Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa)Alfalfa //, Medicago sativa, also called lucerne, is a perennial flowering plant in the pea family Fabaceae cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world. The name alfalfa is used in North America. The name lucerne is the more commonly used name in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. It superficially resembles clover, with clusters of small purple flowers followed by fruits spiralled in 2 to 3 turns containing 10-20 seeds. Alfalfa is native to warmer temperate climates. It has been cultivated as livestock fodder since at least the era of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Alfalfa seems to have originated in south-central Asia, and was first cultivated in ancient Iran. According to Pliny (died 79 AD), it was introduced to Greece in about 490 BC when the Persians invaded Greek territory. Alfalfa cultivation is discussed in the fourth century AD book Opus Agriculturae by Palladius, stating: "One sow-down lasts ten years. The crop may be cut four or six times a year ... A jugerum of it is abundantly sufficient for three horses all the year ... It may be given to cattle, but new provender is at first to be administered very sparingly, because it bloats up the cattle." Pliny and Palladius called alfalfa in Latin medica, a name that referred to the Medes, a people who lived in ancient Iran. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed, probably correctly, that alfalfa came from the Medes' land, in today's Iran. (The ancient Greeks and Romans also used the namemedica to mean a citron fruit, once again because it was believed to have come from the Medes' land). This name is the root of the modern scientific name for the alfalfa genus,Medicago. Despite the report in Opus Agriculturae and in some other Roman and ancient Greek writers, there is little evidence that alfalfa was in widespread use in the Mediterranean region in those days.
The medieval Arabic agricultural writer Ibn al-'Awwam, who lived in Spain in the later 12th century, discussed how to cultivate alfalfa, which he called الفصفصة (al-fiṣfiṣa). A 13th-century general-purpose Arabic dictionary, Lisān al-'Arab, says that alfalfa is cultivated as an animal feed and consumed in both fresh and dried forms. It is from the Arabic that the Spanish name alfalfa was derived.
In the 16th century, Spanish colonizers introduced alfalfa to the Americas as fodder for their horses. They were aware that alfalfa is better than grass as food for working horses (horses had more energy).
Alfalfa seeds were imported to California from Chile in the 1850s. That was the beginning a rapid and extensive introduction of the crop over the western US States and introduced the word "alfalfa" to the English language. In the North American colonies of the eastern US in the 18th century, it was called "lucerne", and many trials at growing it were made, but generally without sufficiently successful results. Relatively little alfalfa is grown in the southeastern United States today. Lucerne (or luzerne) is the name for alfalfa in Britain, Australia, France, Germany, and a number of other countries. Since North and South America now produce a large part of the world's output, the word "alfalfa" has been slowly entering other languages.
Alfalfa(Medicago sativa)also called Lucerne, is naturally high in many essential vitamins and minerals, including A, D, E, K, and even the full family of B vitamins; biotin, calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, potassium and many others, as well as being very high in protein, especially when dried. It is "The king of all foods"!So what makes this plant so extraordinary? What about it is so powerful and beneficial, not only to the human body, but to agriculture and other animals alike? To begin, the alfalfa plant is just that, a plant. When something is naturally derived and an evolved product of the Earth, the benefits that arise from using it are abundant. The alfalfa plant is naturally high in many essential vitamins, including A, D, E, K, and even the full family of B vitamins. Each individual vitamin has an abundance of health benefits in itself, making them crucial to overall human health. It is surprising for so many different types of vitamins to be present in just one plant, which makes the lure of consuming this plant all the more greater.