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Purslane

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Purslane

Use Purslane for protection and purification during and after ritual ceremonies.

Image © Patti Wigington; Licensed to About.com

Purslane is one of those quirky plants that appears everywhere, from sidewalks to gardens to out in the woods. It's fairly easy to spot, with its thick red stems and flat, paddle-shaped leaves.

Associated with protection, and even occasionally with sleep, Purslane has been used as both food and medicine since the time of the ancient Egyptians. Herbalist Nicholas Culpeper recommended it as a treatment for everything from gonorrhea to vomiting to gunpowder burns. It has been used in many parts of the world as an anti-bacterial agent, as well as to remove fever and other infectious symptoms.

In A Modern Herbal, Maud Grieve says Purslane was an anti-magic herb, and could be strewn around a bed for protection. It's also known as a way to protect against nightmares and psychic attack during sleep. In parts of Africa, Purslane is used for purification during and after ritual ceremonies. Interestingly, there's a Yoruba folktale in which all of the plants in the forest refused to pay off their gambling debts -- except for Purslane, which paid the money it owed. Hence, it is now associated in some cases with recovering owed money.

Carry Purslane in your pocket to protect yourself from magical attacks, or to keep yourself safe from physical harm -- in the Middle Ages, soldiers sometimes tucked a sprig of Purslane into their armor to keep themselves safe during military action. Plant Purslane around your home -- particularly near your front door -- to instill protective properties to those who live within. Strew it around your bed for restful sleep, free of nightmares.

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