Alfalfa - Medicago Sativa
This Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) monograph is an excerpt from the 1999, first edition of Dr. Sharol's book "Herbal Medicine From The Heart of The Earth." You can purchase the 2020, third edition of this book with an expanded materia medica/monograph section, herbal formulas and directions on making herbal products in Dr. Sharol's Book Store. You receive free shipping in the USA. The expanded 3rd edition materia medica, and additional herbal tidbits are also available as a kindle ebook at Amazon and details on this e-book are here.
Alfalfa - Medicago sativa in the Fabaceae or legume family
Part used: Aerial parts.
Tendencies: Cooling, moistening.
Dosage: Infusion: 1 heaping tablespoon per cup of water; or 1:1 fresh + dry plant liquid extract: 30-60 drops in a little water 1-4 times per day.
Use: (a) Diuretic, (b) Anti-inflammatory, (c) Nutritive, (d) Phytoestrogen.
Alfalfa contains a high mineral and vitamin content, rich in protein, carotene, calcium, trace minerals and vitamins E and K as well as many water soluble vitamins. It has been shown to stimulate lactation and increase the quality of breast milk. It is used as a general tonic and in a variety of chronic degenerative diseases. Alfalfa has been shown to decrease cholesterol and cause regression of atherosclerosis.
Alfalfa is one of the many legumes that contain phytoestrogenic isoflavones. It also contains the phytoestrogenic agent coumestrol, which is found in mature Alfalfa as well as Alfalfa sprouts. Alfalfa stressed by disease and pests has been shown to have higher levels of phytoestrogenic constituents.
Phytoestrogens can act as anti-estrogens by competing with estradial for cytoplasmic receptors in estrogen-sensitive tissues. Soybeans, which also contain estrogenic isoflavones, have been implicated as being responsible for the low incidence of breast and other female reproductive cancers in Japanese women who consume large amounts of soybean products. The same protective action may be possible with Alfalfa and should be studied further.
Contraindications: Plants with coumestans and isoflavones have been shown to decrease fertility in animals who graze on these types of plants. Excess Alfalfa use should be avoided in women or men with fertility problems. It is contraindicated during pregnancy due to the uterine stimulant action on animals by the constituent stachydrine. There is a potential of drug interaction with blood thinning agents. The presence of vitamin K in any plant can cause an antagonistic effect with blood thinning agents like coumarin (warfarin) or indandione (anisindione). Alfalfa is thought to exacerbate symptoms of lupus, possibly caused by immune system stimulation by L-canavanine
If you are looking for directions on making teas or tinctures, please see our "Making Herbal Products" page.
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Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.
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