Alfalfa - Overview, History Benefits, Precaution, Dosage
What Is Alfalfa?
Alfalfa is a versatile herb, which has been used in many supplements. It is a perennial herb belonging to the genus Medicago of the legume family. In scientific terms, it is known as lucerne or Medicago sativa. It is not something new, it has been used for hundreds of years. The name alfalfa is derived from the Arabic translation of the Persian word for "best food" and is also known as "Superfood". It contains a high concentration of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein and many more. To be used as a pasture grass for cattle, it is used in salads and other dishes in the form of soft, thread-like bean sprouts, as they have a unique bean flavour and a soft, sweet taste when eaten. In addition, the green leaves that have grown have been popular as herbs since ancient times. Alfalfa's roots are powerful and reach depths of 5 to 10m, and are known for providing valuable trace elements and minerals that cannot be obtained from other plants. Many stems are put out, and the stems are 50 cm to 1 m in height, and the leaves consist of 3 leaflets. In summer, it produces dark purple to white butterfly-shaped flowers.
The seeds are hard and are present in a spirally coiled fruit. It can be eaten in about a week after germination, so it can be easily grown in the kitchen. The use of alfalfa is famous in the form of alfalfa sprouts. Its sprouts look like moong sprouts.
- Latin Name: The Latin name of alfalfa is Medicago sativa.
- Common Name: The common name of alfalfa is Lucerne or purple medic. In India, it is also known as Rajko.
- Family Member: Alfalfa is a leguminous plant of the pea family (Fabaceae),
- Habitat: Alfalfa needs an area with a lot of sun, and grows at any place like near a river, roadside, empty field, waste area, etc.
- Season: Spring-fall is the season of Alfalfa.
Alfalfa Nutritional Value
Alfalfa is a very nutritious vegetable. Therefore, the nutrients and ingredients contained in it are outstanding compared to other vegetables or sprouts. Alfalfa is rich in a lot of dietary fibre, protein, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, K1, E, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, biotin, inositol, choline, total chlorophyll, xanthophyll, calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, nickel, manganese, iodine, copper, phosphorus, silicon, etc. That is why it is also called the " King of Vegetables ". It is also characterised by its large amount. It contains more essential amino acids than soybeans and more vitamin A than eel and liver.
Alfalfa per 100g gives the following nutritional value:-
Energy 11 kcal
Dietary fibre 1.4g
Folic acid 56μg
Alfalfa is believed to have originated from Central Asia to the Mediterranean Sea, after which it is said to have spread to North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Siberia, North India, and China. As per the record, alfalfa is found when grazing animals are eating them years back. Some historians also believe that this may have occurred concurrently with the domestication of the horse. It has a high nutritive value, and when used as a pasture grass, it grows well and becomes fat. Later with time, its medical properties get famous and it has been used by common people. Now, it is a popular superfood used in many supplements. Alfalfa is famous for using alone as well as combining with vitamins, minerals and herbs.
Alfalfa is a superfood. It provides a lot of changes in the body. Here is some benefit point you will get while using alfalfa:
Improve swelling: Alfalfa is rich in a lot of potassium among minerals. Hence, it is said to have the capability to reduce swelling. This is because alfalfa is believed to have diuretic properties due to potassium levels. People excrete water and electrolytes through urine. The kidneys produce urine with a concentration suitable for the body according to the concentration of body fluids. Although there are differences depending on the amount of water intake, it is generally said that an average of 1.5 litres of urine is excreted per day. Urine contains waste products such as ammonia, uric acid, and sodium that are not needed by the body. A diuretic is an action that excretes excess water and waste products from the body by increasing the amount of urine. Its diuretic action helps eliminate bloating by removing waste products and excess water. In addition, in the state where excess water and waste products are accumulated, the flow of blood and lymph fluid becomes poor, causing deterioration of metabolism and coldness. These symptoms are said to make it difficult to burn fat, and it is said that dieting effects can be expected by consuming foods with diuretic properties.
Fatigue recovery effect: Alfalfa has long roots, absorbs a lot of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus from the soil, and it takes in a lot of minerals from the soil. Moreover, nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin B group, and vitamin K can also be replenished. In addition, it also contains 8 sorts of fundamental amino acids and is supposed to be suitable for relieving fatigue. It provides daily nutrients to the body and charges up the body for daily activities.
Cholesterol-lowering effect: Alfalfa contains a ton of chlorophyll. At the point when the blood cholesterol level is high, the cholesterol sticks to the walls of the veins and hinders the bloodstream. If this condition proceeds, it might progress to arteriosclerosis, expanding the risk of life-threatening illnesses like myocardial localised necrosis and cerebral infarction. Chlorophyll from alfalfa suppressed the retention of cholesterol from food, prevents blood clots, and brings down pressure. When chlorophyll intake lowers cholesterol levels, the blood becomes smoother and blood circulation is promoted, so it can be expected to be effective in preventing cardiovascular diseases. It has been studied that chlorophyll lowers cholesterol levels and normalises blood lipids, and is expected to be effective.
Detox Effect: Chlorophyll has the capability of suppressing the retention of cholesterol from meals, as well as adsorbing absorb waste products in the digestive tract and releasing them out of the body. Chlorophyll isn't digested and absorbed, and is discharged through the little and internal intestines. You can expect the impact of eliminating substances such as toxins, and harmful minerals like cadmium and lead. It is also reported to be successful in eliminating toxins and is supposed to have a detoxifying impact. It helps to keep the body healthy.
Relieve Constipation: Alfalfa contains a great deal of dietary fibre and absorbs water in the digestive tract, expands it, and stimulates the digestive tract, hence it helps to get rid of constipation. As a result of improving constipation, waste products are quickly discharged from the body, so it is said to be effective for beautiful skin and diet.
Prevent osteoporosis: Alfalfa is supposed to be a very excellent food for preventing osteoporosis, as it is plentiful in chlorophyll, nutrients, calcium, and magnesium. It is a great option for bone health. Its natural calcium amount helps to support healthy bones. Many bone patients prefer to use alfalfa tonic, alfalfa sprouts and alfalfa supplements.
Great quality protein: Protein is a significant supplement that makes up muscles and organs. It also has regulatory functions such as enzymes and hormones. 20 types of amino acids are required to synthesise proteins in the body, 9 of which are nutrients called essential amino acids that cannot be synthesised in the body. Alfalfa protein is considered to be a high-quality protein because it contains essential amino acids.
Anti-oxidant action: Beta-carotene in alfalfa is also called provitamin A because it is converted to vitamin A in the body. β-carotene is a nutrient that is supposed to have an antioxidant effect that suppresses the generation of dynamic oxygen. Since it prevents the development of lipid peroxide, it can be expected to have a preventive effect on arteriosclerosis and cancer. Chlorophyll contained in it is also expected to have antioxidant effects. Chlorophyll's antioxidant activity was found to be even stronger than that of beta-carotene in research.
It is essential to intake the right dose of alfalfa like other herbs. Whatever form of alfalfa you are using, make sure to not consume more than 5-10g. Well, there is no fixed dose as suggested by any professional. But, you should not consume more than 5-10g.
If you want to consume alfalfa appropriately, then talk to a professional. They will help you to guide the right dose in the right amount as per your body's needs. As we know, alfalfa is rich in a lot of vitamins and minerals, hence the requirement of alfalfa may also vary from body to body.
Alfalfa’s Precaution and Overdose
Alfalfa is full of nutrients that are good for your health, but you should be careful not to eat too much, as it can put a strain on your body. Any plant can be poisonous if eaten in excess, but sprouts, which are young shoots, are especially rich in plant-specific components.
Alfalfa also contains steroidal alkaloids, canavanine, which is a type of amino acid, and phytoestrogens, and can be toxic to humans if taken in excess. Be careful not to take too much, especially in the following cases, pregnant or breastfeeding, those with autoimmune diseases, those with circulatory system diseases such as the heart or kidneys, those with blood thinning problems, etc.
Canavanine is contained in the seeds and should be avoided by people with systemic lupus erythematosus, a type of collagen disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Phytoestrogens have a similar effect to female hormones, but excessive intake may lead to hormonal imbalance, and it may cause female-specific diseases and pregnant women to be particularly adverse, so caution is required. The presence of vitamin K in Alfalfa is dangerous for blood thinning medication. It can affect the medication process. Please be careful about the amount of alfalfa you eat so that you don't get sick. For the right dose, you can consult a healthcare professional. In addition, if you feel any side effects, immediately stop using it and visit a doctor.
How to grow alfalfa
Alfalfa is a herb and can be easily grown at home. It is said that it is easy to grow even for beginners among sprouts, so why not try it?
Things to prepare: Alfalfa seeds, glass bottle, gauze, Drainboard (OK if you have one), rubber band, paper bag
- Add about 1 teaspoon of alfalfa seeds to 300ml of water and soak the seeds.
- Mix it around and leave it for a while to remove the seeds that float to the surface.
- Cover the mouth of the bottle with gauze and secure it with a rubber band.
- Leave in the dark for about 8 hours. At that time, it is a good idea to cover the bottle with a paper bag so that it is not sealed.
- Drain the water with the case on and leave it upside down. Rinse with water twice in the morning and evening.
- Germinate in a few days. Grow for about a week while continuing to change the water.
- If you don't change the water frequently, it may rot, so it is important to water it twice in the morning and at night to keep it clean. The seed has skin on it, but it can be easily removed by washing it several times. It's very easy, so please look for seeds and grow them.
How To Eat Alfalfa
Now you are aware of the benefits of alfalfa. Consuming alfalfa is easy, if you opt for the supplement. Alfalfa capsules, tablets, juice, etc can be consumed as per professional guidance. If you have fresh alfalfa, we will explain to you how to wash, cook and eat without damaging its nutrients.
- How to clean alfalfa: Simply rinse it with water. The alfalfa seeds themselves are edible, but if you don't like the texture, wash them well and remove them. Fill a bowl with water and shake the alfalfa to remove the seeds.
- How to cook and eat alfalfa: Since alfalfa can be consumed fresh, it is frequently used in salads. There are more ways to use it, such as adding it to sandwiches or blending it to make smoothies.
How To Store Alfalfa
Let's know how to store alfalfa without damaging its nutritional value. Alfalfa doesn't last long, so try to finish eating it the day you buy it. If you want to store it, we recommend refrigerating or freezing it.
- Cold storage: After vacuuming it, place it in a storage bag and store it in the refrigerator to keep air out. Even better is to keep it in the veggie section. 2 to 3 days is the shelf life.
- Frozen Storage: It should be placed in a freezer bag and kept in the freezer. There is a three-month shelf life. Sprouts such as alfalfa tend to release water when thawed and lose their texture. If you want to use it for cooking, heat it as it is without thawing, or use it for smoothies.
Frequently Asked Question On Alfalfa
What is alfalfa used for?
Alfalfa is used as animal feed and for human consumption as a dietary supplement or sprouted vegetable. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. People consume it for its potential health benefits, such as supporting digestion, reducing cholesterol levels, and providing essential nutrients.
Does alfalfa make you gain weight?
Alfalfa itself is not likely to cause weight gain. It is a low-calorie food and can be part of a healthy diet. However, excessive consumption of any food, including alfalfa, without proper portion control and overall dietary balance, can contribute to weight gain.
What is alfalfa called in hindi
In Hindi, alfalfa is called "जवास" (pronounced as "jawaas"). It is also known as Rijka is also a famous name in India.
How to take alfalfa tonic?
To take alfalfa tonic, follow the recommended dosage instructions on the product label. Typically, adults can take 1 to 2 teaspoons of alfalfa tonic mixed with water or fruit juice, once or twice a day. Shake the bottle well before use. It's best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, especially if you have specific health concerns or conditions.
How to grow alfalfa sprouts?
To grow alfalfa sprouts, rinse 2 tablespoons of alfalfa seeds and soak them in water for 6-8 hours. Drain the water and place the seeds in a sprouting jar or tray. Rinse and drain them twice a day for 3-5 days until they sprout. Keep them in a well-lit spot. Enjoy once fully grown!
How To Use Alfalfa Tablets and Capsules?
It is ideal to consume 1-2 tablets and capsules of alfalfa. For better use, you should check the instructions on the label. All brands mentioned their recommended dose on the back side.
What is the common name for alfalfa?
Lucerne or purple medic,rijka, cloerlike, etc are the common name of alfalfa
Can you eat alfalfa?
Yes, humans and animals can eat alfalfa. It is a great source of vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants and many more. It provides nutritional value to the body. You can consume alfalfa in salad, sandwiches, soup and other food items like regular sprouts.
Does alfalfa have vitamin D?
Yes, alfalfa contains vitamin D. Many professionals suggest consuming alfalfa sprouts to overcome vitamin D deficiency.
What are 3 benefits of alfalfa?
Alfalfa is rich in nutritional value. The top three benefits of alfalfa use is it reduces cholesterol levels. support bone health, and provide energy by reducing fatigue.
Is alfalfa good for hair loss?
Yes, alfalfa is good for hair health. It helps to reduce hair loss too.
What does alfalfa taste and smell like?
The flavour of alfalfa is that of sweetened beans. The leaves, which are sometimes used as herbs, have a refreshing aroma and taste similar to green tea.
What is the difference between alfalfa and sprouts?
Sprout is also not the name of a vegetable. The sprouts that germinate are called sprouts. Therefore, when the alfalfa plant germinates, the sprout is called an alfalfa sprout.