Alfalfa (buffalo herb) (Medicago sativa)

Family: Fabaceae

Parts commonly used: Leaf, flower, seed and sprout.

Properties/energetics: Nutritive tonic, astringent, diuretic, alterative/Neutral to cool; salty, mild bitter.

Systems predominantly affected:  Digestive, urinary, endocrine, overall body nutrient.

Uses: This clover-like plant is one of Nature’s richest sources of easily assimilated protein, vitamins, and minerals, making it more a food than a medicine. The saponins in Alfalfa have been shown to bind cholesterols in the digestive system and to help decrease levels of serum cholesterol, thereby making it a useful preventive to plaque formation in the cardiovascular system. Used as a tonic beverage, Alfalfa helps assimilate protein, calcium, potassium, iron, and other nutrients. Its high levels of alkalizing minerals make it useful in balancing out the effects of an overly acidic body type or lifestyle. Although the reasons are poorly understood, as a vast amount of herbal actions are, Alfalfa is a beneficial maintenance herb in arthritic conditions. Alfalfa is also a good source of plant estrogens and appears to have a balancing effect on the activity of human estrogens. It is theorized that the weakly acting plant estrogens can supplement estrogenic activity in women with deficient estrogen levels. In the case of women with excessive estrogen levels, however, the weaker plant estrogens will compete with the more physiologically active human estrogens for binding sites. The result, in this case, is a decrease in excessive estrogen activity.

Affects on specific body types: An excellent tonic for Warrior-type imbalances. Alfalfa helps alkalinize the blood, decreases serum-cholesterol levels by preventing absorption through the intestines, and acts as a gentle all-round alterative. Eastern practitioners warn that excessive use of this plant can lead to emaciation, so although small quantities may be useful to balance estrogen, excessive usage is probably not appropriate for the Seer. Alfalfa is a good tonic for any Warrior type who suffers from arthritic conditions.

Preparations/dosage: Infusion: usually with a bit of Peppermint or Spearmint, 1 cup one to three times a day.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition