Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is a perennial plant belonging to the Fabaceae family that has long been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of health conditions. It has a sweet, bitter, grassy flavor when consumed fresh in the form of sprouts. When taken as a supplement, alfalfa is thought to be beneficial in treating diabetes, high cholesterol, arthritis, urinary tract infections, menstrual problems, and an array of other disorders.
Alfalfa is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food. According to the USDA Nutrient Database, one cup of alfalfa sprouts has only 8 calories but delivers 0.2 grams fat, 0.7 grams carbohydrate, 0.6 grams fiber, and 1.3 grams protein.
Alfalfa’s rich soluble fiber content may help reduce cholesterol and aid in weight loss by increasing satiety.
Alfalfa also contains a number of important vitamins and minerals, including:
Beyond its dietary benefits, alfalfa is often used in alternative therapies to treat medical conditions and metabolic disorders. For the most part, the scientific evidence to support these claims is weak.