How to Grow Alfalfa

Alfalfa is a nutritious plant that has multipurpose uses. Though available in packaged forms in supermarkets and health food stores, alfalfa can also be easily grown at home.
There are certain plants in the ecosystem, which are consumed both by animals as well as by humans. Strange isn't it? But it's true. Alfalfa, whose botanical name is Medicago sativa L, is a forage (eaten by livestock) plant that also has many beneficial uses for humans. Though alfalfa has been around from the 5th century BC, it gained popularity only in the 17th century. Alfalfa is a healthy food that is highly nutritious and can be consumed even daily.

Instructions for Growing Alfalfa Sprouts

Growing alfalfa sprouts at home is a child's play and does not require a lot of hard work.
  • Take three to four tablespoons of alfalfa seeds (or as per your requirement) in a glass jar and soak it for about five to six hours or you may even soak it overnight. The more it is soaked, the quicker the seeds will sprout. You can buy organic alfalfa seeds from any supply store.
  • Drain the old water and rinse the seeds gently with water so that they remain fresh. Remember to drain the water or else the seeds will rot. Don't expose the jar to direct sunlight as it will make the seeds dry and wither away the budding sprouts.
  • Replace them in the container and keep them in a cool place. After a few days you will notice that a white outgrowth appears on the seeds. The alfalfa seeds have started sprouting. Rinse the seeds in cool water to wash off any debris like the hull of the seeds.
  • On the fourth or fifth day you will notice that the alfalfa seeds have begun to sprout and there are tiny green leaves. Wait for a couple of days for the sprouts to grow fully. Remove the sprouts from the jar and transfer them to a dry bowl. Your alfalfa sprouts are ready for consumption. You can use them in any way you like. But make sure that you store them in an airtight container and refrigerate them. Consume them in a couple of days or else they may get spoiled.
Benefits of Alfalfa

Including alfalfa sprouts in the diet daily can help reap a number of health benefits, as it is packed with a number of essential nutrients required for the proper growth and functioning of the body. Given below are some of the positive effects of consuming alfalfa sprouts and some nutrition facts.
  • Alfalfa is a type of legume which is a rich source of fiber. The fibers present in this leguminous plant aids in proper digestion and also keeps the digestive system healthy.
  • Another benefit of alfalfa can be seen on the cardiovascular system. The leaves of the alfalfa plant are effective in reducing the blood cholesterol and also control errant blood pressure.
  • Rich in antioxidants, alfalfa fights against the free radicals in the body and also detoxifies it. It also improves the function of the liver in speeding up the process of detoxification.
  • It is also beneficial for women's health as it fights against the signs of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In menopausal women, it relieves hot flashes and irritability. Other benefits of having alfalfa sprouts daily are treating urinary tract infection (UTI), relieving symptoms of degenerative diseases like arthritis, osteoporosis and gout, and keeping prostate and bladder problems at bay.
You can add these tender sprouts to a number of dishes or also eat them raw in salads. The inclusion of lfalfa sprouts in your diet can give you a healthy body, free from infections and diseases.
By Marlene Alphonse
Last Updated: 9/30/2011
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