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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Dietary Supplements >>  Alfalfa


Alfalfa is a perennial herb that grows in variety of climate throughout the world and is promoted as a dietary supplement for human consumption in recent years. It was first discovered by the Arabs and is considered as a ‘Queen of forage plants’. Alfalfa is able to absorb the nutrients from the soil in a better way because of it s deep rooted system. Alfalfa is categorized as legumes containing eight essential amino acids, rich source of certain vitamins, minerals as well as chlorophyll and has a long list of medical and dietary uses. Alfalfa leaves contain sterols, flavones, isoflavones and comarin derivatives.

Alfalfa and health benefits

  1. Alfalfa is a rich source of various vitamins and minerals like vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K and minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and antioxidant tricin.
  2. Alfalfa is used as a tonic for loss of appetite, indigestion, poor assimilation of nutrients, as a natural diuretic and also as a good laxative.
  3. Unclear scientific evidence also shows reduction in cholesterol levels and thus helps in preventing atherosclerosis. It also helps in diabetes in lowering the blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin levels.
  4. Due to the natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties present in alfalfa it is used in the treatment of gout, arthritis, peptic ulcer, liver disorders and certain cancers.
  5. Alfalfa plant also stimulates lactation in nursing mothers.
  6. Alfalfa seeds are sprouted and are used as a healthy option in diet to enhance health.
  7. Alfalfa leaves tea is used these days to promote appetite, gain weight, assimilation of proteins, certain vitamins and minerals and to stop bleeding.

Alfalfa is generally safe if taken as instructed by a herbalist, however is consumed in large doses can have these side effects -

Alfalfa supplements should be taken with a word of caution for pregnant ladies as it contains stachydrine and homostachydrine which promotes menstruation and thus can lead to miscarriages in some cases.
Although a source of iron, alfalfa also contains saponins that interfere with dietary iron absorption and thus having adverse effects on iron status of an individual in the body.
Large quantities if alfalfa seeds when consumed over a period of time can lead to pancytopenia, a type of blood disorder which causes deterioration of blood platelets that are responsible for blood clotting and white blood cells.
Alfalfa should be avoided for a person with some auto immune problem.

Alfalfa is also available as a dietary supplement in the form of tablets, capsules and liquid extracts. The dose should be decided by your health care provider in that case. One cannot be deficient as alfalfa is not an essential nutrient, but adding it to our diet would be surely beneficial for many individuals.

Alfalfa Supplements

Health problems are a part of life that cannot be ignored. However, it is important to remember that the way we live our life plays a huge role in the extent to which certain conditions will affect us. For instance, obesity is a well known and very common condition. However, one cannot complain of the problems he or she faces as a result of the condition if they do not make it a point to take care of their bodies during its development. One of the most common reasons that a large number of us lead very unhealthy loves in terms of the kinds of foods consumed is because of the fact that we have very hectic schedules that prevent us from sitting down and making a healthy and nutritious meal. While this is an understandable set of circumstances, it is important to remember that having the excuse is not going to do anything for the body when it starts to suffer the ill effects of being ignored for so many years. As a result, it helps to identify foods that are beneficial for your health and incorporate them into your diet in order to fight off the ill effects of certain conditions that are likely to develop.

Alfalfa, for instances is one of the best known health foods and is regularly used in the treatment of a number of conditions. But before we get into the details of the various conditions and ailments that alfalfa and alfalfa supplements help deal with, let us explore some of the plants history. Alfalfa is essentially a plant that is rich in vitamin, minerals and other nutrients and hence plays a very important role in the overall maintenance of the body. Alfalfa has been used as a regular and very common natural home remedy in the oldest cultures of the Chinese as well as Arabic world because of its health related properties. Research shows that alfalfa has been cultivated since as far back as the 5th century BC with a significant surge in its popularity coming in around the 17th century. One of the most distinctive properties of alfalfa when compared to any other kind of plant is the fact that it is toxic to itself. As a result, the plant cannot be grown in an area where another one already exists. Farmers need to plow out the crop before relaying another batch for growth. Moreover, the maturity of the crop also plays a huge role in whether it will be beneficial or not to us. The more mature varieties of the plant are likely to contain more fiber than the human body can handle, but will be alright for cattle consumption.

Due to the fact that alfalafa is a very widely known plant, a number of people tend to ask ‘what is alfalfa used for?’ in truth, there are a number of uses for the plant because of its high composition of essential vitamins and minerals. Some of the most well known alfalfa supplement benefits include the treatment of kidney problems, helping in the nourishment of the digestive, glandular and skeletal systems of the body; preventing the onset of stokes, lowering the cholesterol levels as well as curing most auto immune disorders. Researching information on the various alfalfa supplement benefits will help substantially while it is also important to make sure that you are aware of the various alfalfa supplement side effects, especially while pregnant. Going through a pregnancy is a very delicate time for the body and despite the fact that there is a lowering of the immune system – it is essential that you take care of your body and prevent any serious medical ailments from developing as they are likely to be carried forward to the child. One of the most important alfalfa supplement side effects during pregnancy to be aware of is the fact that alfalfa consumption is thought to induce menstruation and uterine stimulation. Because of these side effects, the chances or miscarriage heighten – thereby making it a very dangerous supplement to consume during this period. In the event that you are pregnant, it is extremely important that you discuss all the various side effects for any kind of medication that you take, with your doctor. Another one of the more serious alfalfa supplement side effects is the fact that diets that are rich in a substance called canavanine – which is a type of amino acid found in alfalfa – tends to aggravate a condition known as lupus.

One of the most widely used medical relationships is between alfalfa and gout; with the anti inflammatory, anti fungal and anti bacterial properties of the plant all playing a major role. Besides the benefits of alfalfa and gout, it is important to be aware of the fact that alfalfa consumption also tends to increase the sensitivity of the skin – making it more likely to increase the risk and possibility of sunburn. As a result, it is imperative that you apply sunblock in order to prevent any excessive damage from taking place. One is likely to notice the skins sensitivity returning to normal after alfalfa consumption has reduced.

Because of the many alfalfa supplement benefits, there are a number of home remedies that have been developed all over the world in the treatment of a number of conditions. For instance, the fact that the substance is very rich in the minerals that are required fir the formation of the strengthening of the bones, brewing a tea tat has a high amount of alfalfa content in it is likely to make the bones significantly stronger while the composition of the foods also helps dissolve kidney stones. Alfalfa supplements are easily available in any medical or health store all over the world, although it is advisable that you check with your doctor if it is advisable to include it in your diet before you do so.

Submitted on January 16, 2014