Alfalfa, not just for livestock

 

Alfalfa sprouts are small but mighty...

The benefits of alfalfa - Naturally Botanicals

Alfalfa, while known as a livestock feed,

Can also help humans with what we need

It’s said it can improve cardiovascular health

Perhaps offer some digestive fiber wealth

And can be grown at home from a little seed!

Alfalfa is one of the oldest cultivated plants. Hay is made from alfalfa; it’s made by allowing the plants to grown until their early bloom, then they’re harvested dried and cured. It’s also a highly nutritious food for humans, and has been used an herbal medicine for at least 1500 years!


The benefits of alfalfa - Naturally BotanicalsThe word Alfalfa is Spanish and was derived from the Arabic word that means “Father of All Foods.” Sometimes called lucerne, buffalo herb, or Medicago sativa, alfalfa is a member of the pea family.  It is the most cultivated legume in the world, with the United States being the largest producer. 

 

The extensive root system of the alfalfa plant allows it to absorb a high level of nutrients from the soil. They contain a concentration of all the B-vitamins, A, C, D, E and K. Alfalfa is a source of iron, niacin, folic acid, biotin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous potassium, beta carotene and flavonoids. Alfalfa has the highest chlorophyll content of any plant. Compared to other plants, alfalfa leaf is very high in protein, especially when dried. Alfalfa also contains essential amino acids that are not made by the body but must be obtained from food sources.

In China, it’s used as an appetite stimulant and as a treatment for digestive disorders, especially ulcers.

Ancient Indian texts show that Alfalfa seeds and sprouts were prescribed for improving blood cell production and its leaves and stems as a good source of proteins and minerals. Ayurvedic medicine used it as an herbal treatment for ulcers, to alleviate the pain of arthritis, and a treatment for fluid retention. Native Americans used the seeds as a nutritious additive to their meals. Herbal physicians in the early 19th century used it in their tonic mixes. 

This is one plant where the outer leaves and roots not only have medicinal properties, but their sprouts are edible. Alfalfa sprouts may be small but they’re mighty. And low in calories. A single  serving of alfalfa sprouts provides nearly 15% of the daily required intake of vitamin C, making sprouts a great immune booster. By stimulating the production of white blood cells, alfalfa sprouts may help protect the body from infections and inflammation. 

You know, your immune system is amazingly complex. It can recognize and remember millions of different enemies, and it can produce secretions (release of fluids) and cells to match up with and wipe out nearly all of them. When our immune system is working properly, we don’t even notice it. It’s when the performance of our immune system is compromised that we face illness.

Obviously, the goal is to stay healthy. Get more sleep, work on lowering your stress level (easier said than done however it’s worth a try!), give your system good, regular nourishment with as many vitamins and nutrients as possible, and add in some immune boosters to help you seek and destroy those unwanted visitors.

Alfalfa juice and leaves are considered to help provide the following health benefits:

  • improving digestive health
  • reducing inflammation
  • enhancing kidney function
  • improving cardiovascular health
  • detoxing the urinary tract
  • supporting healthy blood sugar levels
  • supporting the pituitary gland
  • and faster wound healing

Scientific research confirms the effectiveness of medicago sativa as a natural treatment for high cholesterol. Studies have shown that alfalfa may reduce blood sugar levels due to its high manganese content.


Chicken Salad Sandwich with Alfalfa Feta and Mint Food and Wine Magazine | naturallybotanicals.com

This Chicken Salad Sandwich with Feta and Mint (and alfalfa added for good measure!) is from Food and Wine Magazine. (or click here for more recipes)




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