Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa)
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is an effective herbal remedy that is used for the treatment of different types of ailments. Some of these ailments include alcoholism, menopause, boost energy levels and eliminate drug dependency. It is a perennial plant that belongs to the pea family and is cultivated as forage crop in countries such as France, United States, France, Middle East, Australia and South Africa among other countries.
Alfalfa is rich in vitamins such as A, E, G, B, D C and K. It is also has chlorine, calcium , sodium, silicon, phosphorous and magnesium and it is for this reason that it is ideal for eating raw or cooked. There are other people who choose to eat the sprouts as part of a salad. The medicinal uses of the plant are varied. For instance, it is used in Chinese medicine by therapeutics to treat kidney and digestive disorders. Apart from this fact, it is also used for the treatment of bladder diseases, diabetics and anemia. It also acts as estrogen replacement, appetite suppressant, anti-hemorrhagic and anti-cholesterolemic.
Dosage and Administration
When the alfalfa leaves are used to brew tea, the usual dosage is one to two teaspoons and this should be steeped for ten to twenty minutes. When taking powdered alfalfa, it is often in capsule form and in this case, it should be taken in accordance to manufacturer instructions. When it is been used for the purpose of cholesterol reduction, it is advisable to take five to ten grams of the dried leaves 3 times everyday.
The leaves, sprouts and whole alfalfa herb can be used in accordance to the results one wants to achieve. The seeds can also be used from time to time.
- Dried material: this is used to refer to the plant once dry and only 2 teaspoons are supposed to be used when making tea.
- Bark or the seeds: When using the seeds, 2 teaspoons are enough.
- Fresh plant: only ¼ of a cup is supposed to be used to make tea when fresh material is used.
As mentioned earlier, alfalfa has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine and it is rich in trace minerals. There are several benefits associated with the plant and some of these can be highlighted as follows.
- Lowers cholesterol
There is clinical evidence that proves alfalfa lowers levels of cholesterol and improves the panel. Supplementation of alfalfa also reduces blood cholesterol and especially in individuals with hyperlipoproteinemia. The chemicals and fibers which are found in alfalfa work by sticking on the cholesterol and this ensures that they do not stay in the blood and consequently, they are not deposited on vessel walls. In addition to this, it is known to leave good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol.
- Has plenty of Essential Enzymes
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) also contains eight essential enzymes and this ensures that foods are easily assimilated in your body. Some of these include lipase which is responsible for splitting fat, amylase which gets rid of starch, protease which digests proteins, coagulase which clots blood and pectinase. There are other enzymes contained in the plant and this includes peroxidate and emusin.
- Acts as a Digestive Aid
This is because it contains minerals, chlorophyll and vitamins which help stimulate lagging appetites and also help with digestion. The essential enzymes which are also contained in the plant speed up the digestion process of food groups such as starches, proteins, sugars and fats.
- Aids in Treatment of Peptic Cancers
It has vitamin U which is also found in majority of green vegetables and this is an essential treatment for peptic ulcers and gastritis. When it comes to treatment of peptic ulcers, Vitamin U is 80% efficient.
There are other notable benefits noted with alfalfa and this includes prevention of strokes, healing of arthritis, nourishing of the skeletal, digestive, urinary and glandular system and healing of conditions such as whooping cough.
Just like with other herbal products a sense of moderation needs to be employed in order to prevent any adverse conditions. When it is consumed in excess, it can cause red blood cells breakdown and this is an extremely serious side effect. There a certain amino acid, canavanine which is found in the plant and known to aggravate lupus disease. Canavanine is however found in the sprouts and seeds but not in mature leaves. For the purpose of ensuring that caution and safety is exercised, expectant women are advised not to use alfalfa or any of its supplements.
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