Alfalfa

Submitted by Thiruvelan on Wed, 06/20/2012
Alfalfa May Help Lower Cholesterol

Alfalfa is a medicinal herb appears to decrease cholesterol levels by binding with cholesterol and prevent its normal absorption. It helps in clearing arteries congested with cholesterol.

What is Alfalfa? How does it lower cholesterol?

What is Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)? Alfalfa is a medicinal herb, a perennial flowering plant. People use Alfalfa’s leaves, sprouts, and seeds to make medicine. It is an important forage crop in the US, Canada, Argentina, France, Australia, the Middle East, South Africa, and many other countries.

How does Alfalfa lower your cholesterol level? A steroidal saponin fraction of several factors (e.g., soyasapogenols, hederagenin, medicagenic acid) contain in alfalfa is believed to play a role in the hypocholesterolemic and hemolytic activity of the leaves and sprouts.

The saponins in alfalfa are appearing to decrease cholesterol (and not triglycerides) levels by binding with cholesterol and prevent its normal absorption.

How does alfalfa lower your heart diseases & strokes risk?

Alfalfa contains an isoflavonoid constituent Biochanin-A, it decreases nitric oxide syntheses, preventing proliferation, and inflammation. Thus, preventing the formation of plaque, in turn, prevents atherosclerosis and heart diseases.

9 Medicinal Uses of Alfalfa

  1. Lower Cholesterol - Alfalfa has been showing cholesterol-lowering activity in people with high cholesterol. Taking alfalfa seeds seems to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. And it improves lipid profile.
  2. Normalize blood pressure - It helps to soften hardened arteries and thus acts as a natural treatment for high blood pressure.
  3. Improves blood glucose - Alfalfa can also help diabetes treatment by improving the blood-glucose level.
  4. Heart problems – It is useful in treating heart diseases and other arterial problems.
  5. Respiratory health - It is effective in treating respiratory discomfort and disorders associated with the lungs or sinuses.
  6. Good for urinary system – Alfalfa acts as a diuretic and thus useful for kidney problems, bladder, and prostate conditions; it increases urine flow.
  7. Asthma - Alfalfa supports the treatment of asthma.
  8. Arthritis - Alfalfa is in use for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  9. Strengthen digestion - Alfalfa can calm down the upset stomach, and a bleeding disorder called thrombocytopenic purpura. It helps in regulating the bowel movements and improving the digestion process.

Recommended alfalfa daily dosage

For high-cholesterol treatment, a recommended dosage is 5 to 10 grams of alfalfa, or alfalfa tea, three times a day. Alfalfa extracts of 5 to 10 mL three times a day can be useful.

Alfalfa available in different forms

Alfalfa is available as dried leaves, tablets or powder for use as nutritional supplements. Some herbal companies and health-food suppliers also offer dried alfalfa leaf in a tea bag form.

How do you take alfalfa?

Alfalfa tea recipe, you need 1 ounce dried alfalfa herb (some even offer alfalfa in tea bag form), a cup of water and sugar/honey to sweeten. Boil the water, put the dried alfalfa (or alfalfa tea bag) steeping it for 10 minutes, strain the content and enjoy good health.

You can also add a few drops of alfalfa extract into your favorite tea and easily get all the health benefits.

Bioactive constituents of Alfalfa

Alfalfa contains phytoestrogens known as coumestans. Alfalfa contains potentially health-promoting flavonoids, such as quercetin, apigenin, and luteolin. Alfalfa is a rich source of vitamins (A, C, E, and K4), and minerals (calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and iron).

Scientific evidence for Alfalfa as natural cholesterol herb

A study titled "Interactions of alfalfa plant and sprout saponins with cholesterol in vitro and cholesterol-fed rats" published in Am J Clin Nutr. 1984 Jun;39(6):917-29. The result shows the saponin-cholesterol interaction is an important part of the hypocholesterolemic action of alfalfa, but the interaction of bile acids with other components of alfalfa may be of equal importance.

Possible side effects & medicine interaction of alfalfa

Alfalfa leaves are considering being safe for most adults. However, taking alfalfa seeds for a long period may likely unsafe and may cause the autoimmune disease called lupus erythematosus. Alfalfa is not recommendable for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Alfalfa helps the body to clot easily. Warfarin is a drug in use to slow blood clotting; this drug may interact with alfalfa, and it may cause a decrease in the drug’s efficiency. Estrogen-containing birth control pills may interact with alfalfa, and the effectiveness of the birth control pills decreases. Immunosuppressant medication’s efficacy may decrease by interacting with alfalfa.