What is Alfalfa?
Alternate Names: Medicago sativa, Buffalo herb, Lucerne, Purple Medic
Alfalfa is a herb native to the Mediterranean region but is widely cultivated elsewhere. The dried leaves of the plant and seeds are primarily used. Alfalfa has a long history of traditional use in China and India.
Why People Use This Herb
Compounds called saponins in alfalfa act on the cardiovascular, nervous and digestive systems.
- High cholesterol – Lowers cholesterol, Shown in research to reduce total serum cholesterol, LDL cholesterol.
- Weak appetite
- Anti-fungal – Saponins have anti-fungal properties. Applied topically as an ointment.
Alfalfa is available in tablets, capsules, and as a bulk herb. It is also available as a liquid extract and in bulk dry form. The seeds and sprouts are a popular food. A typical dosage is 500 mg per day.
Excess consumption of the seeds, over 80 grams per day, may cause damage to red blood cells.
Alfalfa should not be used by people with gout, systemic lupus erythematosus, or pre- or post-surgery. It should not be used in pregnancy.
Alfalfa may reduce the effectiveness of blood thinner drugs, such as Warfarin. It should not be used with prednisone.