Alfalfa is an herb used for medical purposes. The whole plant has medicinal values and seeds, leaves and sprouts of this plant are used to prepare medicines. Alfalfa is rich in protein, calcium and other vital vitamins and nutrients. Alfalfa is also used in preparing many dishes as well as in preparing medicines. The usage of alfalfa as a medicine is found in ancient Chinese medicine as well as in Ayurveda. Alfalfa is produced nowadays as a dietary supplement and can be found in any of the chemist stores.
Alfalfa is used for kidney conditions, bladder and prostate conditions and to increase flow of urine. It is also used on patients with high cholesterol, asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, upset stomach, and a bleeding disorder called Thrombocytopenic Purpura. Alfalfa is rich in vitamins like vitamin A, C E and K4. Alfalfa is also contains high amount of minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorous and iron. Alfalfa helps to reduce cholesterol in people with high cholesterol level and prevents cholesterol absorption in the gut. Alfalfa is often used as potent nutritive in case of prolonged illness and malnutrition because of its high protein, vitamin and mineral content. Alfalfa is studied to reduce “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in people with high cholesterol levels. In Ayurveda, alfalfa is also used to cure poor digestion and to relieve symptoms of arthritis. It is also found to be used for anemia and for increasing breast milk production in other traditional medicine science.
Alfalfa does not possibly have any side effects on adults if taken in small quantities but large dosages and long term consumption do have some side effects which are similar to autoimmune disease called lupus erythematosus. Excessive consumption of Alfalfa causes break down of red blood cells. It is always advised to take the dosages as prescribed, and in case of any side effects or discomfort one should report immediately to the doctor.
Pregnant women should not take alfalfa since Alfalfa may act like estrogen and can impact pregnancy. People with “Auto-Immune Diseases” like multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) should avoid Alfalfa since it can increase the symptoms. People with Diabetes should monitor their blood sugar level when taking Alfalfa since it can reduce blood sugar levels. If you have any condition that might get worse by exposure to estrogen, then better to avoid Alfalfa.
Alfalfa supplement is available in the form of tablet/capsules. One capsule/tablet daily is recommended but you should consult your doctor before starting the course to avoid any adverse effect. You can also drink tea prepared from Alfalfa leaves instead of taking capsules.