Rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins, alfalfa's many nutrients make it one of the most nutritious foods known earning it the names the King of Plants and the Father of all Foods.
Alfalfa's Complex Root System
For more than 15 centuries, people have used alfalfa as a form of herbal medication. This nutritious plant, ''Medicago sativa'', has a unique root system that makes it very different from most other plants. The tap roots of the alfalfa plant grow deep under the soil approximately six to ten feet a year. It is common to have alfalfa crops for five to six years before rotation, allowing the root systems to grow up to thirty feet and more, with an average length of ten to twenty feet.
The roots of the alfalfa plants reach deep into the subsoil reaching minerals most other plant roots are unable to reach. The benefits of alfalfa's deep root system include:
- Access to moisture in the deep soil not available to other plants.
- Access to very rich minerals found deep underground.
- Formation of an association, or bond, with soil bacteria that biologically fixes and assimilates inert nitrogen into nitrogen that is useful to various plants.
- Creation of nutrient rich plant growth.
Alfalfa contains all of the nutrients needed by the human body. These include:
- Trace elements
- Amino acids
- Digestive enzymes
Vitamins, Minerals and Trace Elements
Alfafa is rich in several vitamins, minerals, and trace elements too. The chart below lists the many nutrients found in alfalfa.
|Vitamins, Minerals and Trace Elements in Alfalfa|
An important vitamin found in alfalfa in abundant amounts is vitamin K. This vitamin plays an essential role in the clotting and coagulation of blood, bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis.
Proteins and Calcium
As a single source alfalfa has one of the highest levels of protein. It contains more protein then milk, eggs or beef when measured by equal weight. The protein content of alfalfa is 18.9 percent compared to that of beef at 16.5 percent, eggs at 13.1 percent and milk at 3.3 percent.
The leaves of the alfalfa plant are also very rich in calcium. When measured by equal weight, alfalfa has higher levels of calcium then milk or eggs. If alfalfa leaves are burned, the remaining ashes consist of 99% calcium. An essential nutrient, each cell in the human body needs calcium to remain strong and healthy.
- Of the twenty known essential amino acids, eight are found in alfalfa. Amino acids are referred to as the building blocks of proteins.
- Alfalfa is available in many forms. As a whole food, the seeds and sprouts are both nutritious and delicious eaten or made into a juice.
- Taken as a supplement, alfalfa is available in pill, capsule or powdered form.
- Alfalfa tea is a delicious beverage made with dried or fresh alfalfa leaves. The tea acts as a diuretic, promotes appetite and gives an increased feeling of vitality.
Visit the following resources to learn more about the alfalfa and its benefits.
- To learn more about the role each vitamin plays in the body's health see the vitamin benefit chart provides more details on the role each vitamin plays in human health.
- The article Benefits of Alfalfa explains the history of the medicinal use of alfalfa and how it benefits the body.
- For a full list of the chemical composition and nutrients of alfalfa visit Springboard 4 Health.
Where to Find Alfalfa Supplements Online
The following websites offer alfalfa supplements for sale:
The alfalfa nutrients found in this member of the legume family make it nutritionally rich with many health benefits.