Alfalfa - Some Benefits on Usage of Alfalfa
Common Trade Names
Available in capsules (374 mg, 380 mg, 550 mg), dried herb, liquid extract, powder (350 mg), and tablets (44 mg, 50 mg, 60 mg, 100 mg, 500 mg).
This legume grows throughout the world under widely varying conditions. The whole plant is used medicinally.
Various acids (lauric acid, malic acid, maleic acid, oxalic acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, and quinic acid), alkaloids (pyrrolidine-type [stachydrine, homostachydrine] and pyridine-type [trigonelline]), and amino acids (arginine, asparagine, canavanine, cysteine, histadine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine) exist in alfalfa. A coumarin (medicagol), isoflavonoids (coumestrol, biochanin A, daidzein, formononetin, and genistein), saponins (arabinose, galactose, glucuronic acid, glucose, rhamnose, and xylose), steroids (campesterol, cycIoartenol, beta-sitosterol, alphaspinasterol, and stigmasterol), carbohydrates, vitamins (A, B1 B 6 , B12' C, E, K), calcium, carotene, magnesium, potassium, protein, minerals, and trace elements are also found in the plant.
Alfalfa leaves and stems contain saponins that have been reported to decrease the plasma cholesterol level without changing the HDL level. Other, unidentified components in alfalfa decrease intestinal absorption of cholesterol and increase the excretion of neuronal steroids and bile acids. In one study, the plasma cholesterol level declined by 20% and HDL-LDL ratio improved by 40%.
The manganese content of alfalfa produces a hypoglycemic effect. The results of a study using mice in whom diabetes had been induced that were fed alfalfa demonstrated a proportional increase in insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells of the mice . These results support the insulin-releasing and insulin-like activities of alfalfa.
Alfalfa root saponins exhibit toxicity toward Candida species, Geotrichum candidum, Rhodotorula gluinis yeasts, and Torulopsis species. The medicago component has also been effective against yeasts.
The isoflavonoids biochanin A, coumestrol, daidzein, and genistein possess estrogenic properties.
L-Canavanine is similar structurally to arginine. This component, found mainly in alfalfa sprouts, binds to arginine-dependent enzymes, which alters the intercellular calcium level as well as the ability of some T- and B-cell lines to regulate antibody synthesis. In two patients, this reaction has reactivated systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In animal studies, the reaction provoked pancytopenia and reduced serum complement levels.
An investigation into alfalfa's effect on hepatic drug-metabolizing enzymes in rats showed that alfalfa potentiated the activity of aminopyrine N-demethylase. This enzyme is responsible for some methylation reactions associated with phase II liver detoxification.
Alfalfa is a great source of vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as calcium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. Patients with hypercholesterolemia have reportedly used alfalfa in conjunction with other treatments. Anecdotally, postmenopausal women have used this herb to alleviate hot flashes.
Dried herb: 5 to 10 g P.O. or as an infusion t.i.d.
Liquid extract (1:1 in 25% alcohol): 5 to 10 ml P.O. t.i.d.
Hematologic: blood dyscrasias.
Other: lupus like reactions.
Anticoagulants: May potentiate activity and increase risk of bleeding because of coumarin content in plant. Avoid use with alfalfa.
Chlorpromazine: Drug-induced photosensitivity. Advise patient to take precautions.
Hormonal therapies (oral contraceptives and replacement therapies): Estrogenic effects may alter pharmacologic activity. Avoid use with alfalfa.
Hypoglycemic drugs: May potentiate hypoglycemic events. Monitor blood glucose level.
Insulin: Increases risk of hypoglycemic events. Monitor blood glucose level.
Vitamin E: Potentiates alfalfa. Avoid use with alfalfa.
Vitamin K: Reverses effects of warfarin. It is not known whether the plant's coumarin content or vitamin K will predominate on warfarin.
Contraindications And Precautions
Alfalfa is contraindicated in patients with SLE and in those receiving anticoagulation or hormone therapy. Avoid its use in women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Advise the patient to consult his health care provider before using herbal preparations because a treatment that has been clinically researched and proved effective may be available.
Inform the patient receiving hormonal therapy that alfalfa's potential interactions with other drugs are unknown. More frequent monitoring of blood glucose levels and coagulation may be needed.
Alert Caution the patient about the potential for lupuslike reactions.
Instruct the patient to report unusual symptoms, such as bleeding, breast tenderness, dizziness, and hot flashes, promptly to his health care provider.
Alfalfa might emerge as an adjunctive therapy for hypercholesterolemia and diabetes. Considerably more study is needed before it is possible to visualize a role in the treatment of either of these or other disorders. Notably, this herb might effect significant therapeutic consequences when used with other drugs because of its ability to enhance hepatic metabolism and potentiate the effects of anticoagulants and hypoglycemics.
Looking for the highest quality bulk herbs, teas and capsules?
HOME | ABOUT US | CONTACT US |
Copyright © 2006-2014 Health-Care-Tips.org. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: The services and information provided here are for information purposes. These information are not intended to act as a substitute for a professional healthcare practitioner advise. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, please consult your doctor.
Only personal contact with the qualified healthcare practitioner of your choice - who knows your health history, who can examine you, and who can bring expertise and experience to bear on your situation -- can yield advice about how you ought to handle any of the information you obtain from sources accessed through this service.
Copyright © 2006-2014 Health-Care-Tips.org. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: The services and information provided here are for information purposes. These information are not intended to act as a substitute for a professional healthcare practitioner advise. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, please consult your doctor.