Parslane is a small, smooth fleshy annual herb and a popular green leafy vegetable. It grows upto 30 cms in height. It has very few branches and the stem is feeble, smooth, shiny and light pink in colour. The leaves are simple, thick, smooth and succulent. Its has yellow flowers and small fruits containing numerous black seeds.
An analysis of parslane shows it consist of moisture 90.5 per cent, protein 2.4 per cent, fat 0.6 per cent, minerals 2.3 per cent, fibre 1.3 per cent and carbohydrates 2.9 per cent per 100 grams. Its mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C. Its calorific value is 27.
The leaves are mildly salty, sour and contain mucilage. They are refrigerant and produce a feeling of coolness. They are useful in correcting disorders due to malnutrition. Its seeds exercise a soothing effect on the skin and mucous membranes. They are also useful in arresting bleeding, increasing the secretion as well as the discharge of urine.
The herb is a valuable diet in dysuria, which is marked by pain or difficulty in passing urine. The leaves are also useful in this disorder. A teaspoon of the infusion is given twice a day. Its seeds are useful in treating scanty urination due to excessive sweating. A teaspoon of emulsion of the seeds prepared by mixing a teaspoon of the seeds in a glass of tender coconut water and administered thrice daily can cure such disorders. It also reduces the burning sensation of cystitis.
In diarrhoea and dysentery, the seeds relieve griping pains, tenesmus which is the ineffectual straining to relieve the bowels and other painful effects of dysentery and mucuous diarrhoea. They should preferably be given in combination with other drugs or herbs like fenugreek leaves, mint juice and powdered mango seeds.
A teaspoon of its seed taken everyday with water for three to four months can increase the body's own insulin and help in curing diabetes.
Its leaves are beneficial in the treatment of mild type of blood expectoration--that is bleeding from the mouth, nose and rectum. The juice from its leaves, mixed with a teaspoon of fresh lime juice and honey, is taken thrice daily.
A poultice of the leaves can be applied with beneficial results to burns, scalds and many other skin diseases like boils, ulcers, wounds and carbuncles. It can also be applied as a coolant in erysipelas, a streptococcal infection of the skin. Its leaves are useful in allaying irritations of the skin and in reducing swelling and pain.
Parslane is commonly used as a medicine to cool the body during summer. The juice of its stem can be applied with gratifying results to prickly heat and to allay heat and burning of hands and feet. The paste of its leaves can also be used similarly. A poultice of the leaves can be applied to the temples as an emollient to allay pain.