A Wise Word:

Witchcraft is all about living to the heights and depths of life as a way of worship. --LY DE ANGELES

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hay is For Horses

Alfalfa Plant: Photo by the UofA Cooperative Extension Service

 
 

...every child  knows that!  Furthermore, growing up rural, just about every child knew that good  hay generally meant alfalfa.  It is high in vitamin C, protein, chlorophyll, and calcium to name a few.  Equine folks will swear that it is the number one choice for feeding horses and, in fact, the word alfalfa comes from the Persian word asparti which means "horse fodder."

On my river walk the other day, alfalfa was one of the plants I was excited to find growing nearby.  My first reaction was nostalgia as I picked a handful to pop into my mouth and transport myself back to childhood.  Ahh. One of those moments to get lost in time.   AHEM!  Back to the adult world...a baby fussing in the stroller does that. Beyond my childhood memories of idyllic alfalfa fields, there is a very real reason to get excited about this plant.  It is chock full of good things and is very useful to maintaining good health. 

In spite of the fact that the Arabs refer to alfalfa as "the father of herbs," I consider it more of a woman's plant.  It is high in calcium which is essential to women of childbearing age.  Has naturally occurring fluoride to help maintain teeth and bone structure (something that many women struggle with as they age).  Is full of vitamin K that helps battle the  morning sickness that many of us suffer with in the early stages of pregnancy.  Finally, because of it's high nutritional content, alfalfa is also used to boost lactation. 

Besides all of the lady specific uses I have mentioned, alfalfa is also good for numerous other herbal and nutritional applications.  It is revered by vegetarians as an excellent source of B-12 vitamins.  It is also an acid reducer and is used for various stomach and blood ailments.  Several years ago, when I was struggling with some allergy and asthma problems, I used alfalfa in my concoction of herbs to manage symptoms affecting my breathing. 

With all the benefits of alfalfa and its delicate flavor, it would be tempting to ask why we don't just set out a bowl full of it to eat like spinach.  Unfortunately, alfalfa is too fibrous to be digested comfortably by the human system.  The best sources of alfalfa are in the form of sprouts and dried leaves infused as a tea.  Adding it to an already healthy diet could be very beneficial for any of us. 

Any witch would be remiss not to explore the magical properties of an herb, but magically, there is very little said about alfalfa.  The only information I found on this front was in The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl where it is mentioned that alfalfa has been used as a ward against money anxieties and is considered by some as a herb of protection.