Today’s hectic lifestyle demands health consciousness and consumption of a nutritious diet beneficial for healthy living. Healthy eating creates healthy body and mind, and supports longevity. Greens are an essential part of a healthy diet. I Juliet Coutinho wish to draw your attention to the huge benefits of Alfalfa, an herb with multiple medicinal and nutritive benefits in this article.
What is Alfalfa?
Alfalfa is a flowering plant from the pea family ‘Fabaceae’ with the botanical name ‘Medicago Sativa’. Alfalfa’s roots penetrate deep into the soil reaching 20 to 30 feet underneath and absorb minerals that cannot be found in the surface soil. The Arabs named it alfalfa means ‘father of plants’ because of its medicinal properties and nutritive benefits. Although, Alfalfa is native to the eastern Mediterranean and western Asian areas; United States is the largest producer of alfalfa. Alfalfa is also known as Lucerne, California clobber, purple medic and Spanish clover in different regions of the world. The Chinese used alfalfa for medicinal purposes from as far as 490 B.C. Alfalfa has been used as human food as well as animal feed and herbal medicine for more than 1500 years.
Benefits of Alfalfa:
1. Alfalfa is known to be rich in minerals, nutrients and vitamins required for growth and healthy body.
2. Alfalfa seeds tea is used to treat arthritis and proven to be highly beneficial.
3. Alfalfa is known to be a natural cure for diabetes as it reduces blood sugar levels. Alfalfa is rich in manganese that lowers the blood sugar levels and therefore recommended for the diabetics.
4. Alfalfa sprouts contain vitamin A, C, E and Zinc that are able to dissolve kidney stones. It helps in curing other kidney problems, relieves fluids retention and swelling. It also helps in curing edema.
5. Alfalfa is a natural remedy for hair loss and balding. Combination of alfalfa, carrot and lettuce juice prevents hair loss and balding.
6. Alfalfa nourishes the digestive, skeletal, glandular and urinary system.
7. Alfalfa cleanses the bowel, blood and liver.
8. Alfalfa lowers cholesterol level.
9. It heals whooping cough.
10. Alfalfa is used to combat alcohol and controlled substance dependency due to its alkalizing properties that promotes detoxification.
11. Alfalfa is highly effective in controlling cholesterol. It rids the body of LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) that is harmful but retains HDL (High Density Lipoprotein). It prevents the arterial walls from plaque formation thereby preventing heart disease and strokes.
12. Alfalfa is highly beneficial for preventing and during the treatment of cancer. Alfalfa helps to bind carcinogens in the colon and helps to flush them out speedily. After rendering chemotherapy during the post cancer treatment, alfalfa intake completely reverses the immune depression caused by anti-cancer drugs such as cytoxan and neosar.
13. Alfalfa restores vitamin K levels in the body that depletes on taking antibiotics.
14. Alfalfa also restores the vitamin k levels in patients taking anti-cholesterol and anti-seizure medications and steroids.
15. Alfalfa seeds are used to combat asthma and breathing problems from ancient times.
16. Alfalfa consumption during menopause is highly beneficial to women. The components present in alfalfa imitate the effects of estrogen, the female hormone.
17. Alfalfa sprouts and grass are rich in calcium, iron and phosphorus that support healthy teeth and prevent tooth decay.
18. Alfalfa is a rich source of vitamin D and purports good health. In regions with poor sunlight alfalfa makes up for any sunlight deficiency.
19. Alfalfa is abundant in vitamin B12 that prevents the beginning of harmful anemia.
20. Alfalfa is used as a fertilizer in organic gardening.
21. Alfalfa improves the soil quality because of its nitrogen fixing characteristic.
22. Alfalfa is rich in vitamins (vitamin A, B1, B6, C, E and K), niacin, biotin, folic acid, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc and has abundant supply of chlorophyll. It contains amino acids. It is rich in proteins in comparison to other green plants. Its leaves contain flavones, isoflavones, sterols and coumarin derivatives. These constituents in Alfalfa have increased its popularity and consumption rate.
23. All the nutrients present in alfalfa support good health and don’t go wasted.
24. Alfalfa leaf saponins (chemical compounds that reduce blood cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of cancer and stimulate our immune systems) prevent atherosclerosis (a vascular disease in which an artery wall thickens because of fat deposits).
25. Alfalfa is a boon to the disadvantaged parts of the world as its nutritive contents can help combat fatigue associated with vitamin/mineral deficiencies or protein energy malnutrition.
26. Alfalfa antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties provide relief to arthritis patients suffering with pain, and aid the healing of intestinal ulcers, liver disorders, cancer and gastritis.
27. The root of alfalfa has been used by the Chinese since time immemorial to reduce fever, improve urine flow, treat jaundice, kidney stones and night blindness.
28. The juice extracted from fresh alfalfa leaves is used to treat kidney and bladder stones.
29. Alfalfa is used in fresh form or dried to make pills or powder by homeopaths, Ayurvedics and herbal medicine professionals.
30. Alfalfa is consumed in fresh form or used in salads, soups and other food preparations.
Author’s brief: Juliet Coutinho is a professional in student conduct administration in higher education since a decade. Juliet comes with 23 years of full time national and international work experience. She is passionate about her work, enjoys reading, writing, teaching, researching, mentoring and counseling on conduct and mental health issues. ‘Simple living and high thinking’ is Juliet’s philosophy of life.