Alfalfa, also known as Lucerne, Lucerne Grass, Chilean Clover, Purple Medic, Buffalo Herb, Buffalo Grass or Holy Hay, alfalfa is an herb that is useful in a variety of ailments and in the basic support of good overall health.
Cultivated all over the United States, alfalfa is believed to have originated in Persia. It is one of the few herbs that is able to withstand extreme weather conditions and harsh temperature changes. As it grows, alfalfa sprouts purple flowers growing out of leaves that look like clover. It reaches an average height of about three feet, but its roots can grow as many as fifteen feet beneath the surface, which aids in its ability to withstand harsh weather conditions, including droughts.
Alfalfa sprouts or leaves can be used. Sprouts are popularly eaten raw in salads, on sandwiches, in soups or as garnishments. Alfalfa sprouts or leaves can also be ground into powder form and consumed as a tea.
Seeds should be thoroughly soaked for a minimum of four hours and can be expected to produce sprouts within one week. Fresh sprouts should be rinsed every eight hours and refrigerated after several washings.
For the treatment of infections, raw, fresh alfalfa leaves and spouts can be blended in a blender and can be ingested as a liquid or the mixture can be applied directly to the infection site.
Used as a common food choice in salads, alfalfa is also a rich source of protein, calcium and vitamins A, B, C and K. Also high in minerals, alfalfa is an excellent source of magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
Alfalfa is commonly used in the treatment of:
- Appetite stimulation (especially for patients suffering from anorexia)
- Digestive disorders
- Mending bones
- Arthritis (not for rheumatoid arthritis)
- Tissue repair
- Reducing fibroids
- Premenstrual symptoms
- Sinus infections
- Bladder and prostate issues
Alfalfa is an herbal equivalent of human estrogen and is also considered to be very useful in assuring healthy teeth and bones due to its above average mineral content. It also helps create a strong resistance to a variety of infections and helps keep the body strong during the aging process.
Because of high manganese content, alfalfa is very useful in the digestive system and is useful to the body’s production of natural insulin.
Alfalfa does not interact well with blood thinners and, although rare, a decrease in red blood cells can be noted if too much alfalfa is consumed. Alfalfa should also be avoided by anyone with an autoimmune disease.
Finally, consumers should be very careful to only consume alfalfa sprouts that were cultivated using healthy, clean water. Sprouts should always be thoroughly washed and smelly or wilted sprouts should be disposed of immediately.