Why Grow Alfalfa Sprouts?
Alfalfa, a member of the pea family, grows mainly from the Western Mediterranean to East Asia. It is chock full of minerals because its roots penetrate 20 to 30 feet deep into the earth, where the plant’s roots can suck up loads of vitamins and nutrients from the soil.
In his paper “Alfalfa In History,” alfalfa expert George W. Hendry notes that the earliest literary reference to alfalfa appears within a Babyonian text dating back to 700 B.C. In it, the gardener to King Mardukbalidin of Babylon lists alfalfa by its Iranian name aspasti. Following that, world literature is full of historical references to the alfalfa crop. Traditionally, the word “alfalfa” got its name from Arabs who fed it to their horses to make them run faster. Loosely, the word meant “father of all foods.”
Healers in China have praised alfalfa for its health benefits for centuries. In folk medicines, alfalfa has been used to treat arthritis, kidney issues, and autoimmune disorders. Many people claim that alfalfa helps keep cholesterol levels healthy, purify the blood, and even prevent strokes.
John Heinerman, in The Encyclopedia of Nuts Berries and Seeds, claims Alfalfa is rich in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and calcium. Because of its estrogen-like properties, women eat the sprouts to bring estrogen levels back into balance.
Herbalists recommend steeping alfalfa seeds in hot water to make tea and drinking that two or three times per day to help relieve arthritis symptoms. Those with diabetes also drink alfalfa tea to lower blood sugar levels. Some people even report getting relief from diabetes-associated gangrene, hypoglycemia and epilepsy. People frequently eat alfalfa to help purify the blood or in order to help dissolve stones in the kidneys.
Growing Alfalfa Sprouts in the EasyGreen
When it comes to growing, alfalfa is not fussy. Just about any novice can grow alfalfa like a pro. It’s one of the seeds we recommend starting with. Simply sprinkle alfalfa seeds evenly across one of the EasyGreen cartridges, and you’ll have a tasty crop within five days.
Some Words of Caution
Although alfalfa provides amazing health benefits for most people, for others it may present a health risk. Both alfalfa seeds and sprouts contain L-cavanine, which may cause:
- abnormal blood cell count
- enlargement of the spleen
- recurrence of lupus in patients who have otherwise controlled their disease
Cooking your sprouts should allay this problem.
Nursing or pregnant young women should not eat alfalfa because:
- It has the capacity to bring on menstruation (periods)
- Alfalfa can have an estrogenic effects
Do not use alfalfa without first talking to your doctor if you take Warfarin (Coumadin). The high amounts of vitamin K in Alfalfa could decrease the drug’s effectiveness.