Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), also known as lucerne, is a member of the pea family. Sometimes called Buffalo Herb, Alfalfa means “Father of all Foods”. Alfalfa leaf contains essential vitamins including of B-vitamins, A, D, E and K. Also alfalfa is a source of iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorous.
Traditional Chinese Medicine used young alfalfa leaves to treat disorders of the digestive tract. The Ayurvedic physicians has used alfalfa leaf to relieve water retention, arthritis, and ulcers. In the 19-th century American physicians recommended alfalfa as a tonic for digestive dysfunctions, dyspepsia, lack of appetite, and anemia.
The vitamin K in alfalfa promotes healthy blood clotting, which is necessary for wound healing. Vitamin K plays major role in blood clotting process, is essential for prothrombin formation in the liver, thus alfalfa helps to prevent bleeding, and normalizes blood coagulability during hemorrhaging by strengthening the blood vessel walls and increasing the prothrombin production.
Alfalfa plant is a good source of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is actually responsible for the green pigmentation in plants. Plants use chlorophyll to trap light needed for photosynthesis. The chlorophyll molecule is very similar in structure to the haemoglobin molecule. The difference between them is that the heme molecule contains the element iron at its centre, whereas the chlorophyll molecule, also an oxygen-carrier contains magnesium. Chlorophyll enhances the capability of nutrients that build iron in the body and so it develops the production of red blood cells. Also, because it contains magnesium, enhances the transportation of oxygen to the tissues, develops circulation and oxygen supply.
Anemia happens when your blood does not have enough red blood cells to properly carry oxygen to organs and tissues. Alfalfa, dandelion root or leaf, burdock and yellowdock have traditionally been used to fortify and cleanse the blood. Also, a study reported in 2012 by the “Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation“, shows that alfalfa extract enriched with vitamin C supports the human body in fighting malnutrition, ischemic diseases and problems of the digestive tract.
Alfalfa may offer liver-protective effects according to a study reported in the 2012 edition of the American Journal of Chinese Medicine. In the animal-based study, supplement with alfalfa extract for 3 weeks prevented elevations in liver enzymes and reduced oxidative stress in response to a chemical irritant. The present study was performed to determine whether lyophilized aqueous extract of alfalfa, could exert antioxidant activity against carbon tetrachloride-induced oxidative stress and liver injury in rats. Results shows that the alfalfa extract possesses hepatoprotective and antioxidative stress effects possibly through its antioxidant phytochemical constituents and substantiate its use in various liver disorders as a hepatoprotector.
Alfalfa appears to lower blood glucose levels in animals. In a study, streptozotocin diabetic mice fed alfalfa experienced reduced hyperglycemia when compared with normal mice.
Alfalfa, has traditionally been used for women with menopausal symptoms. Alfalfa leaves contain flavones, isoflavones, coumarin and sterols derivatives. The isoflavones may cause the estrogen-like effects seen in animal-based studies. Supplementing with alfalfa and sage leaf (Salvia officinalis) extract completely eliminated hot flushes and night sweats in 20 of 30 women in one clinical trial. Sage leaf and alfalfa seem to have a central slight antidopaminergic action without adverse effects and appear to be an useful combination in the therapy of menopausal symptoms.