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 Spanish-Arabic (according to wiktionary and the DRAE) name alfalfa is widely used, particularly in North America and Australia. But in the UK,South Africa and New Zealand, the more commonly used name is lucerne. 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 has been used as an herbal medicine for over 1,500 years.In early Chinese medicines, physicians used young alfalfa leaves to treat disorders related to the digestive tract and the kidneys.In Ayurvedic medicine, physicians used the leaves for treating poor digestion. They made a cooling poultice from the seeds for boils. At the time, alfalfa was also believed to be beneficial to people suffering from arthritis and water retention.The United States National Institutes of Health reports there is insufficient evidence to evaluate the medicinal value of alfalfa.