Alfalfa

By: Samantha Peterson

History

Alfalfa originated in south-central Asia and it was first cultivated in Persia. It was introduced in Greece in 490 BC. It was used as fodder for the army's cattle and horses. It was introduced in Italy in the first century AD. In the 16th century Spanish colonizers introduced alfalfa to the western Americas as fodder for their horses. Alfalfa seeds were imported to California from Chile in the 1850s. In the North American colonies of the eastern US in the 18th century, it was called "lucerne". They tried many times to grow it, but its needs weren't well understood and the early attempts at growing it failed


Facts

  • Scientific name - Medicago sativa
  • Type of crop - forage
  • Native to - Asia Minor and the Caucasus Mountains
  • Primary producer - California




Usage

  • Livestock feed
  • Medicine


Medicine Usage

Alfalfa is used for kidney conditions, bladder and prostate conditions, and to increase urine flow. It is also used for high cholesterol, asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, upset stomach, and a bleeding disorder called thrombocytopenic purpura. People also take alfalfa as a source of vitamins A, C, E, and K4; and minerals calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and iron.