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Alfalfa Leaf (Medicago sativa) Cut and Sifted Bulk
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
The name alfalfa is derived from the Arabic al-facfacah, "father of all foods." The genus name Medicago refers to ancient Media of western Persia, where this plant is thought to have originated; the genus name could be interpreted to mean "sowed by the Medians." The species name sativa means "cultivated;" it is generally given to plants that have been in cultivation since ancient times. The folk name lucerne, "lamp," makes reference to the plant's bright, shiny seeds.
Range of Appearance
Native to Asia, alfalfa was an important crop for the Arabs, who fed it to their fabled racehorses. Spanish conquistadors brought it to Chile and Mexico, where it was grown as animal fodder in the mid- 1800s, earning it the nickname Chilean clover. It now can be found in cultivation or in the wild worldwide. Alfalfa can grow in a wide variety of locales, both moist and dry, and is often found by roadsides and in fields. This perennial plant can reach a height of 2 to 3 feet. Its three-part cloverlike leaf is alternate and compound. The alternate flowers are blue, lavender, or purple; they grow in short terminal clusters and bloom from June until August. The seedpods are coiled.
Alterative, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, galactagogue, nutritive, stomachic, phytoestrogenic, tonic
Alfalfa is an excellent nutritive food and also improves the body's assimilation of nutrients. It is especially beneficial for people who are convalescing, and it can be used as a nutritive tonic during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Alfalfa is so rich in chlorophyll that it is grown commercially as a source of this compound. Alfalfa is used to treat anemia, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, blood pressure problems (high or low), bruising, celiac disease, high cholesterol, colitis, diabetes, fatigue, fever, indigestion, jaundice, menopause symptoms, menstrual problems, obesity, osteoporosis, peptic ulcers, and varicose veins. Alfalfa also helps remove excess uric acid from the body. Topically, alfalfa is used as a moistening bath herb, facial steam, hair rinse, and poultice for wounds.
Alfalfa's young leaves and flowers may be eaten as salad greens or potherbs. Seed sprouts can be added to salads. Alfalfa is often added to other teas to improve their flavor and nutrient profile. Its flavor is reminiscent of the scent of summer-cut hay.
Where alfalfa grows wild, it is an indicator of rich soil. In their search for nutrients deep in the soil, its roots can reach 120 feet in depth. Alfalfa often is planted in fallow fields and then turned under to enrich and fix nitrogen in the soil. When alfalfa is part of their diet, cows produce more milk and chickens lay more eggs. Green cuttings of alfalfa are said to deter bedbugs. Alfalfa has long been thought to attract prosperity.
Chlorophyll, betaine (a digestive enzyme), electrolytes, fiber, protein, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, octacosanol, calcium, chromium, copper, phosphorous, manganese, iron, zinc, silicon, fluorine, electrolytes, isoflavones, coumarins, alkaloids (stachydrine), steroidal saponins (beta sitosterol, alpha spinasterol, and stigmasterol)
Alfalfa is considered very safe. However, there has been some concern about the safety of eating large amounts of the sprouts, which contain the alkaloid canavanine. Therefore, people with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are encouraged to avoid eating alfalfa sprouts; the leaves and flowers, however, are safe for consumption. Those taking blood-thinning medication should avoid using alfalfa.
Plant details were provided by iPlant by Brigitte Mars.
Hyperlink it to https://brigittemars.com/iplant-app/