The use of herbs and plants in our diet is in fashion. One of the least known is alfalfa, a plant that hides many health benefits such as fighting urinary infections or anaemia. Take note of the nutrition and benefits of alfalfa.
What is alfalfa?
The modest alfalfa is a plant that has been revealed to us as an exceptional ally for our health. Due to its broad spectrum of virtues, it provides dietary support to facilitate the treatment of a wide range of pathologies and ailments, and as a nutritional contribution. Sprouts and alfalfa seeds are consumed for this purpose.
Fresh or dehydrated alfalfa leaves are used medicinally. Thus, it is attributed with anti anaemic, hemostatic, anti-hemorrhagic, anti-inflammatory, vitamin, remineralizing, diuretic, restorative, emmenagogue, galactogenic, and digestive properties. It also has slightly lipid-lowering properties. It originates from Asia and adapts well to both hot climates and cold temperatures.
The Nutritional Benefits of Alfalfa
- Contains vitamins of group B (B1, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12), vitamins C, D, E, K, and P,
- The nutritional value is high thanks to its content of calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, zinc, etc.
- It is a source of vegetable protein.
- It is antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory thanks to its content of flavonoids and phytosterols among other components.
Medicinal uses of alfalfa
The nutritional benefits of alfalfa are many since the nutrients that it provides are used for a lot of things. Among the benefits provided by this herb are:
- Relief for women: Alfalfa is considered a good ally of women’s health. It is recommended for support during menopause. Alfalfa can act as a natural substitute for hormones due to the oestrogenic effect conferred by molecules present in alfalfa such as coumestrol or isoflavones. It can help with alleviating some of the symptoms of this time, such as hot flashes, night sweats, weakness, migraine, and chronic fatigue.
- Potassium Source: Vitamin K, present in alfalfa, gives it a great anti-hemorrhagic and hemostatic capacity. It has also been revealed as a good aid to treat nasal, capillary, gastric, and uterine haemorrhages, as well as to apply on bruises produced by a hard knock or fall. It is also used to relieve bleeding in haemorrhoids and varicose veins, in this case, in long-term treatments and combination with herbs better equipped for this purpose.
- Diuretic: This plant behaves as a potent diuretic, which added to its anti-inflammatory activity makes it an excellent resource to treat certain urinary conditions, such as bladder inflammation or cystitis, kidney inflammation, inflammation of the prostate duct or prostatitis, or nephritis,and to prevent the formation of kidney stones.
- Detoxifying: It has purifying and detoxifying effects, and used in combination with other plants that help to intensify its action, it can be effective in promoting the disappearance of impurities in the skin, such as eczema, juvenile acne, and boils, in long-term treatments.
- Improves Digestion: Alfalfa helps improve digestion, better metabolize fats and carbohydrates, helps fight gastric inflammation and stomach heaviness.
- Raises general health: It can be used as a natural tonic and restorative, useful in states of convalescence, reluctance, and general weakness.
- Provides iron: When the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. The contribution of iron and other minerals provided by the intake of alfalfa is easily assimilated, and helps with production of new red blood cells, which contributes to fighting anaemia. It is also used to alleviate deficiency in vitamins and minerals, in states of weakness, fatigue, stress, and also due to heavy menstruation and persistence of various bleeding.
- Prevents clots: Coumarins could provide alfalfa with a certain anticoagulant activity, which would help prevent the formation of clots in the arteries and ward off the possibility of a thrombus. However, there do not seem to be clear studies in this regard that corroborate this assumption.
- Strengthens bones: Due to its great richness in minerals, such as iron, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium, it is attributed the ability to strengthen bone mass and, on a preventive level, to be useful to prevent fractures in older people and to treat osteoporosis.
- Strengthens the immune system: Due to its richness in vitamin C and flavonoids, it can help to strengthen the immune system and increase our ability to resist respiratory conditions, such as asthma attacks, flu states, and various allergies.
- Helps nursing mothers: As with other plants of the legume family, alfalfa had also been indicated to promote the production of breast milk in nursing mothers. It should be clarified that it has been used traditionally without scientific support, and due to the presence of alkaloids, it has been strongly discouraged in pregnant and lactating women.
- Strengthens the skin and other areas: Due to its richness in minerals such as silicon and iron, and vitamins A, B, and C, taking alfalfa can help strengthen hair, nails, and skin. It has been recommended as a support to prevent hair loss.
- Lowers Cholesterol: It is attributed to a slight lipid-lowering effect. Studies have been carried out in this regard, with results that are not conclusive. It could be useful for lowering LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, in combination with a proper diet.