lucerne (UK, South Africa, New Zealand), alfalfa (US and Australia)
Alfalfa is in the pea family and produces clusters of purple flowers which make the herb look similar to clover in its appearance.
While alfalfa probably originated near modern-day Iran, it’s now common worldwide as a food source for cattle.
Because of their high nutrient content and unusual texture, alfalfa sprouts are a familiar sight on salad bars and sandwiches.
Certain individuals can experience lupus-like issues associated with consuming alfalfa sprouts or seeds. If a person has lupus, their immune system starts to attack itself, and harms the body’s own organs and tissues.
Raw alfalfa sprouts and seeds can produce these symptoms because they contain canavanine an amino acid that makes proteins which are dysfunctional.
It’s important to note that only the seeds and sprouts contain this particular amino acid, and not the leaves themselves. So teas and capsules made from alfalfa leaves wouldn’t cause these lupus-like symptoms.
Alfalfa is a good source of protein, many minerals, and an assortment of vitamins including:
- vitamin K
- vitamin E
- vitamin D
- vitamin C
- B group vitamins
Alfalfa hay that has been dried in the sun also provides vitamin D, D2, and D3.
For over 1,500 years alfalfa has been an important part of natural remedies.
Alfalfa is most commonly used to help poor digestion, to lower cholesterol, and to provide relief for urinary tract problems.
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