Alfalfa, with the scientific name Medicago sativa also called Lucerne, is a perennial flowering plant in the pea family Fabaceae cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world. It is used for grazing, hay, and silage, as well as a green manure and cover crop. The name alfalfa is used in North America. Alfalfa is commonly used as livestock fodder due to its high protein content and rich mineral content, but the herb has many benefits to offer human as well.
Alfalfa is excellent for treatment of severe nausea such as that caused by morning sickness. It is also an effective natural remedy for ailments of the urinary tract such as kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Alfalfa is excellent for flushing toxins from the liver and gastrointestinal tracts. It is also known to help lower cholesterol. Finally, alfalfa may help to speed up physical recovery after an illness due to its high concentration of nutrients.
Leaves and young shoots can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves can also be dried for later use as a tea or tossed into soups. A very nutritious food in moderation, though it can trigger attacks in patients with systemic lupus Erythematosus. It is important for people to remember to avoid eating alfalfa seeds because they contain relatively high levels of the toxic amino acid Canavanine.