The Arabs named it alfalfameaning ‘father of all foods.’ It is also called Buffalo Herb, Lucerne, and Purple Medic. The ancient Greeks used it to treat bladder and kidney conditions. The Chinese use alfalfa to treat kidney stones. For 1500 years it has been used as a food and herbal medicine. So, what makes alfalfa so good?
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 contains many valuable minerals such as iron (needed in hemoglobin), calcium and phosphorus (bone and teeth health), potassium (muscle tone and nerves), manganese (lowers blood sugar levels), chlorides (regulates fat, sugar and starch metabolism), sodium (regulates fluid balance), and silicon magnesium (stimulates brain function). Second, alfalfa is rich in vitamins A (eye health), B6 (stimulates protein and fat metabolism), D (regulates the use of calcium and phosphorus in the body), E (heart and cardiovascular health), K (blood clotting and liver functions), and U (treats peptic ulcers).
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.
Consider this list of benefits in child birth: relieves problems of morning sickness, constipation, anemia, and heartburn; vitamin K reduces postpartum bleeding and increases K level in the baby; increases and sustains milk supply; reduces swelling, and balances blood sugar levels. Alfalfa may reduce hot flashes in menopausal women as well.
The nutrition of alfalfa may be ingested as leaves or as a tea. It can also be purchased as a liquid, tablet, or capsule. 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 should motivate more people to get in on its goodness.