Few herbs can differ in that they are used immediately in several areas of different industries. Alfalfa is a whole pantry of useful chemical components, due to which it is used not only as a medicinal and fodder plant, but also as a fertilizer, for cosmetic purposes and for obtaining honey.
What does alfalfa grass look like and where does it grow
Alfalfa is a perennial (rarely annual) plant that grows to small sizes of grass or shrub. Belongs to the Legume family. It has many popular names, which often reflect its healing and honey properties: a doctor’s office, a medunka, a snore, an ionzha, a gourd and others.
The main part of the plant is hidden in the ground - its powerful and thick roots reach 8-10 meters in depth. And the stems outside grow no higher than 80-120 cm. Moreover, the leaves are also very small (2 cm long and up to 1 cm wide).
It gives lilac, violet, blue, yellow flowers with irregular corollas that have exactly the same shape as peas or beans. Interesting that and gives alfalfa seeds in the form of multi-seeded beans with a brown color. But their size is much smaller than the usual beans: 1000 pieces weigh no more than 3 grams.
Mostly alfalfa prefers warm subtropical and tropical zones - it can be found in abundance in the middle and southern strip of Europe, North America, Transcaucasia, Turkey and Iran. In Russia, it lives everywhere in the middle lane, as well as in the south of Siberia, Altai and partly the Far East.
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Alfalfa was used to feed livestock at the dawn of civilization - about 6 thousand years ago. It has long been growing in the Mediterranean, where even today the largest number of species of this herb is found.
Description of alfalfa species
Alfalfa has a wide variety of species - More than 100 of them have been studied and described. At the same time, dozens of varieties of alfalfa are also known. Most often they are called according to external characteristic features (color and shape).
Sowing alfalfa (blue)
The native land of this species is Turkey and the Balkans, although together with travelers, sowing alfalfa has spread across all continents and has successfully taken root there. Her flowers are blue and violet, from where the second name of the species came from.
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Alfalfa is actively used as a very productive honey plant - in regions with cultivated irrigation, you can collect up to 3 centners of honey per hectare of alfalfa. Interestingly, in conditions of drought, the indicator drops 10 times.
Sickle Alfalfa (Yellow)
The name of the plant was due to the yellow flowers of a characteristic shape. This is one of the most resistant to external influences and therefore unpretentious species - withstands drought, frost and manages to bloom and bear fruit even in the conditions of a short Siberian summer.
Therefore, in Russia it is found everywhere in the European part, and beyond the Urals - along the southern border. Like sowing, yellow alfalfa is grown in meadows and pastures as a pioneer plant, giving rise to the formation of a green cover. It is also used as a medicine in the treatment of nervous disorders, pneumonia, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and many others.
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Yellow alfalfa is listed in the local Red Books of the Krasnodar Territory and the Vologda Oblast. She is also specially bred on the territory of 39 nature protection facilities of our country.
This species is widespread throughout our continent, and is also listed in Australia and North America. Gives very small flowers (2-3 mm long) yellow. She gives a lot of sprouts. due to which it is used as a gentle fodder plant, i.e. food available to almost any animal due to its soft surface. Moreover, the prevalence of this species is significantly lower than previously considered.
How to grow alfalfa
The chemical composition of alfalfa
Alfalfa has a rich nutritional and healing composition, which is why it is used in many fields. It contains:
- feed proteins (4%);
- carbohydrates (2%)
- fats (0.7%);
- B, A, C, PP vitamins and carotene;
- minerals and trace elements (P, Fe, Ca, Mg, K, Na);
- organic acids;
- essential oils;
- flavonoids and other useful components.
It is thanks to this rich composition that the plant has been used to feed livestock for several millennia for medicinal and other purposes.
Useful and medicinal properties of sowing alfalfa
The beneficial properties of alfalfa are not limited to its exceptional medical value. The plant is also used:
- as a succulent green food for farm animals or birds;
- for silo workpieces;
- in traditional medicine in the treatment of a whole complex of diseases;
- in primary plantings for tinning - so that other plants can take root on the field;
- as a green fertilizer (green manure) - due to grass in the soil, the nitrogen concentration greatly increases, which has a good effect on the growth of other crops;
- for cosmetic purposes.
As a medicine and cosmetic, alfalfa is used in the fight against such pathologies:
- acne, rashes, boils, and other skin lesions;
- ulcer, constipation and other pathologies of the digestive system;
- bad breath;
- cervical erosion, cystitis;
- arthritis and arthrosis;
- gout and others.
Alfalfa is used externally and inward in the form of decoctions and alcohol infusions. On its basis, biologically active additives (dietary supplements) in tablets and capsules are also produced.
The main medicinal properties of alfalfa
Traditional medicine recipes with alfalfa
Alfalfa has long been used for medicinal purposes in the treatment of skin, internal diseases, metabolic disorders and other pathologies.
To increase tone
If you need to increase immunity and strengthen the tone of the body (especially in winter), make alcohol tincture from a tablespoon of herbs and a half-liter bottle of vodka. The mixture is infused for 15 days in a darkened place, and then consumed orally by half a teaspoon before each meal for a month.
From cervical erosion
External use is based on douching from a decoction of alfalfa: A tablespoon in a glass of boiling water. You need to insist for 2-3 hours, cool, strain and douche 2 times a day until complete recovery. It also helps in the treatment of trichomonas colpitis.
Help with diabetes
In the treatment of this disease, a decoction of grass is used.: Take a tablespoon of finely chopped plants and brew in two glasses of hot water. After the broth is infused a little, it is put on the stove, brought to a boil and soaked for another 10 minutes. Then it is cooled, filtered, taken in a glass per day (divided into 3 equal parts before each meal). The course of treatment is 1.5-2 months.
If you need to gain weight
In some cases, people do not suffer from obesity, but rather from underweight. To do this, prepare syrup from 2 glasses of crushed alfalfa. It is poured into a liter of boiling water and cooked on a gentle fire until half of the volume is boiled away. Then 1 cup of sugar is introduced (the amount can be taken to taste), removed from the stove, cooled, filtered and taken 1 cup daily (dividing it into 3 equal parts and drinking it before each meal).
The use of alfalfa in cosmetology
The composition of the grass contains the so-called phytonutrients - substances of plant origin that nourish the skin and hair. The same function is performed by vitamins and mineral components, therefore Alfalfa is used as a raw material for the production of some cosmetics:
- therapeutic creams for the face and skin of the hands;
- in shampoos and conditioners.
Systematic nutrition of the skin and hair with alfalfa extracts contributes to:
- removal of rash and irritation;
- division of the cells of the dermis, due to which there is a natural restoration of the skin, and the body acquires a natural color;
- hair strengthening;
- prevent peeling of the scalp and hands.
Manufacturers of relevant products often use as an advertising move the statement that alfalfa helps fight aging, but no major studies have been conducted on this issue.
Preparations and dietary supplements with alfalfa
The most common dietary supplement based on it is alfalfa nsp (Alfalfa NSP), which is available in capsules (100 pieces in one set). The tool has a complex effect on the body: it helps to recover after erosion, internal ulcers, pustular skin lesions. It also serves as a means to stabilize blood sugar levels, which is why it is used by patients with diabetes.
It must be taken according to the instructions and in consultation with the doctor, especially to persons who have contraindications. The most common method is 3 capsules per day before each meal. The course of therapy should also be discussed with a specialist.
How to germinate alfalfa
Contraindications and possible harm to alfalfa
Possible harm to the use of drugs and dietary supplements based on alfalfa can only be associated with a violation of the established doses. With caution, this plant should be treated:
- pregnant and lactating women;
- persons with individual intolerance to the individual components of the grass;
- patients with lupus erythematosus.
Alfalfa is a real storehouse of nature: it serves immediately all the representatives of the living world: plants, animals, and of course, man.