Recognized as the “father of herbs” a plant of a pea family Medicago sativa with purple flowers has many medicinal properties. Primarily it was grown as a fodder plant for animals in the Mediterranean countries; it is widely used in far eastern countries for its medicinal properties. Medicago sativa or alfalfa is a native of Mediterranean countries and Asian countries. Medic ago sativa is a Latin name given to this wonderful herb.
The herb is also commonly known as buffalo grass, purple medick, and Lucerne or Chilean clover. In China it is known as zi mu and in India it is known under many names like Chaara, Kuthirai masAl. In New Zealand, United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa it is known by the name Lucerne.
Alfalfa is a perennial plant and can live for more than twenty years. It grows in different countries depending on the variety. Major producer of this legume is United States of America followed by Argentina, South Africa and Australia. It is also seen to grow in the deserts of Middle Eastern countries. The herb adapts itself to wide range of weather condition from cold temperate grassland in North America, warm humid Mediterranean to hot dry deserts of Middle Eastern countries.
The father of herbs is also known as the king of plants is very rich in vitamins, minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulphur and silicon. The plant has roots which approximately extend up to 20 ft into the ground absorbing almost every nutrient possible from the soil.
The plant is a rich source of vitamin k which plays an important part in blood clotting. It is a rich source of chlorophyll the green coloration found in plants and has eight essential amino acids which the human body does not produce but need to be taken as food or supplements.
This herb is widely used as animal fodder in western countries as it helps in reduction of fat in animal. The herb reduces the blood cholesterol level reducing the risk of heart attack and strokes.
The herb increases the production of white blood cells, leukocytes and T-cells which are the back bone of the immune system. Studies have shown that taking the herb post cancer treatment helps in developing the immune system. As the seeds contain homostachydrine and stachydrine which induce menstruation, it could lead to miscarriage in pregnant women. In eastern countries it is widely used in teas to encourage digestion and to treat anemia.
The king of plants can be consumed in moderation to improve the general health of a person and as an alternative therapy for certain malady.