Purslane (Ma Chi Xian or Portulaca Oleracea)

What Is Purslane

Purslane is commonly known as Ma Chi Xian, Little hogweed, or Portulaca Oleracea, which is an annual succulent herb belonging to the family Portulacaceae. It is an edible green vegetable, which first appeared in<Bencao Jing Jizhu> (a collection of commentaries on the classic of materia medica) around 480-498 AD.

This plant is a common weed and often grows on roadsides, farm fields, or vegetable gardens. It is drought and waterlogging tolerant, and can thrive in poor soils.

It is widely distributed in temperate and tropical regions of the world and is eaten in most parts of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Mexico. It is said that because Purslane can cure diseases, it was once used as a talisman to banish evil.


In the summer and autumn of each year, people pick the above-ground part of Portulaca oleracea, remove their residual roots and impurities, wash them with water, use them directly or steam or scald them slightly, dry them in the sun, cut them into segments, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Purslane contains kaempferol, apigenin, luteolin, myricetin, quercetin, genistein, daidzein, hesperidin, sinapic acid, arachidonic acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid, myristic acid, lauric acid, omega-3 fatty acids, benzoic acid, caffeic acid, citric acid, Vitamin A, vitamins B1, Vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, α-totaxin, dopamine, noradrenaline, dopa, amino acids, alkaloids, coumarins, polysaccharides, monoterpenes, triterpenes, and a variety of trace elements.

According to <Compendium of Materia Medica>, the medicinal property of Purslane is relatively cold, with a sour taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the liver and large intestine meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Purslane is often used to clear heat and remove toxins, cool blood and stop bleeding, treat bacillary dysentery, acute gastroenteritis, acute mastitis, ulcerative colitis, furuncles, erysipelas, cellulitis, tinea pedis, hookworm disease, herpes zoster, urinary system Infections. It is an important component of Fu Fang Qing Dai Wan.


  • Anti-inflammation, anti-hypoxia, and anti-allergy.
  • Improving the activity of superoxide dismutase, scavenging free radicals, and delaying aging.
  • Inhibiting the proliferation of liver cancer cells SMMC7721, A-549 lung cancer cells, Hela cells, and Hep-2 cells.
  • Increasing the thymus index, spleen index, and phagocytic capacity of macrophages, improving immunity.
  • Inhibiting aldose reductase activity, promoting insulin secretion, and lowering blood sugar.
  • Reducing the content of triglycerides, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and improving lipid metabolism.
  • Reducing the damage of CCL4 to liver tissue and protecting the liver.
  • Bidirectionally promoting skeletal muscle, exciting uterine smooth muscle, and relaxing tracheal smooth muscle.
  • Improving the learning and memory ability of AD model mice induced by AlCl3 or D-galactose and protecting nerve cells.
  • Removing heat toxins, treating postpartum bloody dysentery, and bloody dysentery caused by heat toxins.
  • Clearing damp-heat in the large intestine, relieving abdominal pain, diarrhea, dysentery with bloody purulent stool, and tenesmus.
  • Relieving swelling and pain, treating furuncles, carbuncles, eczema, and erysipelas caused by heat toxins.
  • Cooling blood, treating uterine bleeding and hemorrhoid bleeding caused by blood heat.
  • Inducing diuresis, treating difficult and painful urination, abnormal leucorrhea caused by damp-heat.
  • Inhibiting dysentery bacilli, E. coli, typhoid bacillus, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Proteus, and Bacillus subtilis.
  • Studies have found that linolenic acid and omega-3 fatty acids can prevent atherosclerosis.


  • It can be used in combination with honey to relieve severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting caused by biliary roundworms.
  • It can be used in combination with Ku Shen (Radix Sophorae Flavescentis), Zi Cao (Radix Lithospermi), and Tu Fu Ling (Rhizoma Smilacis Glabrae) can treat psoriasis.
  • It can be used in combination with Sha Ren (Fructus Amomi), Zhi Shi (Fructus Aurantii Immaturus), and Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae) can treat chronic atrophic gastritis, intestinal metaplasia, and atypical hyperplasia.
  • It can be used in combination with Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae) and Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis) can clear damp-heat in the large intestine, treat abdominal pain, diarrhea, dysentery with bloody purulent stool, and tenesmus.
  • It can be used in combination with Di Yu (Radix Sanguisorbae), Huai Jiao (Fructus Sophorae), and Feng Wei Cao (Pteris Multifida) can treat uterine bleeding and hemorrhoid bleeding.

Side Effects

It can be eaten raw or cooked, with almost no side effects.

Pregnant women taking it may cause miscarriage.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Purslane should be controlled at 9-15g.
  • When using fresh Purslane, the dosage should be controlled at 30-60g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, pills, injections, tea, or mashed for external use.
  • People who are allergic to Purslane should not take it.
  • It should not be eaten with a turtle or Bie Jia (Carapax Trionycis).
  • People with deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach should not take it.
  • People with diarrhea due to intestinal looseness should not take it.
  • Pregnant women should not take it.