Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is a perennial, leguminous plant of the pea family. It is known for its amazing tolerance in the heat, cold, and droughts. It has remarkable productivity and quality of its herbage and actually improves soil. Most people are only aware of the alfalfa sprouts but this tall, bush, leafy plant is valuable in its entirety. The name comes from Arabic and is translated as “Father of Plants”. This is a rapidly growing plant. Its roots can attain great depths, which is an adaptation for drought tolerance. Its stems and leaves can rapidly regenerate new ones following a cutting and the sprouts are tasty additions to dishes while the blossoms are used for herbal remedies.
Alfalfa is rich in minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. It contains vitamins A, Bi, B6, C, E, and K. It has calcium, carotene, iron, potassium, and zinc, which can be taken in the form of leaves, seeds, or tablets. Alfalfa is high in protein and even one cup ofalfalfa sprouts contains 1.3 grams of protein. Both the sprouts and the leaf preparations help lower blood cholesterol levels.