Saturday, 4 January 2014

Herbal Alfalfa and Cancers

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.
Cancer is a class of diseases in which a group of cells growing and multiplying disordered and uncontrollable way in our body, have become progressively worse and damaged other healthy tissues, sometimes spreads to other organs in the body via lymph or blood and results may be in death.

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.
It chemical constituents include flavones, isoflavones, sterols, Bichanin A Coumestrol Diadzein Formonetin Genisteincoumarin derivatives, etc.

The benefits
According to the study by Dr. Manna SK.,  isoflavones, such as genistein, erbstatin, quercetin, daidzein, found in alfalfa, showed the apoptotic effect against cancer cells, but biochanin, a methoxy form of genistein, inhibits IL-8-mediated activation of nuclear transcription factor kappaB (NF-κB) and activator protein 1 (AP-1) more potently than genistein as shown in Jurkat T-cell line. Other in the study of L-Canavanine, a potentially toxic antimetabolite of L-arginine found in alfalfa, has demonstrative antineoplastic activity against a number of animal-bearing carcinomas and cancer cell lines. Unfortunately, research in dietary alfalfa, pectin, and wheat bran shows that the animals fed the alfalfa diet and treated with MNU had a higher incidence of colon tumors than did those fed the control diet or the diets containing pectin or wheat bran.

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 replacement therapy or taking the oral contraceptive pill.
3. It may cause stomach upset and diarrhea
4. The herb may induce lupus erythematosu due to its chemical constituent L-canavanine.

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Back to Herbal Therapy

(1) Double-edged sword effect of biochanin to inhibit nuclear factor kappaB: suppression of serine/threonine and tyrosine kinases. by Manna SK.(PubMed)
(2) The natural abundance of L-canavanine, an active anticancer agent, in alfalfa, medicago sativa (L.). by Rosenthal GA, Nkomo P.(PubMed)
(3) Effect of dietary alfalfa, pectin, and wheat bran on azoxymethane-or methylnitrosourea-induced colon carcinogenesis in F344 rats. by Watanabe K, Reddy BS, Weisburger JH, Kritchevsky D.(PubMed)
(4) Drug-induced lupus: an update by Vasoo S.(PubMed)