While thumbing through my pocket-sized garden reference “The Herbalist” the other day, the Buffalo Herb (Medicago Sativa) caught my attention. This herb’s common name is alfalfa. According to “The Herbalist”, the dosage is to “steep a teaspoonful of leaves, broken into small pieces, into a cup of boiling water for half hour”. Its use is as a “nutrient and tonic” and it “contains vitamins and organic minerals”. I thought if this tea is so beneficial, it must taste horrible. “The Herbalist” was compiled by Joseph E. Meyer and published by Hammond Book Company in 1934.
To be safe, I searched for information on “alfalfa tea” and “buffalo herb tea” to identify any precautions that I should be aware of before drinking this tonic. There were a few minor health risks but a long, long list of healthy properties. Since the health risks were for pregnant and nursing women and for prescription drug interactions, none of which pertain to me, I thought why not make some buffalo herb tea.
This past summer, we got about one hundred bales of hay from a neighboring farm for our livestock’s winter feed. The hay has alfalfa in it. The donkeys and horses really go for the alfalfa hay and much prefer it over the mixed grass hay (timothy and orchard grass along with some other grasses). When the little barn animals get a flake or two of the alfalfa hay, there is quite a bit of tail wagging while eating it. So, I thought that these little animals certainly know something good when they get it. With that in mind, I brewed up some buffalo herb.
I know what you’re thinking… it must get kind of boring in Potter County in the middle of the winter. Be that as it may, here’s the basic recipe for Buffalo Herb Tea:
1) Go to barn and get a flake of alfalfa hay.
2) Fill a large stock pot with one-gallon of water.
3) Heat water to a boil.
4) While waiting for water to boil, pick through hay and select the nice looking alfalfa leaves and stems. Discard any non-alfalfa looking plants.
5) Collect about 3 or 4 hands-full of alfalfa hay.
6) Using kitchen scissors, cut alfalfa into pieces about two or three-inches long.
7) When the water boils, stir the 3 or 4 hands-full of cut alfalfa into the boiling water.
8) Let water return to boil, then cover and remove from heat.
9) Let stand for at least one-half hour.
10) Pour tea through a strainer and into another container to remove alfalfa from the brewed buffalo herb tea. Discard the alfalfa.
I enjoyed the flavor of alfalfa tea. It is robust and has a great herb-like taste. It gave me an instant energy burst. After my couple of cups of refreshing buffalo herb tea today, I grabbed the shovel and went back outside to complete the snow removal. We got another 4 inches from our most recent snow event.
I understand that by adding different herbs like a leaf or two of peppermint and some ice completely changes the taste and makes for a refreshing summer beverage. Can’t wait to try a large glass full of buffalo herb iced tea this summer!
On a serious note, would you want a tea made with a genetic engineered enzyme made from the e.coli bacterium or with RoundUp’s active ingredient glyphosate that is highly toxic if ingested by humans or animals? Sounds like a crazy question right? Read the The Homestead Revival article to learn more about genetically modified RoundUp Ready alfalfa. To summarize, “The issue is, the food now contains chemicals God never intended for us to consume!”
What can we do? Purchase only non-genetically modified organism (GMO) food is the best thing we can do. The farmer’s markets and road-side farm stands offer produce that is locally-grown, non-GMO and pesticide-free. Be sure to ask the grower how the produce is grown and don’t accept any GMO food “from outside of the plant kindgom”. Also, consider starting a garden this year to grow your own food. It will help save on your food budget and be safer for you and your family.