Alfalfa is recommended as a basic, and mild, herbal food. Alfalfa is especially rich in iron, calcium and phosphorus, all necessary for strong, healthy teeth.
Alfalfa “The King of Herbs”, is indeed extremely nutritious. Alfalfa is high in many vitamins in minerals including Vitamins A, C, E and K4 along with calcium, potassium, phosphorus and iron. Alfalfa is one of the few vegetable sources of Vitamin D. It is excellent for children who do not seem to be growing well enough, providing an abundance of vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes, which might not be assimilated otherwise.
Origin: Egypt, United States
Latin Name: Medicago sativa
Also known as: Chilean Clover, Buffalo Grass, lucerne, purple medic
Plant Part Used: Dried leaf, Stem & Aerial Parts
Appearance: Greenish brown
Aroma: Grassy, hay like
Taste: Bitter, sweet, earthy & peanut-like.
Applications / Preparations: Can be used in teas, oils, soups, smoothies, baked goods, put into capsules or infused as an herbal extract. For cosmetic use make infusions, herbal oils & salves for the skin.
Storage: Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Shelf Life: It is very difficult to pin down an exact expiration date for most single herbs as they do not really expire, they lose potency or strength over time but will still have value. Unlike synthetic material or drugs, herbs can contain many constituents that contribute to their medicinal effects. Even if when we know what the active constituents are, there are often many of them in a single herb, each with different rates of degradation. Some herbs lose their effect more easily. Other herbs that possess more stable compounds such as alkaloids or steroids will last much longer.
A huge part of the degradation rate of herbs depends also on the storage conditions of the herb, & even on the quality of the herb before storage – how it was grown, harvested, dried & processed. If the product is left in hot places or open to sunlight then it will degrade much quicker than if it was stored in cool, dry place & sealed tightly.
A good rule of thumb is that herbs should be stored no longer than 2-3 years but many herbs will have great strength much longer than that. To determine if a an herb is still good you can check the appearance & aroma. Herbs that are no longer acceptable will have lost much of its vibrant color & will instead appear dull & faded. The bigger key though is to smell the raw materials to see if the potent aroma is still present.