Scientific name: Medicago sativa
Other names: Lucerne
History and Folklore
As one of the earliest of all cultivated plants, alfalfa has a long history. The name Alfalfa comes from the Arabic al-fac-facah, which means “father of all foods”. It has been used for centuries as a high-protein food source for cattle, horses, sheep and other livestock.
Alfalfa is an herbaceous perennial that grows about two to three feet tall. From July through September, the plant bears bright purple or blue flowers followed by interesting corkscrew seedpods. The taproot is very long and tough, allowing the plant to survive very dry weather. It also enables the plant to pull up nutrients from deep underground. Alfalfa fixes nitrogen in the soil and is often used during crop rotation for this purpose.
Alfalfa is widely cultivated throughout the world. It is an easy grower and will tolerate most soil types. Alfalfa prefers full sun and tolerates dry spells well.
Alfalfa is a bringer of prosperity. Carry it with you when you go to the bank to ask for a loan.
To protect your home and all who dwell within from hunger, poverty, and unhappiness, keep a small jar of alfalfa in your kitchen cabinet or pantry.
To protect your property, burn some alfalfa and scatter the ashes all around its boundaries and buildings.
Weave together alfalfa strands to make an amulet to protect against poverty.
Add alfalfa to your magical cooking to ward off disease, to bring money into the home, and when general grounding is desired.
Besides being wonderful food for all of your vegetarian pets, alfalfa is great plant food. Roses love it. You can apply it in tea form, or you can simply scatter some pellets (get them at the pet store) in the soil and work them in.
Alfalfa pellets make great, nontoxic, biodegradable litter for your indoor pets. They absorb moisture and odors quite well.
Alfalfa helps flush out excess water and as such increases urination and helps relieve bloating and water retention. It is useful in the treatment of urinary tract infections, kidney infections, and bladder infections, and helps to flush out toxins. However, always consult a physician if you suspect you have an infection in any of these organs.
As a general tonic and blood purifier, alfalfa is useful in rebuilding the body after a prolonged illness. It also helps to lower cholesterol levels and reduces plaque buildup on artery walls. Alfalfa also acts as an anti-inflammatory in some cases and may be used to reduce the pain and swelling of many conditions.
Alfalfa is also useful for digestive disorders such as ulcers and constipation.
Alfalfa aids the body in absorbing nutrients from other foods and reduces fat production, making it useful for dieters.
Large amounts of alfalfa can disrupt reproductive cycles, especially when the whole fresh plant is consumed.
Pregnant women should consult a physician before using alfalfa, and should not consume the seeds which contain chemicals that promote menstruation and may lead to miscarriage.
Ingesting large quantities of seeds, which contain the amino acid canavonine, over a long period of time may lead to blood disorders and a weakened immune system. This amino acid is also contained in smaller quantities in the sprouts. Those with autoimmune disorders such as Lupus or Rheumatoid arthritis should be cautious of eating large quantities of sprouts and seeds as it may trigger attacks.
Studies suggest alfalfa may trigger the destruction of carcinogens built up in the liver during the digestive process.
Alfalfa sprouts are rich in protein and trace minerals. They also assist the body in absorbing nutrients from other foods and resist fat production. They are especially good on sandwiches.
Many people enjoy sprouting alfalfa for use on salads. To do this, simply soak your alfalfa seeds overnight in a jar. Strain the water from a jar, and then place it in a dark place for four days. Two or three times a day rinse and drain the seeds again. Once the little white sprouts begin to appear about the fourth day, after rinsing your seeds place them in the sun. Once the little sprouts turn green, they’re ready to eat.