Alphalpha ( Medicago Sativa ) or Lucerne as it is often called, is cultivated around the world as a forage crop. For equine use it is most commonly used as chopped hay or added into other feeds. Alphalpha probably originated in what is now Iran, it was mentioned by ancient Greek writers and the Romans. Early Chinese physicians used the leaves to treat digestive tract and kidney disorders. There are records of it being cultivated in Spain in the 13th century as being used in both fresh and dried forms. In the 16th century the Spanish colonizers introduced it to America for use as fodder for their horses, America is now the biggest producer.
Alphalpha contains protein, calcium and other minerals as well as vitamins in the B, C, D, E, and K groups. Being a legume ( a member of the pea family Fabaceae ) it has nitrogen fixing root nodules, producing a high protein feed and also increasing the soil nitrogen, but like other leguminous crops it contains phytoestrogens, which may cause reduced fertility when used as grazing.