Pigweed(Kulfa) Details, Benefits and Medicinal Uses

Purslane is found growing as weed in waste lands. It is distributed throughout the warmer parts of World and known by many common names such as Pigweed, Kulfa, Pourpier, Rigla etc. It is a succulent spongy plant and contains gum like substance. It is one of the oldest leafy vegetable which is used in India, Japan, Africa, Australia and America. It is eaten as salads and vegetables.

Purslane is also used as a medicinal plant. It has been used as folk medicine from ancient times. WHO (World Health Organization) has included it in list of most widely used medicinal plant.

kulfa weed benefits

This plant is antibacterial, antiscorbutic (prevents or cures scurvy), depurative (purifying; purgative), and febrifuge (reduces fever). The diuretic (increase the discharge of urine) action of plant is due to presence of high percentage of potassium salts.

Scientific Classification of Purslane/Pigweed plant

The botanical name of Purslane is Portulaca oleracea and it belongs to the family Portulacaceae. The name Portulaca is derived from the Latin ‘porto’ meaning ‘to carry’ and ‘lac’ meaning milk, due to presence of milky latex in plant. Oleracea is derived from Latin, meaning ‘pertaining to kitchen gardens’, as it is used as salad and a vegetable. Its taxonomic classification is as given below:-

Kingdomplantae
SubkingdomTracheobionta
SuperdivisionSpermatophyta
DivisionMagnoliophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
SubclassCaryophyllidae
OrderCaryophyllales
FamilyPortulacaceae
GenusPortulacae L.
SpeciesPortulacae oleracea L

Plant Description

Root – Cylindrical, small, oblique, surface smooth, brownish-grey;secondary roots, less in number, root hairs abundant in upper region, fracture, short.

Stem – Almost cylindrical, swollen at the nodes, ribbed, branched, 0.1 to 0.2 cm in diameter, fracture, short;odour, characteristic.

Leaf – Simple, sub-sessile, cuneiform, rounded and truncate at the apex;0.3 to 2.5 cm long and 0.1 to 0.6 cm wide, oblong, spathulate, smooth and greenish-brown.

Flower – A few, bright yellow, at terminal heads, sometimes in axillary clusters of 2-6, subtended by an involucre, 3-4 leaves;sepal 0.25-0.4 cm long;petals obovate, 0.5 cm long, very delicate and soon falling off;stamens 8-12;style 5-6 fid, 0.35-0.4 cm long.

Fruit – An ovoid capsule, 0.3 cm long, dehiscing above the base.

Seed -Numerous, reniform, black, minute, 0.06-0.07 cm across, dark brown.

Vernacular Names

AyurvedicBrihat Lonikaa, Lonaa, Loni, Ghoddhika, Ghotikaa, Upodika, Khursaa
UnaniKhurfa, Kulfa
Siddha/TamilPulli-keerai, Paruppukirai
SanskritLonika, Loni, Ghotika.
BengaliBaraloniya, Badanuni, Baranunia
EnglishGarden Purslane, Common Indian Purslane, Common Purslane
GujratiLuni, Loni, Moti Luni
HindiKhursa, Kulfa, Badi Lona
KannadaDudagorai, Doddagoni Soppu, Lonika, Loni
MalayalamKoricchira, Kozhuppa, Kozuppa, Kozuppaccira
MarathiKurfah, Ghola
PunjabiLonak, Chhotalunia, Khurfa, Kwfa
TamilPasalai, Pulikkirai, Paruppukkeerai, Kozhuppu
TeluguPappukura, Peddapavila Kura, Payilikura, Pavilikura
UrduKhurfa
ArabicRigla
Common namesPurslane, Pigweed plant
  1. Distribution of plant: All over the world
  2. Type: herbaceous annual weed, wild edible vegetable
  3. Grows in: Sunny warm, areas, including flower beds, corn fields, road side, gardens, and waste places.
  4. Distributed: Throughout the world.
  5. Used as medicinal plant in past: India, Africa, America, England, and China

Nutrition of Purslane

Nutritionally, Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular) than any other leafy vegetable plant. It also contains vitamins (mainly vitamin A, vitamin C, and some vitamin B and carotenoids), dietary minerals (magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron).

It also contains two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, Reddish betacyanins (visible in the coloration of the stems) and the yellow betaxanthins (noticeable in the flowers and in the slight yellowish cast of the leaves). Both are potent antioxidants and have been found to have antimutagenic properties in laboratory studies.

Nutritional value per 100 g
Energy84 kJ (20 kcal)
Carbohydrates3.39 g
Fat0.36 g
Protein2.03 g
Water92.86 g
Vitamin A1320 IU
Thiamine (vit. B1)0.047 mg (4%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)0.112 mg (9%)
Niacin (vit. B3)0.48 mg (3%)
Vitamin B60.073 mg (6%)
Folate (vit. B9)12 μg (3%)
Vitamin C21 mg (25%)
Calcium65 mg (7%)
Iron1.99 mg (15%)
Magnesium68 mg (19%)
Manganese0.303 mg (14%)
Phosphorus44 mg (6%)
Potassium494 mg (11%)
Zinc0.17 mg (2%)

Purslane’s, Saag like preparation is eaten in some parts of India and this preparation is known as Kulfa ka sag. For making Kulfa sag, the leaves of plant are washed and chopped like any other leafy vegetable. These leaves are boiled by adding salt till they soften. Then this is ground into paste. Mustard oil is heated in a pan and some jeera and red chilies are added to the heated oil. Then paste of boiled pigweed leaves is added and cooked for some time. The cooked Saag is eaten with rice or chapati.

Medicinal Properties of Purslane

PropertiesMeaning
RefrigerantReduces Body Heat
Mild SpasmodicConvulsive
DiureticIncreases Passing of Urine
AntiscorbuticPrevents or Cures Scurvy
FebrifugeReduces Fever
DepurativePurifying;Purgative
AntioxidantInhibits damaging oxidizing agents in a living cells
AntidiabeticControls glucose level
HepatoprotectiveLiver protecting
Useful inScurvy, diseases of liver, spleen, kidney and bladder;Dysuria, stomatitis and dysentery

Ayurvedic Properties and Action on body

In Ayurveda, this plant is known as Lonika, Loni and Ghotika. Powder of dried whole plant is used to increase pitta/bile and reducing phlegm and wind inside body. This powder is given to treat diabetes, digestive weakness, piles, and skin diseases. Acharya Charka gave this plant as cooked vegetable in treatment of piles. Acharya Sushrut used this plant for constipation.

The recommended dose of dried powder is 3-6 grams. One famous Ayurvedic medicine which contains this plant is Marma Gutika.

  1. Rasa (Taste): Amla
  2. Guna (Characteristics): Guru/Heavy, Ruksha/Dry, Sara
  3. Virya (Potency): Ushna/Hot
  4. Vipaka (Post Digestive Effect): Kaphahar and Vatahar, Pittakara, Chakshuya, Vanidoshhar
  5. Therapeutic Uses: Digestive weakness, Swelling Piles, Gulma, Prameha, Wound

Medicinal Uses and Benefits of Purslane

  1. Leaves and plant juice is particularly effective in the treatment of skin diseases and insect stings.
  2. Leaves tea is used in the treatment of stomach aches and headaches.
  3. Whole plant is used for Iron deficiency and skin allergy.
  4. It has significant liver protective and regenerative activities and can be used as in treatment of liver disorders like liver, dysfunction, viral hepatitis, and alcoholic liver disorders.
  5. Seeds powder is tonic and expels intestinal worms.
  6. Bruised leaves are used topically for erysipelas, burns and swellings.
  7. Poultice of leaves is applied to burns.
  8. Rich source of pre-vitamin A, and vitamins C and E, as well as omega-3-fatty acids.
  9. Also: Good substitute for okra as a thickener in soups.
  10. Seed’s powder can be mixed with cereals for use in gruels, bread, pancakes.

Dosage of Purslane

Recommend dose of fresh juice of whole plant 1ml-20ml for oral administration.

For topical application, larger amounts can be grounded into a paste to apply to the skin.

Side-effects/Caution

This plant contains oxalate (910–1679 mg/100g fresh weight).

Eating large amount of raw green Purslane is harmful.

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