Forage, nutrition and therapy: alfalfa and its properties



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Forage, nutrition and therapy: alfalfa and its properties

Stefania Montori and Lucia De Carolis came back to talk with us about an interesting topic for the column: Among nature, history and territory: tradition meets science. The use of alfalfa dates back to many centuries ago, even millennia.

Originally from the Media region, (from which it takes its name) in Persia, it was introduced first in Greece, then in Europe and of course also in Italy. In the Middle Ages it fell into disuse and then reappeared in Spain, thanks to the Arabs, and again throughout the continent.

This is why many might know it with the name of Erba Spagna. For experts in the sector, the official name is Medicago-Sativa, also called Alfalfa or Alfalafa (incorrect, although widespread, is the alpha-alpha name), an Arabic term that means father of all foods.

Belonging to the legume family together with the sulla, the threshold, the white lupine and the field bean, alfalfa grows everywhere. Due to its high protein and vitamin content, it is grown as forage; it can be stored in the form of hay or flour.

Scientific name: Medicago sativa Family: Leguminosae Species: M. sativa Order: Fabales

Property

The plant is rich in soluble fiber, insoluble fiber and alkaloids. The adjective medical cannot be misleading: even if its name derives from the region of origin, Media in Persia, alfalfa is also used by unconventional medicine, thanks to its chemical compound and benefits that they get out of it.

It can be taken as an adjunct to improve digestion, blood clotting, symptoms of arthritis, increase the production of breast milk, in case of anemia.
Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa) is the forage par excellence, not surprisingly it is the most widespread.

It is mainly used for livestock, both for grazing and as hay, and more. In addition, alfalfa can be planted in the garden to purify the soil between one sowing and the next, making it ready to welcome new plants. The De Carolis family chooses it as a type of forage, the main one for feeding livestock, because it represents a complete food, which is well suited to high altitudes, 1,200 meters above sea level, which in the winter period, in the stable, constitutes an excellent and complete food.

It constitutes a high quality forage capable of improving the conditions of the soil, restoring fertility. Like all legumes, says Stefano De Carolis, produced on the farm such as lentils, wild peas, Roveja, are plants for improvement.

They develop in symbiosis with the fungi that feed them by providing them with water and nutrients. In turn, they release nitrogen to the surrounding land, enriching it. On these small foundations, based on crop rotation. By alternating crops and moving them around, the soil is always rich without adding chemicals, respecting the environment and organic farming and farming.

The agronomist continues by saying that the pecorino obtained with the milk of the animals in the month of May is highly appreciated by the most sensitive palates. This explains the feeding of animals with flowers, which at the beginning of Spring explode with flavors and essences.

The crop of the Medica also serves to interrupt the monocultures of maize and other cereals. The Alfalfa is ideal because it can survive for 4 or 5 years on average, despite periodic mowing, and protects the soil from pests.

This is very important for the preservation of the genuineness of the soil, since it allows not to use chemicals. It is mainly used for livestock, both for grazing and as hay, and more. It can also be used to produce excellent honey and to make cosmetics.

It also finds a field of use in nutraceuticals. In addition, alfalfa can be planted in the garden to purify the soil between one sowing and the next, making it ready to welcome new plants.