Alfalfa is one of those herbs that isn’t used a whole lot. It’s scientific name is Medicago sativa and it is from the Fabaceae family, the pea family. Even when not often used for medicine, it is very important for agriculture because it fixes nitrogen, allowing for it to be more available in the soil for plants to grow healthier the following year. In medicine, we use the leaves and above ground parts when the plant is flowering. it tastes slightly sweet and bitter but is neutral to cooling in it’s energetics.
Just like stinging nettles, alfalfa is a highly nutritious herb and is very safe. It is high in vitamins A, K, E, D, and C. There are also trace elements and minerals present.
It’s general use has been for menstrual irregularities, gastric upsets, and to reduce blood clotting.The juice can be bought in some stores and may potentially encourage women to start menstruating. It may increase estrogen production and reduce morning sickness. It mixes well with red raspberry leaf for these uses, in tea, safely during pregnancy.
Alfalfa’s blood clotting benefits the kidneys specifically and is a good tonic for the kidneys. It acts as a laxative and a diuretic, calming inflamed bladders and reducing cystitis. These activities of alfalfa also encourage the body to remove toxins and neutralize acids in the body. It may also be supportive as a dietary aid for those with Celiac Disease, as it is used in some clinics in Germany for this.
Now, alfalfa is really only used as a nutritive tea and for allergies in blends with other herbs like nettles for allergies. In tea, a good daily dose is 8g in 4 cups of water if by itself as an herbal multivitamin.Seeds should only ever be eaten if they have been sprouted. Unsprouted seeds contain a toxic amino acid. Once sprouted, they can be ground and mixed with flour to make a more nutritious bread flour.
Want to learn more about nutritive herbs and healthy food choices? Check out our free class series on our website for more on alfalfa.