(Portulaca oleracea) A food plant, valued highly by peoples as wide apart as the Navajo Indians, who eat the seeds (Elmore), and the Mano people of
Liberia, who recognize it as an accessory green food, specially prescribed for malnutrition (Harley). There are a number of other medicinal uses throughout the world. The Navajo use the green plant for stomach ache (Elmore), and the Mano too recognize it as an indigestion remedy (Harley). In Central America, Maya medical texts prescribed the crushed plant, rubbed on the body, for tuberculosis. The juice is given for giddiness, and an infusion is used as a bath for convulsions (Roys). In West Africa it is prescribed for local application to swellings and bruises, or as a poultice for abscesses or boils. The juice is sometimes dropped in the ear for earache, and is also used for toothache. Skin diseases are treated in West Africa, as well as in China, with purslane, but in Ghana they eat the leaves along with tiger nuts as the remedy (Dalziel). The Mano look on it as a sore throat remedy, too. They take a large handful, beaten up with root ginger. It has to be mixed with water from a "talking stream", and meat and salt are added to make a soup (Harley).
Purslane is a children's good luck charm in West Africa, and a symbol of goodwill (Dalziel).
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