Benefits of Alfalfa
The benefits of alfalfa were first discovered thousands of years ago by the Arabs. They found that when horses ate alfalfa they were stronger and faster.
Through this discovery, they added alfalfa grass to their own diets and began to notice -people who consumed it remained healthier than those who did not.
Convinced of its health benefits, they named it "Alfalfa" - meaning "father of all foods."
What is it?
Alfalfa is perennial plant that grows 2 to 3 feet tall and resembles tall clover. It has grayish-green pinnately trifoliate leaves, egg-shaped leaflets, violet, pale blue, or yellow flowers, and spiraling seed pods.
The Benefits of Alfalfa Traditional Use
The Traditional Chinese used it to treat kidney stones and other disorders of the digestive tract. It was also used by the Ayurvedic physicians of India to treat poor digestion and arthritis.
Nutritional Benefits of Alfalfa
Alfalfa is a member of the pea family of legumes that is thought to have originated in southwestern Asia. It contains eight essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Its leaves are rich in minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc.
In addition, this nutritious herb contains beta carotene; the precursor of vitamin A, and vitamins D, E, and K. Alfalfa also contains a good source of chlorophyll.
How Does the Benefits of Alfalfa ….. Benefit You?
Herbalists consider alfalfa to be a good general tonic, mostly because of its reputation of being an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and protein.
Alfalfa also consists of active medicinal properties such as isoflavones, sterols, and other plant phytoestrogens; saponin glycosides (2 to 3 percent) that may promote cholesterol –lowering effects. More specifically, these ingredients working together along with the plant's natural fiber are believed to have cholesterol-lowering properties.
In addition, alfalfa contains derivatives of coumarin, an antiplatelet substance that reduces blood clotting and may protect the body from atherosclerosis, which is the fatty plaque buildup along the artery walls.
Since alfalfa is a rich source of phytoestrogens it is used to ease menopausal symptoms.
Other common uses and/or possible health benefits of alfalfa include:
Commonly used to help control diabetes.
May help reduce swelling and inflammation associated with rheumatism.
Commonly used to relieve digestive tract disorders, including indigestion, heartburn, and to boost a sluggish appetite.
Commonly used to rid the body of excess fluid.
Commonly used to treat urinary tract infections and kidney, bladder, and prostate disorders.
May help relieve constipation.
For those of you concerned about bad breath, this may be the herb for you. As we mentioned earlier, alfalfa is a source of chlorophyll, the active ingredient in many breath fresheners. (Sip an alfalfa infusion.)
Lastly, alfalfa is an excellent source on nutrients.
Benefits of Alfalfa - Evidence of Efficacy
Unfortunately, most of the evidence supporting the medicinal claims for alfalfa is either anecdotal or based on animal studies. For example, it has shown to lower blood cholesterol levels in animals, but it is not known whether this effect applies to humans. More research is needed on the benefits of alfalfa.
Although there are many possible benefits of alfalfa, there are some precautionary measures one should follow.
It is not recommended as primary treatment for any health condition.
Alfalfa should not be taken by pregnant women, people with hay fever or premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
In addition, alfalfa may be harmful to those who suffer from autoimmune disorders. In fact, people who suffer from lupus, including clinically inactive lupus or have a family history of this condition should not consume alfalfa in any form.
Alfalfa should be avoided by people who take prescription warfarin(coumadin) and any other anticoagulants. Alfalfa counteracts with these medications.
Moreover, you should always speak to a physician before taking any dietary supplements.
It's important to note that herbal supplements are not strictly regulated, and, as such, manufacturers do not have to guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or even the true content of their products.
Although dietary supplements should be labeled properly, many aren't, so what's stated on the label may not be in the container. The potency and/or purity may be inconsistent or misrepresented. Some products tested also contained very harmful contaminates!
Tips on Choosing an Alfalfa Supplement
Maximize the Benefits of Alfalfa
We here at Nutritional-Supplement-Educational-Centre recommend the following steps when selecting a high quality supplement.
1. Select a supplement produced at pharmaceutical GMP compliant facilities. It's important to note that dietary supplements are not highly regulated by the FDA in the U.S. and, as such, manufacturers do not have to guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or even the true content of their products.
In fact, consumers only have a 1 in 5 chance of buying a product that contains what is stated on the label or one that does not harbor contaminates.
Pharmaceutical GMP compliant facilities adhere to the same stringent requirements as pharmaceutical drugs.
2. Select a product that is created by someone who is qualified to create a supplement, such as a scientist.
3. Check to see if there are any artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, yeast, sucrose, dextrose or gluten in their Alfalfa supplements.
4. Select a product from a manufacturer that has a Certificate of Analysis on file for each batch that confirms the potency of ingredients. Does the company have other crosschecks to ensure potency?
5. Look for alfalfa supplements that contain only standardized extracts. These are the purest extracts available, offering the highest amount of active ingredients, and, as such, have the best potency and efficacy.
Featured Alfalfa Product
Looking for the benefits of alfalfa?
One company that meets the above requirements -- and more -- is Xtend-Life Natural Products from New Zealand. Their flagship product called Total Balance contains a full spectrum of over 70 nutrients including alfalfa, along with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, specialty nutrients, potent antioxidants, and many other herbal extracts.
All of the ingredients are scientifically combined in a synergistic way to enhance and maximize the efficacy of each other.
We here at Nutritional-Supplement-Educational-Centre have been taking Total Balance for several years now and can personally attest to its excellent results such as an increase in energy levels, mental clarity, and an increase feeling of well-being.
We hope this webpage discussing the benefits of alfalfa was useful to you.
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