Alfalfa – Medicago sativa

Medicago sativa, or Alfalfa as it is more commonly known is, in my opinion, a top super-herb even among superfoods.

The human body and all its intricate systems need a variety of vitamins and minerals each day to properly function at full capacity. If there is a deficiency in any one of these, the body will pull what it needs for its systems to function or to repair a sick or injured area, from other parts of the body.

This process of pulling vitamins and minerals repeated over time can slowly weaken the body. To be at our maximum functioning ability we must put all the vitamins and minerals our bodily systems need into the body, while also taking into consideration they are in a form the body is able to properly absorb and assimilate.

For example, we can put 2000mg of vitamin D into the body each day, but if the body does not have the proper minerals available to break down this source of vitamin D, it will simply travel through the systems of the body and eventually exit through the bowels without being assimilated and utilized where it was needed.

To be sure our bodies are able to make the proper amino acids to break down and assimilate all the good things we put into it, we must be sure to give the body all the correct tools (vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, etc.) it needs to do so.

Nutritional Facts

A superfood is a food that is one of the strongest as far as nutrition for the body. These foods can be used to keep a healthy body vibrant, but will also bring an ailing sick body back into a state of health, especially when complimented by herbal treatments that target specific organs or tissues in the body.

Alfalfa is one of the “top of the top” in the super foods group as it contains about every mineral known to man. It’s roots can reach near 40 feet below the soil allowing it to gather into itself a large array of minerals and vitamins, making it a superior choice for excellent nutrition.

Alfalfa is a rich source of vitamin K, vitamin C, copper, manganese, riboflavin, iron, magnesium, thiamine, and folate. One cup of alfalfa contains 1 gram of protein in the form of fiber. It also acts as a strong antioxidant helping prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals.

Wildcrafting & Identification

Known also by the name Lucerne, alfalfa is part of the legume family but is also considered a herb. When in its young state, its appearance resembles clover. It is easy to confuse the two without intricate knowledge of the visual characteristics of each.

Characteristics 

Like all legumes, Alfalfa’s leaves are trifoliate with long narrow leaflets. Its leaflets are serrated at the tips, typically less than half margin. Clover’s leaflets on the other hand, though similar in size and shape, the serrate margin is over half verses just the tip.Alfalfa Leaflets

The leaves are alternate along the stem consisting of three leaflets which are narrow and about 2 to 3 times as long as wide. The center leaf has a short stalk.

Alfalfa’s flowers are generally purple but some varieties are also found in shades of white and yellow. The flowers are short and the clusters appear somewhat one-sided. Each cluster can contain from 10 to 20 flowers.

The seeds are kidney shaped and typically yellow to greenish-yellow in color, though they begin to brown with age. Clover seeds tend to be a lighter yellow in color than Alfalfa.

Habitat 

Alfalfa is grown by farmers but is also found growing wild in about every state in the United States. It is a perennial legume that gets quite tall reaching 24″ to 36″, or about 1 meter in height.

Alfalfa can be found growing wild in both rural and urban areas. Because its roots reach incredibly deep into the ground, it can survive some flooding, so long as the water levels recede fairly quickly. Alfalfa prefers moderate to well-drained soils that are neutral to high pH.

Alfalfa can be found growing wild in meadows, fields, vacant lots, along roadsides, and near rivers and woodlands. Though it can grow almost anywhere, Alfalfa is not an aggressive invader of other plant habitats.

Alfalfa SproutsParts of Plant Used 

The leaves are the most commonly used part of the Alfalfa plant. They can be eaten raw or cooked or can be dried for use later as a seasoning or tea.

The seeds can be used as a sprouted seed to make a very nutritious addition for salads and other dishes. Alfalfa’s seeds can also be ground into a power and mixed into flour to up the nutritional value of breads and other baked goods.

Medicinal Uses

There are specific herbs for every organ and tissue in the body. When targeting specific health issues, we turn to these herbs for use in a complimentary manner along with the basic vitamins and minerals every body needs to function at a healthy state.

The herbs and herbal formulas that keep a healthy body in good health can also be used to bring an ailing unhealthy body back into a state of vibrant health. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself if it has the right tools to work with.

Since Alfalfa contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, this makes it an excellent herbal aide when dealing with several conditions, especially those caused by nutritional deficiencies.

Traditionally alfalfa has been used medicinally as an anti-diabetic agent as it has the ability to lower blood sugar levels by stimulating the release of insulin from the pancreas.

It has diuretic properties, meaning it promotes the excretion of water from bodies, so it can be used as an aide in lowering blood pressure, treating arthritis, and dissolving kidney stones. More research is necessary to properly document its use with kidney stones however; it has shown promise in this area.

High vitamin K content makes alfalfa an excellent blood purifier and aides in clotting of the blood helping to prevent hemorrhage. This quality can counteract some blood thinning medications so individuals taking these types of medications should consider checking with their physician before drastically changing their diet to include large amounts of vitamin K.

Being a blood purifier alfalfa also fights against toxemia, also known as pre-eclampsia, making it a superior choice for pregnant women Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs in pregnant women when toxicity in the blood gets too high. It has been suggested that large amounts of alfalfa may cause uterine contraction however, so pregnant women prone to preterm delivery should moderate their intake.Medicago sativa, Alfalfa

Alfalfa contains phytoestrogens, chemicals which are similar to the hormone estrogen, so it is effective in helping balance hormones, especially in women.

Alfalfa can be used as an infusion to stimulate the appetite. It has also been known to give the body a boost in energy and endurance. Alfalfa has been known to be helpful in the treatment of alcoholism and drug dependency.

Alfalfa the Super Herb

With its superb nutritional value, it’s no small wonder that Alfalfa can help treat a wide range of illnesses and ailments. Alfalfa root system can reach up to 40 feet under the ground, giving it the ability to gather into itself about every mineral known to man.

Although Alfalfa can be grown and harvested to be used fresh, it is also widely available in supplement form or included in many herbal multivitamin supplements. It is a key component in my daily herbal routine and I hope now you can see why adding it to your diet can be so beneficial.

Alfalfa is a superfood that can be of benefit to everyone’s body. You will clearly notice a difference in your health and a pep in your step.

Please share your thoughts and observations in the comment section below!

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12 thoughts on “Alfalfa – Medicago sativa”

  1. Hi Shan, this is a nice topic.

    Nowadays, eating unhealthy foods are affecting so many people. That is why, eating raw or herbal plants or by adding it to our food or juice makes our body stronger and boosts our immune system. I tried also mixing some herbal products together with the raw vegetables. Aside from that herbal plants detoxify our body and replenish our body with nutrients and vitamins.

    Thank you for this information. Your article is indeed very helpful and informative.

    Reply
    • Hi Paul,

      Indeed, unhealthy diets are fueling the medical system more than ever before, especially in the United States where fast food and refined foods are so prevalent.

      I’m glad to hear you enjoy a raw food diet. I have definitely changed my diet for the better, making sure not to over heat vegetables to make sure their vitamin and enzyme content stays intact but I admit I am not completely on a raw food diet quite yet. Adding herbal products to raw food diets is for sure the healthiest way to go. I commend you!

      All the best, Shan

      Reply
  2. Hi Shan,

    This is great information on these herbs. I’ve been interested in natural supplements for years, preferring them to prescription drugs. I found your description on alfalfa especially enlightening and did not realize it was so high on the “super foods” list, and contained so many health benefits.

    Thank you for such an insightful post!

    Reply
    • Hi Adreyna,

      I’m really happy the information was useful for you. I prefer herbal medicine and supplements to prescription drugs as well. Years ago I had a list of daily medication that was a page long and at the time I thought they were helping me; really all they did was mask the symptoms. It wasn’t until I found herbs and learned to properly use them that I finally got to the root cause of my issues and was able to change my health for the better.

      Take care, Shan

      Reply
  3. Thanks for informing Shan. Up until now I knew Alfalfa as just animal feed. I’ll definitely use it from now on. I make bread at home, I will incorporate lucerne powder. If you say it’s very estrogen-like. I think it is beneficial for menopause. I thought it was very good in diabetes too.

    All the best to you

    Reply
    • Hi Carmen,
      Lucerne powder makes an excellent addition to bread flour! It will enrich your breads with all the vitamins and minerals Alfalfa has to offer 🙂

      Alfalfa is excellent for any type of hormonal imbalances so it can be beneficial in times of both menopause and puberty. Its phytoestrogen content gives Alfalfa this ability. It is also helpful for those with diabetes since it naturally lowers blood sugar. Alfalfa also has diuretic properties so it aides the body in getting rid of waste substances and toxins which can also be helpful for diabetes and other conditions. It really is a super-herb 🙂

      Take care, Shan

      Reply
  4. I really loved this article. I’ve enjoyed smelling the lucerne when I feed my horses. Obviously, my body is craving some alfalfa.
    Thanks for all this important information.

    Lily

    Reply
    • Thanks Lily! I do believe that our bodies crave those foods whose nutrients we most need. This would explain why pregnant women can have what seems like off the wall cravings. With Alfalfa containing so many vitamins and nutrients however, it would be difficult to pin down which one in particular your body is craving. Perhaps it is a general nutritional deficiency. Either way, Alfalfa is an excellent food choice (for human or horse lol).

      Take care, Shan

      Reply
  5. Oh my goodness!  I have lived my whole life around alfalfa farms and never realized all of the benefits of it!  This article is extremely informative!  Who knew alfalfa is part of the legume family?!  I knew a little bit about the medicinal uses, but not much else.  Their root systems are incredible, which makes it easy to see how they carry so much nutritional value, as you say.  I like the facts you have supplied about this superfood!  I’m going to look more into it… I am not opposed to a little extra pep in my step!  Thanks for taking the time to write such a well informative article!  🙂 

    Reply
    • Thanks, I’m really glad you enjoyed the piece while also learning a few things!

      Alfalfa is for sure one of those superfoods to add to your diet if at all possible. I started using a multivitamin with alfalfa as one of the main ingredients about a year ago – I definitely notice a difference in my health and energy level! I love it 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  6. Wow, I must say this is yet another very interesting thing to learn about. I haven’t heard about alfalfa before and from its description in this post I must say its something I would love to try just for its health benefits. Currently I’m pretty far from the states, and I have little knowledge on if it is grown here. Are there other means of getting it online?

    Reply
    • Alfalfa grows pretty much all over the world so chances are no matter where you live, you are able to find it.

      I personally use an herbal multivitamin called Vitalerbs which is a formula created by Dr. Christopher. Alfalfa is one of the top ingredients but it also includes other highly nutritious herbs such as wheat grass, kelp, spirulina, and several others (all organic). I have found Amazon has the best pricing on it. It is available in capsule form, 1lb powder, and glycerin liquid extract.

      If you have any other questions, feel free to ask away!
      Take care, Shan

      Reply

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