Saturday, 28 December 2013

Herbal Alfalfa as an Antioxidant

Alfalfa is a flowering plant in the genus Medicago, belonging to the family Fabaceae, It has been cultivated all over the world as hay for cattle feeding. The leaves, sprouts, and seeds to make medicine has been used in traditional medicine over thousands of year to treat high cholesterol, asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, enhance digestive system, bleeding disorder, kidney and urinary tract infection, etc. North America aboriginal has used Alfalfa seed as food, such as making bread and mush.
A free radical is any atom or molecule that has a single unpaired electron in an outer shell and highly reactive to react with other cell, which in turn, causes oxidative damage to the enzymes, other protein, unsaturated fatty acid, phospho-lipids, DNA and RNA, etc., leading to aging of the organisms, as a result of widespread damage due to set of a chain reaction auto-catalytically after attacking the lipid bilayers of the cell walls.

1. Essential amino acids
2. Calcium
3. Magnesium
4. Potassium
5. Iron
6. Phosphorus
7. Zinc
8. Beta carotene
9. vitamin C
10. vitamins D
11.Vitamin E
12. Vitamin K
13. Etc.

The Benefits
Carbon tetrachloride found in both ambient outdoor and indoor air has been proven to cause liver injure and induced oxidative stress. According to the study by Dr.Al-Dosari MS., the yophilized aqueous extract of alfalfa, or Medicago sativa L. possesses hepatoprotective and antioxidative stress properties possibly through its antioxidant phytochemical constituents and substantiates its use in various liver disorders as a hepatoprotector. Other searchers in the evaluation of the antioxidant activity of polysaccharides(Polymeric carbohydrate molecules composed of long chains of monosaccharide units bound together by glycosidic bonds) from alfalfa, indicated that the polysaccharides had good antioxidant effect, especially scavenging activity for hydroxyl radical and DPPH radical, which indicated that the polysaccharides from alfalfa may be explored as a novel natural antioxidant. In other case, dietary protein-xanthophylls (PX) concentrate of alfalfa to turkey diets (at 15 and 30 g kg(-1) feed)  did not cause deterioration of breast and thigh meat quality, but changes in color, oxymyoglobin content, TBARS and oxidation-reduction potential values suggested that the inclusion of the concentrate to turkey diets acts as an antioxidant in the raw meat.

The Side effects
1. High amount of vitamin K may reduce the effectiveness of anticogulation medicine
2. Causing additive effects for women who are under estrogen replecement therapy or taking the oral contraceptive pill.
3. It may cause stomach upset and diarrhea
4. Etc.

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1. Optimization of enzyme-assisted extraction of polysaccharides from alfalfa and its antioxidant activity, Wang S, Dong X, Tong J.(PubMed)
2. In vitro and in vivo antioxidant activity of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) on carbon tetrachloride intoxicated rats. by Al-Dosari MS (PubMed).
3. Effect of protein-xanthophylls (PX) concentrate of alfalfa supplementation on physico-chemical properties of turkey breast and thigh muscles during ageing. by Karwowska M, Stadnik J, Dolatowski ZJ, Grela ER.(PubMed)

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