The Chinese use it to treat kidney stones, the ancient Greeks bladder and kidney conditions. It has been called Buffalo Herb, Lucerne, and Purple Medic, but is best known as alfalfa, Arabic for ‘father of all foods.’ So what about this plentiful weed would give it such a prestigious name?
First, alfalfa is rich in vitamins A (eye health), E (heart and cardiovascular health), U (treats peptic ulcers), B6 (stimulates protein and fat metabolism), K (blood clotting and liver functions), and D (regulates the use of calcium and phosphorus in the body). Second, alfalfa contains many valuable minerals such as calcium and phosphorus (bone and teeth health), iron (needed in hemoglobin), manganese (lowers blood sugar levels), potassium (muscle tone and nerves), chlorides (regulates fat, sugar and starch metabolism), sodium (regulates fluid balance), and silicon magnesium (stimulates brain function).
Alfalfa also contains eight essential enzymes: Amylase (acts on starches), Coagulase (clots blood), Emulsin (acts upon sugar), Invertase (converts cane sugar to dextrose), Lipase (fat splitting), Pectinase (forms vegetable jelly), Peroxidate (oxidizing effect of the blood), and Protase (digests proteins). These in turn help in digesting all four classes of food: proteins, fats, starches and sugars. Alfalfa is also rich in protein and fiber.
Alfalfa helps lower cholesterol by attracting it to itself before the cholesterol can stick to vessel walls. The chlorophyll, enzymes, minerals, and vitamins all aid digestion and help stimulate appetites. As a mild diuretic and laxative, it may improve appetite and relieve some causes of swelling. The chlorophyll in alfalfa helps fight bad bacteria. Alfalfa may help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels which can benefit heart health. It is used in the treatment of urinary tract infections, as well as problems with the prostate, kidney, and bladder. Alfalfa has anti-inflammatory qualities and thus can relieve pain associated with arthritis and bursitis.
Alfalfa’s richness is especially beneficial to health needs related to child birth. It will relieve morning sickness, anemia, heartburn, and constipation. The vitamin K both reduces postpartum bleeding and increase the K level in the baby. Alfalfa will also reduce swelling, balance blood sugar levels, and increase and sustain lactation. Menopausal women have found alfalfa reduces hot flashes as well.
The nutrition of the Benefits of alfalfa may be ingested as leaves or as a tea. Not all the benefits listed above may be desirable. For example, because of its blood thinning qualities, it is not recommended for those with lupus. Alfalfa certainly deserves the name ‘the father of all foods.’ Such a multitude of benefits from bulk dried herbs like alfalfa should motivate more people to get in on their goodness.