Herb Library

Back to Herb Menu     Back to Index

DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

aka Lucerne
(Medicago sativa)

DRUG INTERACTIONS: • If on Prednisone for Lupus treatment, consumption (long term) of alfalfa can cause a return of symptoms.
• Alfalfa can possibly cause a reduction of the activity of Warfarin.
• Hormone therapy and consumption of alfalfa might possibly lead to an excess of estrogen.

CONTRAINDICATED: Not to be taken when PREGNANT or NURSING. Not to be taken by those with LUPUS erythematosus.

CONTAINS: Rich in protein, calcium, and trace minerals. Also weak phyto estrogens.
High in cobalt, crude fiber, dietary fiber, niacin, complete protein, riboflavin, Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, U, betacarotene, pectin, trace copper, organic salt.
Rich in chlorophyll, phosphorus, iron, potassium, chlorine, sodium, silicon, and magnesium
High in alkalizing salts, especially sodium phosphate.
Has 8 amino acids and Vitamin P (rutin).
The ash produces a nearly pure calcium.

A field perennial with a deep tap root, it is used in agriculture to break up heavy soils and bring up valuable nutrients from subsoils. Also fixes nitrogen in the soil. Mixed with clover it makes a soil replenishing cover. Good green manure.

HARVEST: Leaves and flowers while flowering. Seeds gathered for sprouting.


Has primarily been used as a blood detoxifier and nutritional supplement.
Has a reputation as a mild laxative and diuretic.
Has been used for acid stomach, alcoholism, allergies, anemia, appetite stimulant, arthritis, cancer, cholesterol, cramps, diabetes, fatigue, fever, glandular problems, gout, high blood pressure, jaundice, kidney cleanser, improving lactation, radiation damage, ulcers, urinary tract problems, vitamin and mineral deficiency.
Has been used as a bitter digestive remedy; general tonic; antipyretic; alterative; diuretic (weak); for acid conditions in general; and for inflammations; arthritis; rheumatism.
Possibly anticholesterolemic (octacosanol) and hypoglycemic (lowering blood sugar due to alkaloids present); antithrombotic (due to coumarins); antispasmodic for smooth muscles (flavonoids).
Has been used to benefit digestive and blood systems, bladder and prostate.
Said to aid in chemical imbalances.
Has been used as a blood cleanser.
Has been used to neutralize uric acid in cases of arthritis and bursitis.
Has been used to prevent cholesterol buildup in veins.
Has been used to beneficially effect the pituitary gland.
Has been used for hyperacidity (reduces gastric acid production); as a acid balancer and digestive aid (best with peppermint and taken between meals); and taken for stomach ailments and ulcerous conditions.
Has been used for water retention.
Has been used for colds (add chopped mint and some orange or lemon rind to juice.)
Has been used for protein allergies (sinus, hay fever, milk, eggs, etc.); ulcers; anemia; menopause (weak phyto estrogens).
Has been used for cystitis, bladder inflammations, sluggish appetite, alcoholism (nutrition support); chronic appendicitis; cramps (calcium content); diabetes (lowers sugar); fatigue, fever, glandular problems, gout, hemorrhages, high blood pressure, jaundice, kidney cleanser, lactation (to promote); teeth; urinary tract problems; vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Possibly some anti-cancer activity. Appears to be some antitumor activity
Reputed to reduce tissue damage of radiation therapy.
Some activity shown against gram negative bacteria.
Reports of some success in rheumatoid arthritis by taking tablets.
Often taken mixed in water combined with cider vinegar for arthritis.
Said to aid in assimilation of protein and calcium; and assist in changing body systems from acid to alkaline.
Said to improve salivation.
High in Vitamin K to produce clotting of blood.
Saponin content believed to deep clean cells and bind serum cholesterol, radioactive deposits and toxins for elimination.
Has been used to strengthen the nervous system with a beneficial effect on pituitary gland; and relieve pain and inflammation.
Taken as infusion, extract or powdered capsule form.
Mixes well with vegetable or fruit juices.
In Chinese medicine it is known as MU-SU and used for ulcers, to stimulate the appetite and strengthen the digestive tract.

All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully.
EXTRACT = 9 grams of dry herb macerated in 45 ml alcohol and 45 ml water OR roughly 1½ tsp to 1/4 cup alcohol and 1/4 cup water.
TEA = 1 Tbsp to 8 oz water.
VINEGAR = Add 1 oz powdered herb to 1 quart cider vinegar. 1 tsp taken in tepid water daily for nutrition and tonic.

Seeds are sprouted and eaten.

A valuable livestock fodder, tonic and nervine, but in large quanities can lead to bloating due to saponin content.

A good tendency toward lightfastness. Produces shades of yellow with no mordant.
A related species Medicago lupulina (Black Medic) is not as lightfast but is a useful dye plant producing: light yellow green with alum (some fading); golden tan with chrome; gray-green with copper; lemon yellow with tin (some fading); gray-green with iron (some fading); ivory with no mordant.

The use of alfalfa meal on the compost pile will insure keeping the pile 'hot' and speeding up decompostion.
As a cover crop it fixes nitrogen in the soil. The deep roots help to break up clay and hard pan soils. Makes a good green manure.

Once introduced onto the North American continent, the Native Americans collected the seeds, ground them into flour to thicken gruel and added to bread. Also used young shoots and leaves as greens.

©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH