In vitro antioxidant activity, phenolic compounds and protective effect against DNA damage provided by leaves, stems and flowers of Portulaca oleracea (Purslane)

Nat Prod Commun. 2014 Jan;9(1):45-50.


This study analyzed the antioxidant properties of Portulaca oleracea L., known as purslane. The samples (leaves, flowers and stems) were collected at two different locations in Portugal: Tavira (L1) and Vendas Novas (L2). Assays for total antioxidant activity, total phenolic content and ferric-reducing antioxidant power were conducted and, for both locations, significantly higher values (P < 0.05) were observed for stems (508.8 and 982.3 mg AAE/100 g DW, 1008.6 and 2285.5 mg GAE/100 g DW, 121.0 and 166.3 mg TE/100 g DW, respectively for each location), than in leaves or flowers. In the DPPH assay, the three-plant parts from L2 reached the 50% inhibition rate in lower concentrations than plants from L1. On the other hand, higher concentrations of total monomeric anthocyanins were found in samples from L1 (95.5, 88.8 and 86.0 mg/L) than in samples from L2 (81.7, 70.5 and 59.8 mg/L). The same was true for phenolic acids, estimated by liquid-chromatography, where methanol extracts were used. Phenolic extracts from all three-plant parts from both locations showed protective effects on DNA against hydroxyl radicals. This work suggests the possibility of benefit to human health from its consumption, related to the high antioxidant activity of purslane, even the stems, usually discarded in daily consumption.

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / analysis
  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Phenols / analysis*
  • Plant Components, Aerial / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Portulaca / chemistry*


  • Anthocyanins
  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts