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Alfalfa / Medicago Sativa

Alfalfa – Medicago Sativa Medical Properties, Uses, Benefits, Dosage and side effects

Alfalfa is considered the “Father of all foods” and it deserves this name. This herb has been used in traditional Chinese medicines and the Indian system of medicine for treating various disorders related to liver, blood, digestion, etc. Many studies have stated that it is also useful to encourage lactation in nursing mothers.

Latin Name- Medicago sativa
Family- Leguminosae

Alfalfa Names in different languages:

  1. English name – Alfalfa, Bastard medic, Lucerne, Sand lucerne, Purple medic, Buffal herb
  2. Hindi name – Rizka, Lusan ghas
  3. Punjabi name – Sinjhi, Dureshta
  4. Sanskrit name – Ashvabala
  5. Kannada name – Lusarne soppu, Vilaayiti hullu, Kudure massaale, Kudure soppu, Loosaran
  6. Marathi name – Lasun-ghas, Vilayati gavat, Lujen
  7. Gujarati name – Vilayati ghas
  8. Tamil name – Kutirai macal
  9. French name – Luzerne intermediaire, Luzerne bigarree
  10. Arabic name – Fisfisat, Alfafa, Alfasafat, Alfalfa
  11. German name – Sandluzerne, Bastardluzerne
  12. Spanish name – Alfalfa hibrida, alfalfa de las arenas
  13. Persian name – Isfist

Synonyms in the Sanskrit language:

Kotivarsha, Panchagupti, Jwarapha, Marunmala, Pishuna, Panchagupti, Swadu kalayabandhu

Types of Alfalfa:

Varieties of Alfalfa are divided into two categories-

  • Variegated Alfalfa – This is derived from crosses between M. falcata (yellow-colored flowers) and M. sativa (purple-colored flowers). Flowers are range in colors and maybe yellow, white, blue, or purple. These are cold-tolerant varieties and drought tolerance.
  • Flemish Alfalfa – This type of variety is originated in Northern France and has purple-colored flowers. They grow early and are quick to recover after cutting. These usually mature within 2 to 5 days earlier than the other variety.

Morphological characteristics:

Alfalfa is a leguminous plant that grows up to the height of 50 cm. Leaves of this herb are 5 to 20 mm in length and dentate at the apex and sometimes at the base too. Its flowers are alternate, clove-shaped, and are purple in color. Fruits contain 10 to 20 seeds, and it yellows to brown in color. Roots absorb the essential nutrients in the body. Therefore, it contains a high quantity of vitamins and minerals.

It is cultivated in Southwest Asian regions, Europe, subtropics, and temperate regions. It is also cultivated in various parts of India.

Main chemical constituents:

Canavanine, Tricin, Chrysoeriol, medicarpin, Liquiritigenin, Coumestrol, Formonone, Medicarpin, 2-hydroxyisoflavone, and 4,7-Dihydroxyflavone.

Essential nutrients:

Alfalfa mainly contains vitamin K and also contains vitamin A, B, C, D, and E. The minerals present in it are manganese, calcium, sodium, silicon, and chlorine which are helpful in maintaining the proper functioning of vital organs in the body. Manganese present in it maintains the proper functioning and manufacturing of insulin. It is the richest source of chlorophyll content which is used to make liquid chlorophyll that has high nutritional value. This plant also contains 8 digestive enzymes that maintain the proper assimilation of food within the body and raise the exchange of nitrogen.

Medicinal properties:

  • Rasa (Taste)- Amla (sour)
  • Guna (Quality)- Laghu (light) and Rooksha (dry)
  • Veerya (Potency)- Ushna (hot)
  • Vipaka (Undergoes taste conversion after digestion)- Amla (Sour)

Allied species:

There are three annual species of Alfalfa that have been introduced into America Medicago lupulina, Madicago Arabica, Medicago denticulate. All these three species have restricted forage value, and they are cultivated as forage plants.

Medicinal uses of Alfalfa:

  • Leaves of Alfalfa are rich in vitamin K which promotes the healthy blood clotting
  • Its leaves are also useful in treating jaundice
  • Alfalfa also works as a natural blood purifier and treats allergies.
  • This herb also gives relief in arthritis and also eases morning stiffness in joints.
  • A high concentration of alkaloids reduces cholesterol levels and maintains blood pressure.
  • It has the property to reverse the tooth decaying and remineralize the teeth.
  • As a natural vitamin K supplement, it increases the milk supply during lactation.
  • Alkaline properties make it the best digestive and laxative tonic for the body to increase the peristaltic movements.
  • As a natural diuretic, it eliminates water content from the body.

Therapeutic uses of Alfalfa :

  • Heart-related disorders: Juice of Alfalfa has been used in Ayurveda for many ages to treat arterial problems and heart-related disorders. Its fresh leaves juice helps in blocking bad cholesterol absorption and prevents atherosclerotic plaque formation. The combination of Alfalfa with carrot reduces the absorption of both endogenous and exogenous cholesterol in the intestine.
  • High blood pressure: Alfalfa contains various necessary and effective elements that soften the hardening of arteries and maintains blood pressure. This herb relaxes the blood vessels and regulates the functioning of nerves in the muscles leading to the heart. Hence, facilitates the proper blood flow through the heart passage.
  • Edema: Alfalfa acts as a natural diuretic that works gently on kidneys and is useful in treating various urinary disorders like dropsy and inflammation which are caused due to urine retention and accumulation in the body. Being a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory, it reduces pain as well inflammation in the body and also reduces redness, swelling, etc.
  • Stomach related issues: Alfalfa is known as the ‘king of sprouts’ because it has immense medicinal values that maintain the body’s normal health. Its daily use helps to improve the immune system which prevents various infections. As a natural alkalizer, it helps to reduce acidity and controls HCL (hydrochloric) secretion in the stomach.
  • Respiratory disorders: As Alfalfa is the richest source of chlorophyll, it helps in treating respiratory diseases like sinusitis and its associated symptoms like running nose, swelling, nasal congestion, etc. This herb also works as an antibacterial that reduces the growth or kills bacteria. As histamine, it stops the allergic reactions in the body.
  • Arthritis: Alfalfa has a great role in treating arthritis because of its anti-arthritic action that reduces inflammation and pain that occurs in arthritis. It also treats restricted movements and morning stiffness, especially during winters. It also eliminates the ama (harmful toxins) from the body which gets accumulated in the body and causes arthritis.

Part used :

Seeds and Leaves

Conclusion:

From this article, it is concluded that Alfalfa has various medicinal values and can be used to treat heart-related disorders, arthritis, edema, stomach-related problems, etc. Pregnant ladies and lactating mothers should use it with caution or consult with a doctor.

Note: Our purpose is to serve useful information related to Alfalfa ’s benefits, dosage, and other properties. It is advised to the patients not to consume Alfalfa on the basis of this information. Before taking Alfalfa as a medicine it is better to have an expert opinion because dosage and treatment vary from patient to patient depending on their symptoms and medical history.

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About Dr. Ranjana Kaushal

Dr. Ranjana Kaushal (MD Ayurveda) has 8 years of experience in the field of Ayurveda. Right now she is working as an Ayurveda consultant with Life Aveda. She has immense knowledge about herbs, their uses, and formulations. She has published articles related to many herbs and diseases in an international journal. She is also a degree holder in yoga and naturopathy. Read More..

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