Identification: Alfalfa is deep-rooted perennial plant with a smooth, erect stem growing 2 to 3 feet tall. It bears grayish-green pinnately trifoliate leaves, with egg-shaped leaflets; it looks much like a large clover. Its violet-purple flowers grow in racemes, from 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, producing spirally-coiled seed pods.
Habitat: Fields & roadsides. Throughout the world in a variety of climates.
Family: Leguminosae (Pea Family)
Other Names: Buffalo Herb, Cultivated Lucern, Lucerne, Purple Medick, Purple Medicle
Flowers: April – October
Parts Used: Flowers, leaves, seeds, sprouts, tops.
Properties: Abortifacient (seeds), Alterative, Antianemic, Anti-fungal, Appetizer, Diuretic, Emmenagogue (seeds), Estrogenic, Styptic, Tonic.
Constituents: Saponins, many sterols, coumarin, flavonoids, alkaloids, acids, vitamins, amino acids, sugars, proteins, minerals, and trace elements. Nutrients: Betacarotene, calcium, carotene, chlorophyll, folic acid, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, potassium, protein, silicon, sodium, and zinc.
Also contains Vitamins A, B1, B6, B8, B12, C, D, E, K1, P, U, and the anti-oxidant Tricin. Historical Use: Early Chinese physicians used young alfalfa leaves to treat disorders of the digestive tract. In India, Ayurvedic physicians prescribed the leaves and flowering tops for poor digestion. It was also considered therapeutic for water retention and arthritis. North American Indians recommended alfalfa to treat jaundice and to encourage blood clotting. Eclectic physicians used alfalfa as a tonic for indigestion, dyspepsia, anemia, loss of appetite, and poor assimilation of nutrients. Alfalfa was also recommended to stimulate lactation in nursing mothers, and the seeds have been traditionally made into a poultice for the treatment of boils and insect bites.
Main Uses: Arteriosclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, eczema, fibrocystic breast disease, menopause, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, anemia, hormonal inbalances, malnutrition, wasting, chronic disease, weakness, and slow blood coagulation.
Alfalfa has been used as a diuretic and laxative. It has also been used for urinary tract infections, kidney, bladder, and prostate disorders. It alkalized and detoxifies the body, especially the liver, promotes pituitary gland function and also contains an anti-fungus agent.
Preparation and Dosages:
Infusion: Use 2 teaspoons of the dried herb, 3 times a day.
Fluid Extract: [1:1, in 25% alcohol] 2 teaspoons, 3 times a day.
Alfalfa is also a wild food.