Although usually used as livestock feed, the health benefits of alfalfa for people have long been in evidence, and it has been used by the Chinese to treat many conditions since as early as the 6th century.
Benefits of Alfalfa
Alfalfa is known to help lower cholesterol, relieve water retention, and can be used as a cleanser for the bowels, blood, and liver, which can help to support detoxification for alcohol and drug dependants.
Alfalfa is a plant rich in vitamins and minerals and is full of a whole host of other nutrients (it is said to contain over 300) which promote health and wellbeing in the human body and as such can be used to help people suffering from auto-immune disorders and arthritis.
Another of the health benefits of alfalfa is its ability to aid in weight loss. Alfalfa contains fiber, which in turn aids the digestive system; it eases water retention and cleanses the bowels. Being so packed full of vitamins and minerals, this wonderful herb also helps to ease cravings, as the body is getting all that it needs.
Alfalfa benefits also include increasing energy, reducing fatigue, and easing of muscle aches. A mixture of equal parts of alfalfa juice, lettuce juice, and carrot juice taken every day is said to help prevent hair loss and actually assist hair to grow.
The facts about the health benefits of the alfalfa plant are widely reported, and the plant itself can grow in many climates up to around three feet high. The roots of the plant go deep into the ground, around 15 feet, although some sources say up to about 30 feet deep. It is because of this deep root system that the plant is able to gain all the nutrients from the ground, making it an invaluable herbal remedy.
Due to its versatility, alfalfa can be used for conditions from diabetes to menopause due to the fact it helps to lower blood sugar and helps alleviate symptoms of hot flashes or make them much more bearable.
There are even some reports that it helps to reverse the effects of anti-cancer medication in some patients who are being treated with chemotherapy.
Regular users of antibiotics, steroids, or even anti-seizure medication could benefit from taking a supplement of alfalfa, as it can boost the vitamin K that is lost through the use this type of medication.
Uses & Precautions
Alfalfa supplements are generally available in tablet and capsule form, but can also be available in powder form. Fresh alfalfa sprouts can also be used on salads. The dried leaves of the alfalfa can be made into tea, although alfalfa leaf tea is also available pre-packaged. All these forms are readily available from most health food shops.
There can be side effects if taking an excessive amount of alfalfa supplements, so moderation is recommended. Over use can cause red blood cells to break down, which can be extremely dangerous. As with all herbal remedies, it is advisable to consult your physician before taking any supplement.