There is a lot of good stuff in alfalfa. It has been used in Chinese and Ayervedic medicine for over a thousand years. It’s name is derived from Arabic and translates to “father of all foods”.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B complex
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
- Lutein and other Carotenoids
- yanogenic glycosides
- Several Coumarin-related compounds –
- Lipase – fat splitting
- Amylase – acts on starches
- Coagulase – coagulates or clots blood
- Emulsin – acts upon sugar
- Invertase – converts cane sugar to dextrose
- Peroxidate – oxidizing effect of the blood
- Pectinase – forms vegetable jelly
- Protase – digests proteins
There is some disagreement between some of the different sources about specifically what nutrients are present in alfalfa, and in what quantities. It is very nutritious though.
Alfalfa has been used for centuries to treat, or cure a variety of ailments including:
- Ulcers – Alfalfa contains an enzyme called S-Methylmethionine, which is effective at helping people suffering from peptic ulcers
- Diabetes – Fiber, and a low glycemic-index make alfalfa effective at stabilizing glucose levels when taken regularly.
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Seasonal allergies – Alfalfa can help reduce the human body’s natural response to allergens.
- High cholesterol – Saponins and other compounds in the plant bind to bile acid and deter cholesterol absorption in the intestines
- Inflammatory disorders such as arthritis – Enzyme action helps to relieve inflammation in a variety of ways.
- Fungus and yeast related issues – Saponins may help break down the cell-membranes of fungi.
- Menopause – Phytoestrogens may help to balance hormones during menopause.
- Glucose intolerance – Enzymes present in alfalfa have been shown to reduce symptoms of glucose intolerance for some people.
Recently there has been outbreaks of salmonella associated with alfalfa sprout production. I believe modern sanitation procedures are available that can completely eliminate any possibility of contamination in the finished product.
Pregnant women should not take alfalfa because it has been shown to increase uterine contractions in lab animals. Alfalfa also has coumarin related compounds which can effect the thinness of your blood. See a doctor if you take medication for possible negative interactions.