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                                                                                                                  Alfalfa

Alfalfa

Alfalfa(Medicago sativa)also called Lucerne.


Is a perennial flowering plant in the pea family Fabaceae cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world.

Alfalfa is naturally high in many essential vitamins and minerals, including A, D, E, K, and even the full family of B vitamins; biotin, calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, potassium and many others, as well as being very high in protein, especially when dried. It is "The king of all foods"!

Alfalfa is a plant which sends its roots down twenty to thirty feet into the ground and brings up the minerals that are not available on the surface. For this reason, the Arabic word Alfalfa means "father of plants". Alfalfa is rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that play a vital role in the strength and growth of our bones and in the maintenance of a healthy body.

Vitamins

 The alfalfa plant is naturally high in many essential vitamins, including A, D, E, K, and even the full family of B vitamins. Each individual vitamin has an abundance of health benefits in itself, making them crucial to overall human health. It is surprising for so many different types of vitamins to be present in just one plant, which makes the lure of consuming this plant all the greater.

Minerals

Not only does the alfalfa plant contain a full spectrum of important vitamins, but it is also loaded with minerals such as biotin, calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, potassium, and many others. As if there needed to be another reason as to why it's so great, the alfalfa plant is also super high in protein, especially when dried. The alfalfa plant has an unusual, extensive root system that can reach as far as 60 feet into the soil. This is what allows the plant to absorb more vitamins and minerals than the average plant, further giving credentials to its title as, "The king of all foods."


What are the Benefits of Alfalfa?

Alfalfa has been used by the Chinese since the sixth century to treat several health conditions. It is considered the richest land source of trace minerals. Rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients Alfalfa makes an amazing herbal remedy. Its specific benefits include:

Curing kidney problems, and relieving fluid retention and swelling.

Curing auto-immune disorder.

Healing arthritis.

Nourishing the digestive, skeletal, glandular and urinary system.

Cleansing the blood, liver and bowel.

Lowering cholesterol levels.

Preventing strokes.

Healing whooping cough.


Uses of Alfalfa

Home Remedy for Arthritis

Since alfalfa is very rich in minerals needed for the formation and strengthening of bones, a tea made from alfalfa (especially from its seeds) has shown beneficial results in the treatment of arthritis.

Home Remedy for Diabetes

Alfalfa is known to reduce blood sugar levels, and is therefore considered a natural treatment for diabetes.

Remedy for Kidney Stones

Vitamins A, C, E and Zinc are proven to help dissolve kidney stones. You can find these vitamins and minerals in Alfalfa powder and Alfalfa sprouts.

Natural Treatment for Hair Loss and Balding

The juice of alfalfa, in combination with equal amounts of carrot and lettuce juice, taken daily, assists in the growth of hair to an amazing extent. The combination of these juices is rich in elements which are especially helpful for the growth of hair and the prevention of hair loss.

What are the Side Effects of Alfalfa?

As with all herbal products, moderation is the key to avoiding adverse reactions. For example, excessive consumption of alfalfa may cause the breakdown of red blood cells, which is extremely serious.

Research has found that diets high in canavanine, an amino acid found in alfalfa, can aggravate the disease lupus. However, canavanine is usually only found in the seeds and sprouts of alfalfa but not in mature leaves. Thus, alfalfa tea and capsules made from leaves are not expected to contain canavanine. Nevertheless, it is recommended that alfalfa be avoided during pregnancy because of its potential canavanine content and hormonally active saponins. If you are pregnant, it is recommended that you avoid regular daily consumption of alfalfa or its supplements.


Contraindications

The FDA issued an advisory indicating that children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems should avoid eating alfalfa sprouts because of frequent bacterial contamination.

Pregnancy/nursing

Documented adverse effects. May cause uterine stimulation. Avoid use.

Interactions

The vitamin K found in alfalfa can affect the anticoagulant effect of warfarin, resulting in decreased anticoagulant activity and lowered prothrombin time. Based on the potential immunostimulating effect of alfalfa, it has been theorized that alfalfa may interfere with the immunosuppressive action of corticosteroids (eg, prednisone) or cyclosporine.


Side Effects

Alfalfa ingestion, especially of the seeds, has been associated with various deleterious effects. Alfalfa seeds and fresh sprouts can be contaminated with bacteria such as S. enterica and E. coli. The FDA issued an advisory indicating that children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems should avoid eating alfalfa sprouts. In general, ingestion of dried alfalfa preparations does not cause serious side effects in healthy adults.

Toxicities

Alfalfa tablets have been associated with the reactivation of systemic lupus erythematosus in at least 2 patients. Changes in intestinal cellular structure were noted in rats fed alfalfa.

Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with ALFALFA

Alfalfa contains large amounts of vitamin K. Vitamin K is used by the body to help blood clot. Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. By helping the blood clot, alfalfa might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Be cautious with this combination

Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs) interacts with ALFALFA

Some birth control pills contain estrogen. Alfalfa might have some of the same effects as estrogen. But alfalfa isn't as strong as the estrogen in birth control pills. Taking alfalfa along with birth control pills might decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you take birth control pills along with alfalfa, use an additional form of birth control such as a condom.

Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.

Estrogens interacts with ALFALFA

Large amounts of alfalfa might have some of the same effects as estrogen. But even large amount of alfalfa aren't as strong as estrogen pills. Taking alfalfa along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.

Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with ALFALFA

Alfalfa might increase the immune system. By increasing the immune system, alfalfa might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.

Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.

Medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight (Photosensitizing drugs) interacts with ALFALFA

Some medications can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Large doses of alfalfa might also increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Taking alfalfa along with medication that increase sensitivity to sunlight could increase the chances of sunburn, blistering or rashes on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. Be sure to wear sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun.

Some drugs that cause photosensitivity include amitriptyline (Elavil), Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), ofloxacin (Floxin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), gatifloxacin (Tequin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra), tetracycline, methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen, 8-MOP, Oxsoralen), and Trioxsalen (Trisoralen).