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ALFALFA (Medicago sativa)

Also known as: lucerne, 'The father of all foods' and 'The king of sprouts'.


Alfalfa is a perennial forage legume which normally lives four to eight years, but can live more than 20 years, depending on variety and climate. The plant grows to a height of up to 1 m (3.3 ft), and has a deep root system, sometimes growing to a depth of more than 15 m (49 ft) to reach groundwater. It is because of this extraordinarily long tap root that it is able to absorb minerals deep down in the soil where many other food crops roots cannot reach.

Alfalfa is named 'The father of all foods' because it contains just about everything the body needs for survival. It is a well-known herb to the health conscious and has been used by the Chinese since the sixth century to treat kidney stones and to relieve fluid retention and swelling. Alfalfa is rich in chlorophyll which is renowned for its cleansing qualities and is also a very nutritious source of many other elements such as glycine which can help to protect the stomach lining by promoting the production of mucous. Alfalfa helps to protect the digestive, skeletal, glandular and urinary systems, detoxifies and enriches the liver, assists in weight loss, purifies the blood, aids digestion and acts as a general tonic.

Alfalfa, as the name in Arabic signifies, is the king of all sprouts. Grown as a plant, its roots are known to burrow deep into the subsoil to bring up valuable trace minerals of which manganese is especially important to health and digestion ; it is a vital component of human insulin.

Apart from minerals, alfalfa sprouts are also a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, E and K and amino acids. They contain all the essential amino acids in their 20 per cent protein content and a higher concentration of calcium than milk. They are also high in lecithin and unsaturated fats besides other essential nutrients. Alfalfa contains detoxification properties, antioxidants and phytoestrogens. It is also a diuretic with alkalising effects.

NOTE: In order to absorb the carotenes in foods, such as alfalfa, they must be consume at the same time as oily foods such as avocado, cheese, fish, nuts, seeds or plant oils.

Health issues alfalfa can help to protect against and treat

One elderly woman ate nothing but alfalfa for two years and remained very healthy and fit. It is given to cows as a nutritious winter feed and it is easy to grow your own alfalfa sprouts (see Sprouting). It can be used as a salad accompaniment or in sandwiches, just like lettuce, but is much more tasty and nutritious.

See recipe below.

NOTE: Alfalfa contains canavanine which may trigger a lupus flare-up, aggravate pancytopenia conditions and excess may upset hormones levels.


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Nutrients in alfalfa (sprouted, raw 100g)

Nutty Seed and Bean Salad Snackalfalfa sprouts

Sprouting alfalfa provides the richest sources of its many healthy nutrients. Try out this recipe using alfalfa and a mixture of other sprouts as a highly nutritious snack or accompaniment to any meal. No cooking required. See How to grow sprouts


One to two handfuls of de-husked alfalfa and any other choice of sprouts (pick up a handful and shake excess seed husks lose). The husks are a good source of fibre but can be a little bitter tasting. 

Organic low fat bio culture yoghurt. Enough to cover all ingredients when mixed

One tablespoon of each of the following: (all optional according to availability)

  • Pine nuts

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Sesame seeds

  • Poppy seeds

  • Hemp seeds

  • Oatmeal

  • Psyllium husks

A tablespoon of the following for protein cooked: (all optional according to taste)

  • Mixed pulses

  • Chick peas

  • Lentils

  • Soya beans


Two large tablespoons of each of the following: (all optional according to taste but the addition of one is required to sweeten)

  • Raisins

  • Chopped dried apricots

  • Chopped dates or figs

  • Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries

  • Grated carrot

  • Pineapple chunks

The following are also optional, add all or as many and as much as you wish:

  • Mixed nuts either whole or chopped (alternatively one tablespoon each of preferred nuts. NOTE: some nuts are very fattening so if weight loss is important reduce the amount)

  • A handful of cress

  • Crumbled unpasteurised blue cheese

  • One eating apple peeled and chopped

  • Tangerine segments

  • Juice of a lemon or lime

  • One avocado cubed

Any washed and chopped raw salad ingredient can be added such as tomatoes, celery, cucumber, onion, spring onions etc.


Any of the following according to taste:

  • Cress

  • Chives

  • Mixed herbs

  • Sage

  • Dill

  • Basil

  • Coriander

  • Chives

  • Oregano

  • Tarragon

  • Cinnamon

  • Nutmeg

  • Paprika

  • Turmeric

  • Cayenne pepper

  • Cumin

  • Ground black pepper to taste

  • Two teaspoons mustard (according to taste)

  • Dash of apple cider vinegar

  • Dash of rapeseed, olive, flaxseed or sesame seed oil

To make more of a high protein complete meal add some diced cooked chicken or turkey (no skin), hard boiled eggs, low fat cubed cubed or poached salmon, oily fish or fresh tuna. Sardines, mackerel, kippers, herring or pilchards (in brine, spring water or olive oil) make a very nutritious heart healthy and cancer fighting addition


Place alfalfa in a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix using the live yoghurt and oils.

You can mix and match Any of the above ingredients can be mixed and matched and do not have to be exact with measurements and can even add your own according to what you prefer or have in the kitchen cupboards but make sure they are unprocessed, additive free and organic.

Takes about 15 minutes to prepare. Keeps for two/three days in a sealed container in the refrigerator. The more varied colours of ingredients there are, the wider the selection of nutrients it will contain. Consume at least once a fortnight.

NOTE: Seeds and nuts must be omitted if suffering from diverticulitis unless they are ground to a fine powder.

Printable version of the above recipe

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"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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