Alfalfa Sprouting Seed Profile
Also known as
'Medicago sativa, Holy Hay, Lucerne
Alfalfa is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world, not only for livestock, but also for human consumption. It is an herbaceous legume that is grown in almost every state in the US, but thought to have originated in what is now Iran. It can survive extreme temperatures and conditions. It will become dormant, like in times of extreme drought, and then resume growth when conditions improve..
Seeds, sprouts, and all the above ground parts of the plant.
As a food, alfalfa provides beta-carotene and vitamins C, E, and K (although it is not, as frequently claimed, a source of vitamin A).
Alfalfa sprouting seeds should be soaked for 4-6 hours, and will sprout in 5-7 days. They need to be thoroughly rinsed with cool, clean water every 8-12 hours. Refrigerate your sprouts after their final rinse.
These days, alfalfa sprouts are incredibly common on all salad bars and in grocery stores. They are considered the best natural source of vitamin K, which helps bones to mend properly. Alfalfa contains the plant world's equivalent of human estrogen, so women that are breast feeding or going through menopause may derive some benefit from alfalfa. It also is known to help keep calcium in the bones and out of the linings of the arteries, thus preventing arteriosclerosis.
Due to the high levels of vitamin K, large doses of alfalfa may cause antagonistic effects with blood thinners such a Coumadin. One of the biggest risks involved with using alfalfa sprouts is consuming sprouts grown in contaminated water. This is easy to avoid, never consume limp or "smelly" sprouts, and always wash them thoroughly before use.