What are the Uses and Health Benefits of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)?
Alfalfa is regarded as the "father of all foods" and deserves its name. This herb has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Indian medicine for digestive disorders, jaundice, and blood clotting disorders. Some researchers have stated that it has also been used to encourage lactation in nursing mothers.
Its Latin name is Medicago sativa and belongs to the family Leguminosae (also known as Fabaceae).
Common Names in Different Languages
- English name: Bastard medic, Alfalfa
- Hindi name: Lusanghas
- Sanskrit name: Ashvabala
- Tamil name: Kutiraimacal
- Kannada name: Vilaayitihullu, Lusarnesoppu
This leguminous herb grows up to a height of 50 cm. Its flowers are clove-shaped, alternate and are purple in color. Leaves are 5 to 20 mm long and dentate at the apex, sometimes at the base too. Fruits contain 10 to 20 seeds and is yellow to brown in color. Its long root system absorbs the nutrients in the body, thus it has high minerals and vitamins.
This herb is native to Europe and Southwest Asian regions. It is widely cultivated in temperate regions and the subtropics. It is also grown in all parts of India.
Seeds and leaves
Nutrients Present in Medicago sativa
Medicago sativa is mainly rich in vitamin K and also contains other vitamins like Vitamin A, B, C, D and E. It also contains minerals like sodium, calcium, manganese, chlorine, and silicon. These all are essential for maintaining the proper functioning of vital organs in the body. Manganese present in it improves the manufacture of insulin for proper digestion. It has the highest chlorophyll content and is often used to make liquid chlorophyll which has high nutritional value. It also has 8 known digestive enzymes that enable the food to be assimilated properly within the body and raises the basic nitrogen exchange.
What are the Medicinal Uses of Medicago sativa?
- Medicago sativa acts as a blood purifier and alleviates allergies.
- Leaves are rich in Vitamin K, thus promote healthy blood clotting and treat jaundice.
- It provides relief in all types of arthritis and eases the morning stiffness.
- The high concentration of alkaloids present in it reduces the cholesterol and blood pressure.
- It is used as a vitamin K supplement and increases the milk supply during nursing.
- It reverses the tooth decay and remineralizes the teeth.
- Its alkaline properties make it the best laxative, digestive, and tonic for the body which increase the peristaltic movements.
- Being a diuretic, it eliminates water content from the body.
What are the Health Benefits of Medicago sativa?
Dropsy or Edema
It is an effective diuretic that works gently on the kidneys and useful in the treatment of urinary disorders like inflammation and dropsy which are caused due to the urine retention and fluid accumulation in the body.
Stomach Related Disorders
Alfalfa seeds are called as the "King of sprouts" and have immense value in maintaining the body's health. Daily use of this herb improves the immune system that prevents stomach distress.
Its alkalizing property reduces the hyperacidity and controls the flow of HCl (Hydrochloric acid) in the stomach.
Its juice has been found effective in arterial problems and other heart-related problems. Its fresh leaves are also used for blocking bad cholesterol absorption and prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. In combination with carrot juice, it has the potency to reduce the intestinal absorption of both exogenous and endogenous cholesterol. Its leaves extract is very strong and potent.
Alfalfa has a great role in arthritis which helps in alkalizing the food residues in the body. Consume 6 to 7 cups of it for at least 2 weeks.
As this herb is a rich source of chlorophyll, thus helpful in treating respiratory disorders, especially the sinusitis.
High Blood Pressure
This herb contains all the effective and necessary elements that soften the hardened arteries and maintain the blood pressure.
Hair Related Disorders
A combination of alfalfa with carrot and lettuce, if taken daily, improves hair growth. This combination has various necessary elements which provide strength to the roots of the hair.