alfalfa field farm

Alfalfa

Medicago Sativa, Pea family

Some folks would say “alfalfa is only fit for livestock,” but you might be surprised to discover that alfalfa was cultivated for medicinal purposes long before it was grown for fodder. Alfalfa has been used for centuries to treat jaundice, arthritis, muscle problems, and kidney disorders.

The Native Americans used it to promote blood clotting and to increase energy and bone strength. Alfalfa is also a well known remedy for intestinal difficulties and for easing menopause. Alfalfa is high in protein and calcium, as well as other minerals and B vitamins.  Alfalfa also contains vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

Alfalfa Lore

The first mention of alfalfa was found in old text written by the emperor of China in 2939 BC. It’s botanical name ‘Medicago’ appears to derive from ancient Greece, but it was the Arabs who named it alfalfa meaning “father of all foods.” It was also Arabs who first fed it to horses to make them run faster.

Alfalfa Success Story

Chainsaw Roy, a friend of mine who lives down the road, continually tells me how great alfalfa is and how it saved his life. Roy is around seventy, clean shaven with a silver ponytai,l and is of German/Cherokee decent. He is a character who makes a living carving the purple heart cedar with his Sthil Chainsaw.

When Roy was in his late sixties his knees got so bad that he could hardly walk and his doctor told him that they were going to have to put disks and steel pins in his knees. He told the doctor to take a hike because he was sure the doctor had dollar signs in his eyes. On his way home, Roy had a change of heart. After struggling with such severe pain, to the point of not wanting to live anymore, Roy decided he was going to have to fire up his chainsaw and work through the pain to pay the expensive fees for the tests and appointments. He suffered through work for quite awhile, but then the day came when a stray Navajo wandered by and took up a conversation with Roy about alfalfa’s healing powers.  Roy started eating alfalfa and swears that his condition was gone almost immediately.  Years later Roy still carves and walks like his ancestors did, without any pain from what was a serious arthritic condition.

Alfalfa Flowers

Alfalfa flowers are purple and taste good but horse experts say that alfalfa must be cut before the flowers appear because it can create colic in horses.

Prices of Alfalfa Soar

Alfalfa is generally sold by the bale and can be gotten from most feed stores and pet shops, but alfalfa prices recently skyrocketed here in New Mexico.

A bale of premium quality alfalfa generally costs around $7 or $8 dollars but crop failures in Texas caused the alfalfa in NM to cost $22.50 per bale. Horses have to eat and there are lots of horses in Texas so NM alfalfa was in high demand.  My dad, Doc, randomly bought 30 bales for $210, which is odd because we do not have much livestock to speak of -one rabbit. He had me unload this trailer load of hay into the container and suddenly we were sitting on gold.  Only a few months later, Doc’s small investment is worth $675.

Should I Eat Alfalfa by the Bale?

An entire bale is too much for a human to consume. You could eat it, but I don’t recommend it. It’s almost all GMO now. Thank you Monsanto! Scumbags!!!  It’s not good for you. It’s not good medicine.  It’s just crap. It is best to grow your own alfalfa sprouts organically.  Many people don’t know that your typical store-bought container of sprouts for sandwiches and salads are Alfalfa sprouts.

Sprouting Alfalfa

Alfalfa seeds are really easy to come by. Most health food stores sell them in bulk for sprouting. A very cheap way to grow a mess of alfalfa is to buy an ounce or two of these seeds in the Organic Bulk section and scatter them in an area of your yard that has water, maybe where the water runs off a roof or by a garden hose leak. If you live in a place where it rains regularly (daily is best), then just throw them out into your yard or garden, and let nature do the rest.

It’s also easy to grow alfalfa sprouts in a jar as well.

Alfalfa Sprouts Health Benefits

Alfalfa Sprouts are a Good Source of Protein

One serving of alfalfa sprouts provides a gram of easily digestible and easy to assimilate plant-based protein. Remember, it’s not how much protein you eat, it’s how much you properly assimilate that counts.

Alfalfa Sprouts are High in Micronutrients

Alfalfa sprouts are a great source of several micronutrients. Alfalfa sprouts are a good source of vitamin K and B vitamins including riboflavin, niacin, folate, thiamin, pantothenic acid and B6. Alfalfa is also high in vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, and other minerals.

Alfalfa Sprouts are High in Fiber

Alfalfa sprouts are an excellent source of fiber. A 33-gram serving of alfalfa sprouts provides a gram of fiber, making alfalfa a good food for people suffering from constipation and other digestive issues.

Alfalfa and Weight Loss

At only 8 calories per serving, alfalfa is an ideal choice for people who trying to lose weight. Thanks to the fiber and protein, alfalfa is filling too.

Bryan Shillington

Bryan Shillington

Bryan Shillington completed his first course in herbology at age eleven. He has lived in the high deserts and learned the indigenous herbs, lived in the flat lands where he learned about tropical medicinals, and lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains where he studied the plants of the Native Americans. He has worked as a gardener, a wood carver, a blacksmith, a sailor, a stucco man, a roofer, and as a fourth generation natural healer. He now teaches at the Academy of Natural Healing and takes students on herb identifying expeditions into the forest to find the medicine of our ancestors.

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