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Alfalfa ALFALFA LEAF  
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Botanical:   Medicago sativa
Family:  Leguminoseae (legume) - fabaceae  (pea)
Other common names:   Buffalo Herb, Lucerne, Purple Medic, Buffalo Grass, Medicago

Eliminate bloating and water retention with Alfalfa Leaf - the "Father of all Foods."  This excellent source of nutrients and digestive aid will help boost a sluggish appetite, relieve constipation and the swelling  that often accompanies rheumatism and arthritis.  It is most helpful in treating kidney and urinary tract infection and will help detoxify the body, especially the liver. Alfalfa Leaf's phytoestrogenic compounds are believed to be helpful in treating menopausal symptoms.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

History:
Remains of Alfalfa more than six thousand years old were discovered in Persia, with the oldest writings about Alfalfa arising from Turkey about 1300 B.C).  The plant is said to have been domesticated near Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, the Caucasus regions and other regions in Asia Minor.  Alfalfa reached Mediterranean Europe by way of the Greeks, who planted it as early as 490 B.C.  Since the Medes of ancient Persia were credited as being the first to cultivate the plant, it was given its botanical name, Medicago sativa, which is translated from Latin, meaning, "sowed by the Medians."   The word, Alfalfa, is said to be derived from from Arabic, Persian and Kashmiri words meaning "best horse fodder" and "horse power," since Alfalfa was so important to the early Babylonian cultures, Persians, Greeks and Romans because of its importance as fodder for horses used in war.  Alfalfa was being cultivated in England by the sixteenth century, where it was used to soothe and strengthen the body, and arrived in the American Colonies by 1736, where it was used mainly to treat upset stomach.  Native Americans employed ground Alfalfa seeds to thicken and enrich their diets and ate the leaves as tasty greens. The Eclectics, physicians who used herbal therapies in nineteenth-century America, used Alfalfa as a tonic for indigestion, dyspepsia, anemia, loss of appetite and poor assimilation of nutrients.  These physicians also recommended the Alfalfa plant to stimulate lactation in nursing mothers, and the seeds were made into a poultice for the treatment of boils and insect bites. Alfalfa is a perennial plant that can be cultivated almost anywhere, even in dry regions, and thrives as a crop in light, well-drained-to-dry, neutral-to-alkaline soil in sun.  Bushy Alfalfa may reach about three feet in height with roots that may extend to thirty feet into the soil, allowing exceptional access to a quantity of nutrients: rutin, silicon, zinc, calcium, copper, choline, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, saponins, alpha-carotene, beta carotene (useful against heart disease), as well as B-vitamins and vitamins A, D, E and K.  Alfalfa leaves contain eight essential amino acids and are a good source of chlorophyll, and they also contain triterpene saponins (sojasapogenol A-E aglycones medicagenic acid, hederagenin), flavones, isoflavones (formononetin glycosides, genistein, daidzein, biochanin A, coumestrol), lutein, sigmasterol, spinasterol, cyanogenic glycosides, sterols and coumarin derivatives (coumestrol, 3'-methoxy coumestrol, lucernol, sativol, trifol, medicagol).

Beneficial Uses:
Alfalfa is a good natural herbal laxative that helps relieve constipation.  Further, it is also a natural diuretic that promotes urine flow and is often used to manage urinary tract infections, kidney infections and eliminate excess retained water.

Alfalfa is especially useful for replacing vitamin K that is depleted during treatment with a wide variety of drugs, including antibiotics.

Alfalfa acts as a blood purifier and has helped many arthritis sufferers. The action as an herbal detoxifier and blood purifier has been found to be beneficial for a variety of illnesses, including liver disorders, breath odor, infections, disorders of the bones, joints and skin ailments.

Alfalfa is considered an herbal detoxifier and has an alkalizing effect on the body.  It is a great source of chlorophyll and mineral supplements that are all alkaline, which has a neutralizing effect on the intestinal tract, thereby easing digestive problems, such as upset stomach, gastritis and indigestion.

Alfalfa contains a high calcium and magnesium content, and studies have shown that migraines may be inhibited and/or reduced when these two minerals are combined.  All the minerals are in a balanced form, which also promotes absorption.

Herbalists have long used Alfalfa Leaf to ease ulcers, as the bioflavonoids found in Alfalfa help to reduce inflammation of the stomach lining and build capillary strength, while Alfalfa's vitamin A helps to maintain the stomach's overall health. The herb's enzymes aid in food assimulation. During the Han Dynasty (200 A.D.), Alfalfa was used as an ulcer treatment and continues in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to strengthen the digestive tract to stimulate healthy appetite.

Alfalfa is said to help lower cholesterol and inhibit the formation of atherosclerotic plaques (by blocking cholesterol's absorption into the body from the intestines), balance blood sugar (especially when taken with manganese) and promote healthy pituitary gland function.

Alfalfa is considered an immune-system stimulant that promotes normal blood clotting (and may interfere with blood thinning medication); its vitamin K content helps manage bleeding gums and nosebleed, but does not interfere with normal circulation. The bioflavonoids found in Alfalfa are believed to build capillary strength.

Alfalfa is said to contain natural phytoestrogens, and the herb has shown some estrogenic activity in women whose own sex hormone production has declined; thus, Alfalfa is thought to have helped many women with the discomforts of menopause and help with menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flashes. The vitamin K2 found in Alfalfa may also partially inhibit bone loss caused by estrogen deficiency.

Contraindications:
Alfalfa Leaf Herbal Supplement should not be taken by those who have autoimmune problems (lupus, etc.), nor should it be taken by pregnant women.  Ingestion of very large amounts (the equivalent of several servings) of the seed and/or sprouts or supplements has been linked to the onset of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the autoimmune illness characterized by inflamed joints and a risk of damage to kidneys and other organs.  The chemical responsible for this effect is believed to be canavanine. Alfalfa should be avoided in patients with hormone sensitive cancers, and due to the high content of purines, Alfalfa should be avoided in patients with gout.  Do not take Alfalfa without first talking to your doctor if you are taking: Azathioprine (examples: Imuran), Cyclosporine (examples: Sandimmune, Neoral, Sang Cya), blood thinning medicines (examples: warfarin (Coumadin) and Prednisone.  Alfalfa may lower the amount of potassium that you have in your blood, and it may cause you to have belly pain, pass more gas or have larger and more frequent bowel movements (BMs).  It may also cause you to have diarrhea (loose BMs).

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