Medicago sativa – Alfalfa
Botanical Name – Medicago sativa
Other names – Lucerne, purple medic
Family - Fabaceae
Parts used - Ariel parts
Alfalfa in Arabic means ‘father’ and is it possibly due to its action in debility and as a restorative tonic in both chronic and acute weaknesses.
Alfalfa is commonly grown for feed for and can be called silage or pasturage.
History - Chinese used Alfalfa to treat digestive problems and stimulate appetite. Ayurvedic Indians used Alfalfa to treat ulcers, arthritic pains and fluid retention. American Pioneers used Alfalfa to treat arthritis, boils, scurvy, urinary and bowel disorders.
Cultivation – Alfalfa is a perennial that is drought, heat and cold tolerant and what is remarkable about alfalfa is that its root growth is very deep and can give an indication as to how rich the nutrient dense the soil is, the deeper the roots, the poorer the soil.
It is commonly grown as a cover crop or is used as a green manure, which means it is ploughed back into the ground.
Description – It grows to 30–90 cm, arises from a much-branched crown that is partially embedded in the surface layer of soil. As it plant develops, numerous stems bearing trifoliate leaves arise from the crown buds. Racemes of small flowers arise from the upper axillary buds of the stems. Flowers produce corkscrew-coiled legumes containing two to eight or more seeds. Similar to many other members of Fabaceae, alfalfa plants house symbiotic soil bacteria (rhizobia) in their root nodules to 'fix' nitrogen from the air into the soil, thus making it accessible to other plants.
Active Constituents - It the herb that is extremely high in a range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. It is deemed one of the most nutritive herbs that contains one of the best sources of protein.
Nutrients it contains include Pro-vitamin A, Beta-carotene, Vit E, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, Vit C, Vit D and K, Biotin, Amino Acids, Ca, P, K, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, Chlorophyll, Protein, Fat, Steroidal saponins and Isoflavonoid Phytolexins.
Indications – Alfalfa is used for kidney conditions, bladder and prostate conditions, and to increase urine flow. It is also used for high cholesterol, asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, upset stomach, and a bleeding disorder called thrombocytopenic purpura. People also take alfalfa as a source of vitamins A, C, E, and K4; and minerals calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and iron.
It is a herb that has shown in research to lower cholesterol by binding the bile salts necessary for cholesterol absorption.
It is also deemed to contain a form of protein that has an anti-tumour action. It will neutralize complex cellular carcinogenic agents in the colon, liver and small intestine especially before they have chance to do damage.
The steroidal saponins (soyasapogenols, hederagenin, medicagenic acid) are believed to have cholesterol lowering and haemolytic activity. In a study with prairie dogs, the lowest incidence of cholesterol gallstones was obtained with the diet of the higher fiber content (85% alfalfa).
Other indications are in helping to prevent strokes and heart disease.
Dosage - 2 capsules can be taken with every meal
5-10g of dried herb can be taken daily as an infusion
5-10ml daily of a 1:1 Fluid Extract in 25% alcohol
Cautions - Alfalfa is contra-indicated in Lupus. It is oestrogenic. Taking alfalfa along with birth control pills might decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills
Alfalfa might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. There are two case reports of SLE patients experiencing disease flare after taking alfalfa seed products long-term.
Contra-indicated with warfarin medication as alfalfa contains high amount so Vitamin K.
Alfalfa dried herb is only $5.80 per 100g, you can purchase it here
Until the next herb, seeing you all in happiness and health