Alfalfa: How It’s Healthy and Harmful

Alfalfa: How It’s Healthy and Harmful

Other plants pale in comparison to alfalfa in terms of the variety and potency of nutrients and minerals they are able to deliver to the body when consumed.  Alfalfa has unusually long roots that reach sometimes up to 30 feet into the Earth, absorbing all of the nutrients in the surrounding soil.  To list a few of the more important vitamins and minerals: Vitamins A, B1, B6, C, E, and K; protein, potassium, and calcium; and carotene, zinc, and iron.

 Needless to say, alfalfa is incredibly healthy for the human body.  Its range of benefits spans quite wide and includes the ability to treat many serious health conditions as well.  Even further, it can be used topically to treat boils, blisters, burns, and cuts.  It has been used as a holistic medicine by herbalists in traditional Chinese medical practice for centuries.

Prevent Cancer

 Consuming alfalfa regularly has been shown to aid in the prevention of cancer.  The herb collects and contains any carcinogenic substances on its way through the digestive system (most notably the colon).  It is then safely expelled as a waste before they have a chance to affect the body.

Heart Related Conditions

Buildup of LDL cholesterol (known simply as “bad cholesterol”) can cause various problems in the body, including overproduction of gallstones and the onset of heart disease.  It does this by latching on to the particles, creating a coating that allows them to safely pass through the bloodstream instead of collecting on the walls of the arteries in the form of plaque.  Alfalfa does not affect HDL cholesterol, which is used by the body to break down and expel LDL cholesterol.  Blocked arteries can also cause strokes.

 

Aid as a Diuretic

For those who have trouble urinating at a regular frequency, alfalfa can act as a diuretic.  It is also capable of treating edema, which is a condition that causes great amounts of water to be retained in the body.  Alfalfa tea in particular is great for this as it filters into the bloodstream more quickly.

Asthmatic Relief

Various respiratory conditions can be relieved by by alfalfa seeds.  Asthma is one of the primary conditions treated in traditional medicine using these seeds.

Replenish Vitamin K

Much of the medicine prescribed by doctors, including antibiotics and cholesterol regulating medication, greatly diminish the levels of Vitamin K in the body.  Low levels of this vitamin result in buildup of calcium and low bone density.  Simply drinking a cup or two of alfalfa tea or taking one supplement every day will restore a sufficient amount of Vitamin K for most individuals.

 

Potential Side Effects of Alfalfa

Different people experience different effects and intensities when using any product.  Biological differences and allergies can account for this.  Especially for those who have an allergic reaction, alfalfa can bring about some unwanted negative effects.

Particularly, anyone with lupus must avoid alfalfa at all costs.  The amino acid canavanine is present in the seeds and roots of the plant; this substance intensifies the problems associated with lupus and may greatly speed up its progression.  Pregnant or nursing women are similarly advised to stay away from alfalfa; at worst, it may cause a miscarriage during pregnancy.

 Aside from these two scenarios, a few issues may occur.  Firstly, it may lower the body’s blood glucose levels.  For diabetics or anyone already taking something with a similar effect, this could prove extremely dangerous.  Second, alfalfa may cause skin sensitivity when exposed to sunlight.  Sunblock should absolutely be worn, even for short outings, if alfalfa is a regular or semi-regular part of your diet or supplement regimen.  Finally, this herb may affect the body’s red blood cells in a negative way.

 As with all herbs, supplements, and medicines, be sure to contact your doctor for information and advice tailored specifically to your body’s individual needs.

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Sagar is co-founder and CTO at Multia, a leading creative agency in Pune. He started his venture when he was 16, he has won numerous international and national web development competitions and has worked on 100+ web, mobile and online marketing projects. He’s a globe-trotter and has traveled to San Francisco, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dubai, Jakarta and Bali Islands.
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