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Wild Parsley: A Powerful Jamaican Herb

Wild Parsley (Portulaca Oleracea) or purslane, is a succulent herb that is widely used and recommended by many Jamaican Herbalists. It has succulent stems and leaves packed with vitamins and minerals. This herb is excellent in boosting the immune system, cleansing the colon, and has many other medicinal benefits. It is great to add to salads, mix with Callaloo style Caribbean dishes, or combined into a green smoothie.

How is Wild Parsley (Portulaca Oleracea) Grown?

Jamaican parsley grows in the wild, however, it is seen virtually everywhere in Jamaica throughout people’s backyards. This native plant grows on its own and does not need special attention as it is not affected by pests or other weeds. You will normally find it among wild Callaloo, basil, and other medicinal herbs or plants.

It has a yellow blossom with fine black seeds and flat leaves (it does not resemble the usual parsley found in the supermarkets or health food stores). As the plant is a succulent, it retains moisture even in the driest seasons.

Benefits and Uses of Wild Parsley

Used by many Jamaicans, especially older natives, wild parsley is generally classified as a safe herb. It is praised for its abundance of vitamins and minerals.

  • The plant is high in omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E and contains 7 times more beta-carotene than carrots and 6 times more vitamin E than spinach.
  • It’s also rich in potassium, vitamin C, riboflavin, magnesium, and phosphorus.
  • In addition, it is used to treat prostate, liver and spleen diseases, as well as arthritis, anemia and other internal conditions.
  • It also cleanses the colon and has been found beneficial as a laxative and diuretic.
  • The juice of wild parsley is used to treat kidney ailments and the root is used as a diuretic.
  • The oil is found helpful in regulating menstrual flow.
  • The leaves, when bruised, have been used to treat insect bites, tumors, lice, bruises, and skin parasites.

Purslane has been widely used as a home remedy passed down through the generations.

Purslane Enjoyed as a Delicacy

Wild parsley can be prepared and enjoyed in a number of ways. It can be eaten in salads or mixed in one of the island’s popular Callaloo dishes. It can also be combined with other greens to make a powerful smoothie.

Wild Parsley Smoothie:

  • 4 stalks of wild parsley/purslane
  • 3 stalks of Callaloo
  • 1 organic sweet pepper
  • 1 organic cucumber
  • 1 stalk organic celery
  • 3 stalks organic broccoli
  • 2 cups coconut water

These ingredients will make 3 servings. Wash thoroughly all ingredients, then combine in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy as is and do not refrigerate.

Other Things to Know

Originated in the Mediterranean, wild parsley, often pronounced as Pus-Ley, is also referred to as “rock or “garden parsley”. Its common names in other parts of the world are portulaca oleracea, purslane, verdolaga, little hogweed, pigweed and red root.

Caution must be taken when gathering wild parsley as it resembles other poisonous plants:

  • Conium maculatum, otherwise called water hemlock, poison hemlock or poison parsley.
  • Aethusa cynapium, otherwise called fool’s parsley, dog poison or small hemlock.
  • Cicuta maculate, otherwise called water hemlock.

If you are not familiar with wild parsley, ask someone with experience to harvest it for you.

Want to get your hands on this powerful tasty herb? Wild parsley (or purslane) is known by almost every Jamaican “bushman” or elderly person. It is also found in other parts of the world, but is very popular and widely known on this small Caribbean Island.

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