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Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Health Effects of Herbal Alfalfa


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.

Ingredients
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.

1. The Benefits of Alfalfa as an Antioxidant
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.

References
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)
(4) Drug-induced lupus: an update by Vasoo S.(PubMed)


2. Alfalfa and cholesterol
Cholesterol is needed for our body to build cell walls, make hormones and vitamin D, and create bile salts that help you digest fat. However too much of it can be dangerous because cholesterol cannot dissolve in your blood. The special particle called lipoprotein moves this waxy, soft substance from place to place. If you have too much low density lipoprotein LDL that is known as bad cholesterol, overtime cholesterol can build up in your arterial walls causing blockage and leading to heart attack and stroke.

Effects of Alfalfa in cholesterol
In the study of 15 patients with hyperlipoproteinemia who were given 40 g of heat prepared alfalfa seeds 3 times daily at mealtimes for 8 weeks with otherwise unchanged diet, the herb shows in lowering of pretreatment median values of total plasma cholesterol from 9.58 to 8.00 mmol/l (P less than 0.001) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol decreases of 17% and 18%, respectively. Other study also indicated that the constituents of  soysaponin I (I), azukisaponin V (II) found in Alfalfa might process the potential in treating high bloof cjolesterol. In animal study, hen fed with aqueous alfalfa extract (AAE) shows to lower serum low and high density lipoprotein cholesterol, serum total triglycerides and liver cholesterol concentration (day 42), lipid indices in yolk, serum and liver.

References
(1) Alfalfa seeds lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B concentrations in patients with type II hyperlipoproteinemia. by Mölgaard J, von Schenck H, Olsson AG.(PubMed)
(2) [Study on the chemical constituents from the aerial parts of Medicago sativa and their hypolipidemic activity].[Article in Chinese] by Yu CH, Liang DL, Guo JN, Mei QX, Yang DP.(PubMed)
(3) Effects of an aqueous alfalfa extract on production performance, egg quality and lipid metabolism of laying hens by Deng W, Dong XF, Tong JM, Xie TH, Zhang Q.(PubMed)
(4) Drug-induced lupus: an update by Vasoo S.(PubMed)

3. Alfalfa and diabetes
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.

The effects of Alfalfa in diabetes
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 in in 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.

References
(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)


4. Alfalfa and Cancers
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.

The effects of Alfalfa in Cancers
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.

References
(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)


 5. Alfalfa  and cardiovascular diseases
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.
Beside cancer, heart disease kills more than 2,000 Americans everyday. Approximately 60 million Americans have heart disease.  Most of heart diseases are caused by high blood pressure contributes to hardening of the arteries. High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) build up in the arteries as a result of uncontrolled diet with high levels of saturated fat and trans fat. All these add to the formation of atherosclerosis lesions and eventually arterial blockage or anything that serves to damage the inner lining of blood vessels and impedes the transportation of oxygen and nutrition to the heart can be defined as a risk of heart disease.

The benefits
Legumes, including alfalfa, are an important component of the human diet in many ares of the world, including developing countries. Higher legume consumption contributes to the nutritional quality and their potential to reduce cardiometabolic risk. Phytoestrogen and saponin, the chemical constituents found to be useful in preventing cardiovascular disorders in other study. In animal study, feeding Alfalfa seed extract to chicks has been resulted in significant reduction of total cholesterol, phospholipid, triglyceride, LDL-Cholesterol and VLDL-cholesterol of that reduce the risk of heart diseases.

References
(1) Nutritional quality of legumes, and their role in cardiometabolic risk prevention: a review.

(2) Effects of alfalfa on lipoproteins and fatty streak formation in hypercholesterolemic rabbits.
(3) Antiatherosclerotic effects of alfalfa meal ingestion in chicks: a biochemical evaluation.
(4) Drug-induced lupus: an update by Vasoo S.(PubMed)
 
6. Alfalfa and Menopausal Symptoms
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.
Menopause is the defined as a condition in which a woman is in the transition stage of permanent cessation of the ovaries functions in egg production because of less production of estrogen and progesterone, signalling the end of the reproductive phrase a woman's life. In menopause, menstruation has become irregular and slowly stop overtime, but in some women, menstrual flow comes to a sudden halt.
The benefits
In the study of an extracts of the leaves of Salvia officinalis (sage) and Medicago sativa (alfalfa) in manage of menopausal symptoms include hot flushes, insomnia, nocturnal sweating, dizziness, headaches and palpitations, found that hot flushes and night sweating completely disappeared in 20 women: four women showed good improvement and the other six showed a reduction in symptoms. Phytoestrogens include isoflavones, coumestans, and lignans, found abundantly in alfalfa sprouts, have found to play an important role in prevention of menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease.
 
References 
(1) [Treatment of neurovegetative menopausal symptoms with a phytotherapeutic agent].[Article in Italian], by De Leo V, Lanzetta D, Cazzavacca R, Morgante G.(PubMed)
(2) Dietary phytoestrogens by Kurzer MS, Xu X.(PubMed)
(3) Drug-induced lupus: an update by Vasoo S.(PubMed)


7. Alfalfa and Estrogenic effects
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.
Breast cancer (malignant breast neoplasm) is a cancer that starts in the tissues of the breast either from the inner lining of milk ducts (Ductal carcinoma) or the lobules (Lobular carcinoma) that supply the ducts with milk. there is also rare cases that breast cancer starts in other areas of the breast. In 2010, over 250,000 new cases of breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. alone and the risk of getting invasive breast cancer during life time of a women is 1/8.

The benefits
Alfalfa, as an Estrogenic botanical supplements may be used ot relieve symptoms of  sleep interruption, according to the study of health-related quality of life, fatigue, and hormone-related symptoms in breast cancer survivors. Menopausal symptoms, primarily hot flashes, affects approximately two thirds of menopausal and post menopausal women, botanicals and dietary supplement (BDS), Coumestrol, a phytoestrogenic compound in alfalfa, found to block physiological estrogen-induced tumor cell growth in vitro and can also stimulate growth at high dietary concentrations in the absence of endogenous estrogens; these actions are correlated to its entrogenic and antiestrogenic response patterns.

References
(1) Drug-induced lupus: an update by Vasoo S.(PubMed)
(2) Estrogenic botanical supplements, health-related quality of life, fatigue, and hormone-related symptoms in breast cancer survivors: a HEAL study report by Ma H, Sullivan-Halley J, Smith AW, Neuhouser ML, Alfano CM, Meeske K, George SM, McTiernan A, McKean-Cowdin R, Baumgartner KB, Ballard-Barbash R, Bernstein L.(PubMed)
(3) Proliferative and anti-proliferative effects of dietary levels of phytoestrogens in rat pituitary GH3/B6/F10 cells - the involvement of rapidly activated kinases and caspases by Jeng YJ, Watson CS.(PubMed)


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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.