Alfalfa, also known as lucerne, is a member of the pea family and is native to western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region. Alfalfa sprouts have become a popular food for use in salad dishes, due to their high nutritional content. Alfalfa herbal supplements primarily use the dried leaves of the plant. The heat-treated seeds of the plant have also been used.
Alfalfa has been used by traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic physicians to treat disorders of the digestive tract. Alfalfa was also considered therapeutic for water retention and arthritis. It has a history of use as a tonic for indigestion, dyspepsia, anaemia, loss of appetite, and poor assimilation of nutrients.
What it does
Alfalfa is a nutritive herb containing Vitamins A, B1, B6, C, E, K and protein. It also contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc yielding 10 times more minerals than the average grain. Alfalfa contains many other compounds including, cholorphyll, isoflavones, bioflavanoids, and 8 digestive enzymes. Its actions include anti-cholesterol, anti-haemorrhagic, anti-anaemic and anti-coagulant.
Alfalfa supplements are often taken for their nutrient content as a general tonic during convalescence or for loss of appetite.
Alfalfa can be used in tincture form for children 1 year and older. Use one drop per stone of weight.
Generally there are no side effects or contra-indications to using alfalfa supplements.
The high Vitamin K content may interfere with and reduce the efficacy of warfarin or other blood thinning medication, so should be avoided if you take this medication.
There were no other well known drug interactions at the time of writing this article.