Friday, 3 January 2014

Herbal Alfalfa and diabetes

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.
Diabetes is defined as a condition caused by insufficient insulin entering the bloodstream to regulate the glucose. It is either caused by cells in pancreas dying off or receptor sites clogged up by fat and cholesterol. In some cases, diabetes is also caused by allergic reactions of cells in the immune system.

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, Coumestrol, Diadzein, Formonetin, Genistein, coumarin derivatives, etc.

The benefits
herbal alfalfa has so far been used for the treatment and management of various ailments since the beginning of human civilization. In the review therapeutic potential of M. sativa, Sequential extraction of alfalfa with solvents revealed insulin-releasing activity in both methanol and water fractions. In other study of normal and streptozotocin diabetic mice, indicated that  certain traditional plant treatments for diabetes, including alfalfa retard the development of streptozotocin diabetes in mice. Regardless to the outcome, long-term multiple dietary supplement users consumed a broad array of vitamin/mineral, herbal, and condition-specific dietary supplements on a daily basis should consult with their doctors or related field specialist before applying.

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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(1) Pancreatic and extra-pancreatic effects of the traditional anti-diabetic plant, Medicago sativa (lucerne) by Gray AM, Flatt PR.(PubMed)
(2) Traditional plant treatments for diabetes. Studies in normal and streptozotocin diabetic mice. by Swanston-Flatt SK, Day C, Bailey CJ, Flatt PR.(PubMed)
(3) Drug-induced lupus: an update by Vasoo S.(PubMed)