- Scientific Name: Medicago sativa
- Plant Family: Fabaceae
- Parts Used: The leaves, sprouts, and seeds.
- Actions: anti-anemic, appetizer, diuretic, galactagogue, laxative, nutrient, tonic.
- Qualities: Neutral thermal nature; Bitter flavor; Dries dampness, Spring, Yin
Alfalfa follows the doctrine of signatures: its ability to produce exceptional roots benefits our “roots,” which are often identified physiologically as our intestines and kidney/bladder functions. Alfalfa cleans and tones the intestines and takes harmful acids out of the blood. It benefits the urinary system and intestines and detoxifies the body.
Alfalfa contains eight enzymes which help assimilate protein, fats, and carbohydrates. It is safe food even for children and helps nursing mothers produce more milk.
In ancient India, Ayurvedic texts prescribe the use of Alfalfa seeds and sprouts for improving blood cell production and its leaves and stem as a good source of protein and minerals.
Alfalfa is rich in chlorophyll, carotene, protein, calcium and other minerals, vitamins in the B group, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Other important nutrients include iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, sulfur, silicon, chlorine, cobalt, and zinc. Alfalfa also contains vitamins K and P, and abundant chlorophyll.
The sun-dried hay of alfalfa has been found to be a source of vitamin D, containing 48 ng/g (1920 IU/kg) vitamin D2 and 0.63 ng/g (25 IU/kg) vitamin D3. There is also reference to vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 being found in the alfalfa shoot.
Alfalfa is used medicinally in a variety of ways, depending on the country, culture, and healing tradition.
- In China it is considered to have the following qualities: Anodyne, Depurative, Emetic and is used to treat Fever, Gravel, and Dysuria.
- In Iraq it is commonly used to treat Arthritis.
- In Turkey, in addition to treating Arthritis, it is considered to be a Cardiotonic and used to treat Scurvy.
- In the United States it is believed to be Cyanogenetic, and used in the treatment of and prevention of Cancer.
- Elsewhere it is used to treat Arthritis, Boils, as an Emmenagogue, Lactagogue, and for Scurvy.
Note: In this day and age of global information via the internet and social media, these dividing lines have become increasingly blurred.
Alfalfa is used for kidney conditions, bladder and prostate conditions, and to increase urine flow. It is also used for high cholesterol, asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, upset stomach, and a bleeding disorder called thrombocytopenic purpura. People also take alfalfa as a source of vitamins A, C, E, and K4; and minerals calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and iron.
Other uses include edema, weight loss, bladder stones, plantar warts, chronic sore throat, fevers, gas pains, peptic ulcers, drug and alcohol addiction recovery.
Alfalfa is helpful for chronic joint inflammation and aiding female hormonal balance. It comforts and strengthens the immune system. Alfalfa is rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that play an important role in the maintenance of a healthy body. It contains protein, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. It also contains calcium, potassium, carotene, iron and zinc and is considered one of the healthiest plant foods, providing an excellent range of nutritive properties for good health and well being.
Interestingly, alfalfa is a treatment hay fever. Externally the seeds can be made into a poultice for boils, to soothe insect bites, and reduce inflammation. It alkalizes and detoxifies the body. Binds carcinogens in the colon to help speed up their elimination from the body.It is an overall tonic for general health, fatigue, weight gain, and debility. Alfalfa also stimulates the growth of supportive connective tissue, and is useful in the treatment of diabetes.
Alfalfa is a herb rich in protein and the vitamins A, D, E and K. The leaves contain eight of the essential amino acids.Such a a nutrient-rich formula, can be used to replenish the body with vitamins and minerals. It is specifically indicated for those with poor diets and inadequate nutrient intake.
In addition to alfalfa sprouts found in most supermarkets, alfalfa is available as a dried leaf herb, in tablets, capsules, and powders.
- 2 to 3 cups tea
- 2 to 4 grams in capsules or pills 3 times a day
- 6 to 12 grams powder
- 3 ounces sprouts
To make tea, steep 1 tablespoon seed or 2 ounces dried leaf in 1 quart boiling water. In powder form, the pleasant taste of alfalfa is a welcome addition to soups and salads.
For high cholesterol: a typical dose is 5 to 10 grams of the herb, or as a steeped strained tea, three times a day. 5 to 10 mL of a liquid extract (1:1 in 25% alcohol) three times a day has also been used.
To get more natural vitamins, combine Alfafa with herbs such as Nettle and Rosehip, Nettle is high in both vitamin C and Iron, thus ensuring that energy levels and prevention of cellular damage is assisted. Nettles acts as a blood tonic with the ability to strengthen the body’s natural resistance. Rosehip is also extremely high in vitamin C and is one of the best herbs used for its antioxidant action on the body. It also assists with maintaining healthy collagen.
Alfalfa extract (Medicago Sativum Extract) can be an antioxidant in skin-care products, it is said this extract is a great source of protein, minerals and vitamins C,D,E,K for the skin. Conditions and increases skin metabolism to promote skin healing,used as a topical skin conditioner.Alfalfa Extract is primarily used in manufacture of natural face masks and lotions. Saponins in alfalfa extract acts as natural foaming agent. Boots, Clarins and Lancome are using alfalfa extract in their skincare products. Continue reading
- Scientific Name: Ulmus rubra
- Plant Family: Urticaceae
- Parts Used: Inner bark
- Actions: Demulcent, Emollient, Nutrient, Astringent, Vulnerary
The pale, aromatic inner bark of the Slippery Elm tree is considered one of the most valuable remedies in herbal practice, the abundant mucilage it contains having wonderfully strengthening and healing qualities. It can be used to make a soothing, healing medicine for sore throats, coughs, bronchitis, catarrh and stomach and bowel troubles. It also acts as a treatment for cystitis and urinary complaints.
People take slippery elm for coughs, sore throat, colic, diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bladder and urinary tract infections, syphilis, herpes, and for expelling tapeworms. Because Slippery Elm bark is a soothing nutritive demulcent, it is perfectly suited for sensitive or inflamed mucous membrane linings in the digestive system. It is used for protecting against stomach and duodenal ulcers, for colitis, diverticulitis, GI inflammation, and too much stomach acid.
Slippery elm is also taken by mouth to cause an abortion.
It is often used as a food during convalescence as it is gentle and easily assimilated. In diarrhea it will soothe and astringent at the same time. Externally it makes an excellent poultice for use in cases of boils, abscesses or ulcers. Slippery elm is applied to the skin for wounds, burns, gout, rheumatism, cold sores, toothaches, sore throat, and as a lubricant to ease labor.
In manufacturing, slippery elm is used in some baby foods and adult nutritionals, and in some oral lozenges used for soothing throat pain. Continue reading