The alfalfa plant, bearing blue and purple blossoms, is considered a nutritional
supplement and a body cleanser. Its leaves, growing in groups of three, are thought
to nourish the body by stimulating the appetite, acting as a laxative and diuretic and
providing such nutrients as fiber, protein, calcium and vitamin A (beta carotene).
- Inflammation of the bladder, bloating or water retention, indigestion, constipation,
halitosis (Taken internally)
Over the counter:
Alfalfa is available as tincture, prepared tea, capsules, dried leaves, concentrated powder extract or sprouts.
Tea: 1 to 2 tsp. dried leaves per cup of water steeped for 5 to 10 minutes.
Nutrition: Sprouts or powdered alfalfa added to soups, salads or sandwiches.
- WARNING: Avoid eating alfalfa seeds, because they contain relatively high levels of
the toxic amino acid canavanine. Ingesting large quantities of alfalfa seeds over a long
period of time may lead to pancytopenia, a blood disorder that causes the deterioration of
both platelets, responsible for blood clotting, and white blood cells, which fight
- Alfalfa contains saponins, chemicals thought to destroy red blood cells. Consequently,
anyone suffering from anemia should use alfalfa only under the direction of an herbalist
or a licensed healthcare professional.
- If you are pregnant, check with a practitioner before ingesting this herb. Alfalfa
seeds contain stachydrine and homostachydrine, which promote menstruation and in some
cases can lead to miscarriage.
- If you have a predisposition to systemic lupus erythematosus, use this herb only in
consultation with an herbalist or a healthcare professional. The canavanine in alfalfa is
believed to reactivate this disease in some people who are in remission.
- Although scientists have found no direct evidence, some herbalists believe, on the
basis of animal studies, that alfalfa can help the body to ward off heart disease
and strokes by delaying the absorption of cholesterol and dissolving plaque deposits
on the arterial walls.