Alfalfa is derived from Arabic al-fac-facah, which means “Father of all foods.” Alfalfa is a herbaceous perennial with deeply penetrating taproot. Stems are procumbent, ascending to erect, arising from a woody base. Leaf is trifoliate, stipules triangular, 5 to 15 millimeters long, pubescent on the lower surface, glabrous on the upper surface, and joined at the base, coarsely toothed.
Alfalfa is a type of flowering plant that belongs to the pea family. It originates from south-east Asia. Cultivation of alfalfa started in Persia 6.000 years ago. Due to ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen and increase fertility of the soil, alfalfa is often cultivated as rotation crop (it improves quality of soil for the future crops). Alfalfa attracts more than 100 birds, various mammals and insects that use this plant as a source of food and shelter. People cultivate alfalfa mainly as animal fodder. It is third most important crop in the USA (after corn and soybean).
Alfalfa has been used for thousands of years in many parts of the world, as a source of food for people and livestock and as a medicinal herb. It is probably more useful as a source of easily accessible nutrients than as a medicinal herb. Alfalfa is an excellent source of most vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamin K is critical in blood clotting, so alfalfa may have some use in improving clotting. It also contains trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron , phosphorous, and potassium . Alfalfa is also higher in protein than many other plant foods. This abundance of nutrients has made alfalfa a popular tonic for convalescents when brewed into tea. In addition to using the seeds and leaves as food, alfalfa has a long history of folk use in Europe as a diuretic or “water pill.” It is also said that alfalfa can lower cholesterol . Alfalfa is used as to treat arthritis, diabetes, digestive problems, weight loss, ulcers, kidney and bladder problems, prostate conditions, asthma , and hay fever . Alfalfa is also said to be estrogenic (estrogen-like).