Lucerne, or Medicago sativa, is more commonly known as Alfalfa. It is a plant that has been grown for feeding livestock since centuries. It has been valued for its protein, minerals and vitamins content and is part of the legume family. However, it is also considered as an herb and has originated from Central and South Asia. Thanks to the several health benefits it provides, it has a long history of being used as an herb. Its dried leaves or seeds are used supplements as whereas the seeds can be sprouted and included in the diet as alfalfa sprouts. Low in calories, Alfalfa sprouts have the same nutrients.
Another popular way to use this herb is to brew the alfalfa leaf for making tea daily. You can also brew it with another flavored tea to enhance its original flavor which is a bit bland. The herb can also be taken in the form of capsules in the same way as an individual consumes daily vitamins. Due to the many advantages of alfalfa, it is an important ingredient in a large number of other supplemental formulas if you don’t want to purchase it as a standalone capsule. It also works well in soups, salads casseroles and many other recipes as a nutritional ingredient.
If you want to grow the Alfalfa plant at home, make sure that it requires a lot of space. If your house does not have a large garden then you can sprout the seeds as it is a better option.
Nutrient Content of Alfalfa
Alfalfa is majorly consumed by humans as a natural remedy and the leaves and seeds are sold as supplements and not foods. Even though there is standard nutrition information available, we know they are rich in vitamin K and comprise of several other nutrients, including copper, Vitamin C, manganese and folate. These are the other nutrients in Alfalfa that make it a nutritious natural remedy for curing severing conditions.
The alfalfa plant contains a full range of important vitamins as well as important minerals. These include iron, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, biotin and several others. Not just that the alfalfa plant is also loaded with protein, especially when dried. With an extensive and unusual root system that reaches as far as 60 feet into the ground, the alfalfa plant absorbs more minerals and vitamins than the average plant. This is why alfalfa is a great source of important minerals.
Not just minerals, alfalfa plants naturally contain several essential vitamins, including A, D, E and K in abundance. They also have the complete family of B vitamins. All these vitamins play an important role in keeping you healthy and fit. Since it is hard to find all these minerals and vitamins in one source, alfalfa provides all the essential vitamins and minerals that are naturally present in the plant.
12 Health Benefits of Alfalfa
The alfalfa plant can be consumed as a nutritional health dietary item in the form of powder, tablet and liquid extracts. There are several health benefits of using alfalfa both in its natural and supplement form. Some of these are listed below.
1. Treats Stomach Infections
Alfalfa is an effective treatment of many stomach related ailments. It is generally recommended to consume it in small quantities, ideally in the form of alfalfa seeds as it helps boost the body’s immunity against stomach distress. Likewise, alfalfa can also be included in the diet in the form of tea and is popular for fighting against hyperacidity and to ease digestion of food, especially after a heavy meal.
2. Cures Heart Conditions
Alfalfa works effectively for treating arterial problems and relieving heart diseases.
3. Relieves Respiratory Disorders
One of the many benefits of alfalfa is that it relieves respiratory disorders and discomfort. Alfalfa juice can be taken as a supplement as it is a rich source of chlorophyll and works well for treating all problems related to the sinuses and lungs.
4. Treats Diabetes
Alfalfa is can also used as a natural treatment for diabetes. It helps individuals suffering from the medical condition who are unable to properly utilize insulin.
5. Boosts Hair Growth
Exceptional hair growth is also observed with continual use of alfalfa products. The juice of alfalfa should be used along with carrots or lettuce on a daily basis to maintain healthy and thick hair.
6. Post Surgery Care
Several doctors recommend consuming alfalfa, as the plant is often topically used as an astringent. Due to its infection healing capabilities, it helps to fight any infection that may arise due to bed sores after a surgery.
7. Pain Reliever
The benefits of alfalfa are endless. It is also effective for minimizing the pain and reducing symptoms of menstruation in women owing to their estrogenic qualities.
8. Balances Blood Pressure
It can be consumed for balancing blood pressure levels. As it softens hardened arteries, it acts as a natural remedy for hypertension.
9. Relieves Migraines
A regular consumption of alfalfa in any form serves as an alternative to over the counter pain medications that do little for relieving migraines or headaches. The high magnesium and calcium levels of alfalfa relieve you from intense bouts of pain.
10. Lowers Cholesterol
Alfalfa is also beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels due to high amounts of minerals and vitamins. Since the herb is an excellent blood purifier and detoxifier, the supplement has all the goodness for balancing hormones, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
11. Diuretic Effects
Alfalfa efficiently flushes out all toxins that build up in the body. It has been observed that alfalfa when used as supplements, have good diuretic purposes. This is particularly common among people suffering from urinary tract infections or water retention problems. Using it as a laxative or diuretic is better than choosing over the counter medicines for treating such ailments. Alfalfa can be used as supplements as these have no manmade chemicals that can and worsen an infection.
12. Healing Properties
The Chinese have been using alfalfa since the 6th century for treating several health conditions. The alfalfa plant has valuable healing properties and the supplements do a great job for relieving achy joints and healing imbalanced skin conditions. It also takes care of bad breath and strengthens the immune system against infections. Alfalfa is packed with minerals, vitamins and other important nutrients that play a crucial role in strengthening bones for a healthy body.
The Chinese have been using alfalfa since the 6th century for treating several health conditions. There are several ways to use alfalfa in its natural for or supplements. Capsules and dried alfalfa are more common methods of using the plant. Alfalfa is safe when consumed by healthy individuals. However, its use can cause a few side effects.
A few people might experience a mild upset stomach as well as lupus like effects. Due to this, people suffering from hormonal cancer or an autoimmune disease must not use alfalfa supplements. Moreover, pregnant women and people with gout should also avoid consuming alfalfa. Like all dietary supplements available in the market, consult your doctor before using alfalfa in the supplement form if you are currently on medication or suffering from an autoimmune disease.