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Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is originally from southwest Asia as a food for livestock, but is now grown all over the world. The ancient Chinese, noticing that their cattle preferred grazing in alfalfa, started to sprout alfalfa shoots, which they used as a vegetable. Ancient Arabs fed it to their horses to increase speed and endurance. They called it al-fac-facah, which translates into “father of every food,” and they in turn, introduced it to the Spanish, who changed the name to alfalfa. Ayurvedics have used alfalfa to cleanse the liver, detoxify the blood, treat ulcers, arthritis, and fluid retention. Alfalfa is bitter to the taste and astringent, with cooling properties. It is very high in nutrients - it contains eight essential digestive enzymes and eight essential amino acids of protein and high chlorophyll content. It is an extremely rich source of beta-carotene, minerals, trace elements and vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, biotin, folic acid, niacin and Pantothenic acid. It also contains calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. It alkalises and detoxifies the body, aids the liver, and is very good for the treatment of anaemia, ulcers, diabetes, and haemorrhaging – it has also be used to treat colitis, sciatica, bursitis, grout and rheumatism and as a natural breath freshener. In addition, it is known to promote pituitary gland functions and contains antifungal agents. Alfalfa is extremely useful to those wishing to reduce their blood cholesterol levels and clean plaque deposits from arterial walls. Alfalfa also contains natural fluorides, which help prevent tooth decay and rebuild decaying teeth. The majority of the alfalfa plant is edible, including the leaves, petals, flowers, and sprouts however, the seeds should never be eaten as they contain high levels of the toxic amino acid canavanine, this means that overtime, if the seeds are eaten, they could result in impaired funct
ioning of the platelets and white blood cells. To benefit from alfalfa’s many health properties, is best taken in the form of a tea, a supplement or in sprout form. Another note of caution however, is that alfalfa should only ever be taken in the recommended doses contained on the packaging. To take in the form of a tea, two teaspoons of the herb should be added to one cup of boiling water, which should be left to steep for fifteen minutes. Three cups of this tea can be drunk per day, alternatively, use fresh alfalfa sprouts as a sandwich filling. Alfalfa is safe to use in conjunction with fenugreek, garlic, ginger, saffron, and turmeric. Alfalfa can be obtained from Holland & Barratt www.hollandandbarratt.com or from Woods Supplements www.woodshealth.com where you can find a large range of alternative medicines at very reasonable prices.
Medicago sativa. Alfalfa is a herbal remedy which treats a whole manner of ailments, from anemia to rheumatism.