, as a source of omega-3. Purslane provides an even better source of that nutrient for those who are unable or unwilling to eat fish.
It is also an excellent melatonin source, which helps to regulate sleep. Melatonin is an antioxidant, behaving like a hormone. This is located in the body, naturally, as a result of the pineal gland. Those with sleeping problems often have low levels of melatonin in their bodies, which is normally treated by taking melatonin in the form of a tablet. However, this plant offers melatonin levels that are as much as 1,000 times higher than the levels available in any other plant.
What Can Purslane Do?
Purslane is an anti-inflammatory natural, antibacterial and antifungal, similar to garlic. For a variety of different ailments, this makes it an excellent all-purpose herbal treatment. The list of specific ailments that can be treated with purslane is impressive as part of an overall treatment strategy:
- Dermatitis (skin irritations)
- Insect stings
- Pruritus (a severe itching of the skin) – this is a symptom of various ailments
- Skin sores
- Abscesses (an area of pus, under the skin, caused by an infection)
- Eczema (white patches of the skin that are rough and inflamed)
Each of these skin conditions is best treated by making a poultice and directly applying it to the infected region. To make poultice, grind up enough purslane (leaves and stems) to cover the irritated area in a mortar and pestle. You don’t need a thick coating, it will do an 8th of an inch. The main thing is getting enough to cover the whole region. Apply the ground up purslane to the affected area and cover with cloth (it fits well with a gauze pad), then tie in place. This can be achieved using an elastic bandage or elastic gauze.
Leave the poultice on for a minimum of 30 minutes. Repeat the procedure 2 to 3 times a day. Up to six times the same poultice may be used, so long as it is kept moist. However, if it dries out enough that the sap is no longer visible from the leaves, it should be thrown away and replaced.
Earaches tend to be a form of infection. They are best treated with a tincture, because of their location, as shown below. In the ear canal, place three to four drops of tincture and hold in place by stuffing a small piece of a cotton ball into the ear canal. Leave on for at least 10 minutes before removing the cotton.
Perform this procedure three to four times daily, at least two days until the earache is gone. Please note that pain will stop before fully eliminating the infection. That’s why it is necessary to continue treatment after it seems to be healed.
- Colitis (an inflammation of the large intestine’s lining)
- Dysentery (a bacterial infection of the intestines)
- Enteritis (the inflammation of the small intestine) – which can be caused by viral or bacterial infection, poor blood flow, inflammatory conditions or problems with alcohol or drug abuse
- Painful urination – usually caused by an infection
- Shingles (an inflammation of the nerve ganglia in adults, caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox in children)
- Stomach aches – a common bacterial infection
The immune system of the body fights those internal infections. Purslane can benefit by growing the natural antibodies in the body. To use purslane for internal infections, add about 1/8 cup of purslane leaves (full or chopped) in each meal (three times a day) to salads or vegetables. You can also eat the leaves directly, but as part of other foods, it is more flavorful.
Please remember that because purslane is a natural herbal remedy, you can’t basically overdose on it, unless you want to make your diet entirely of purslane. Any amount you eat, over and above what your body needs will be disposed of as waste.
As with infections, it is best to treat these ailments by adding purslane to the diet, making it part of your salads and vegetable dishes. These are severe conditions, which can’t heal purslane on its own. But, it will aid in the fight against them in your body.
Please notice that there are other factors that people say to have made a difference to purslane, but these are not proven. The conditions listed above are where there is sufficient evidence to show that purslane has made a significant difference in treating the condition.
That doesn’t mean, however, that purslane is a miracle cure that one dose will take care of those conditions. Most of these conditions require time to recover, but that healing is promoted by purslane. It also promotes general health, when consumed as a regular part of your diet, helping prevent the occurrence of these conditions.
How To Use It
There are a number of different ways of using purslane, as with other herbal medicines. You can buy the purslane dried and crushed, to be taken as a dietary supplement. However, we work on the premise that you need purslane for purposes of survival, where that is not going to be usable.
The purslane is best eaten for internal infections and other conditions, whether it is raw or cooked. However, as is typical of vegetables, a certain percentage of nutrients come out of the plant while it is being cooked, particularly when it is boiled. Eating it raw, as in a salad, means all the nutrients are taken in.
When purslane or other herbal medicinal products are used to treat skin disorders, burns or bites of insects, it is best to make it into a poultice and apply it directly to the affected area, bind it with a cloth. Crush the purslane with a mortar and pestle, before applying allowing the inside of the leaf and the sap to come into contact with the infection. Then, the nutrients are absorbed directly through the skin.
Tincture Of Purslane
In a few cases, such as earache, it is better to make a herbal tincture to produce a concentrated herbal shape (like essential oil) that can be applied with an eye dropper. It is achieved by soaking the leaves (preferably crushed leaves) in alcohol, allowing the nutrients to be drawn out by the alcohol. To do so you need a high-proof alcohol (minimum 80 proof) or as an alternative, you can use apple cider vinegar.
Crush the leaves and place them in a pint jar, fill the jar 1/3 to 1⁄2 of the way full, do not pack the leaves. Then fill the saucepan with alcohol and seal it off. Place the container in a calm, dry position and shake daily for 3 weeks or more. When the tincture is done, filter the leaves out and put the final product in a jar of colored droppers.
Tinctures made with alcohol will remain indefinitely, but tinctures made with vinegar made from apple cider need to be refrigerated. Even then, they are only going to hold for about six months.