Moringa, it’s the new Alfalfa

As you may, or may not know, alfalfa is the most widely cultivated legume in the world.  The average American consumes 1.5 tons of alfalfa per year.  How strange is that?  Have you ever eaten a giant plate full of alfalfa?  Most people would think that they do not eat any alfalfa at all, yet if you have eaten any kind of animal product, especially dairy, then yes you are most likely participating in the production and consumption of alfalfa.  It is an amazing and wonderful plant and a very important part of life in the United States of America.

alfalfa

The cost of producing animal protein products for human consumption is a major concern for people who think about such things.  Milk, eggs, cheese and meat are all luxurious types of proteins that many Americans take for granted.  I personally enjoy cheese a great deal.

moringa oleifera leaves

I believe that industrial usage of moringa oleifera has the capacity to reduce livestock production costs by %30-50, while simultaneously increasing production efficiency and improving the quality of end products produced.

There are many factors involved with making a statement like that.  Adaptability of markets, and development of industrial systems and machinery all play an important role in making an accurate estimation of production costs for a crop like this.  Other important factors are specific to exactly which animal products are being produced.

Moringa Oleifera is too nutritionally dense to completely replace existing protein sources in livestock diets.  For each type of animal being raised, there is some specific percentage of their diet that could be optimally replaced with Moringa in order to improve protein conversion rates and reduce feed costs.  Additionally, the natural anti-biotic and anti-parasitic abilities of moringa are capable of reducing chemical inputs and increasing the quality and marketability of products.

 

References:

Alfalfa – Medicago Sativa

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
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Iron
  • Chlorophyll
  • Saponins
  • Alkaloids
  • Phytosterols
  • Flavonoids
  • Lutein and other Carotenoids
  • yanogenic glycosides
  • Triterpenes
  • Several Coumarin-related compounds –
  • Enzymes
    • 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
  • Asthma
  • 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.
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