What is Alfalfa Extract?
Alfalfa extract comes from the perennial plant, alfalfa. Like a lot of plants, it has a few different names. In the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, it’s called “lucerne.” In other parts of the world, it’s called “buffalo grass” and “purple medic.” Its scientific name is Medicago sativa (x). The legume is also considered an herb. Alfalfa sprouts resemble pea sprouts, which makes sense since they’re both members of the pea or Fabaceae family (x).
Where Does Alfalfa Grow?
Historians determine that people may have begun to cultivate the perennial plant about 6,000 years ago in modern-day Iran. It was introduced to Greece in 490 B.C. after the Persian invasion. Early Persians, Greeks and Romans used it to feed their war horses. According to the California Alfalfa and Forage Association, the name alfalfa “comes from Arabic, Persian… and Kashmiri words meaning ‘best horse fodder’ and ‘horsepower (x).’”
Spanish explorers and colonists first brought the plant to the Americas. The Association also states that alfalfa did not grow in the United States before 1849. But today it is a very important foraging crop that grows around the world (x). 23 million acres of the “Queen of Forages” grows in the U.S. alone. Missouri harvests more than 400,000 acres each year (x, x). It has a number of different uses—as animal feed, a medicinal herb and as an ingredient in tea. People also eat the sprouts or use alfalfa extract (x).
What are the Benefits of Alfalfa Extract?
What is alfalfa used for? Alfalfa has been part of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries (x). Dr. Richard E. Harris II, M.D. Pharm D, describes its historical benefits to treat boils, arthritis [and] asthma” as well as kidney, bladder and prostate issues. Dr. Harris is a board-certified pharmacist and internal medicine physician and founder of Great Health and Wellness.
- Metabolic health
- Women’s health
However, there is no medical evidence that alfalfa extract can cure, treat or prevent any disease or health condition. But research does support its potential benefits. Always consult your healthcare provider for diagnoses, accurate medical information and permission before taking any supplements.
Alfalfa sprouts contain a number of nutrients that may be responsible for its potential health benefits. It contains essential nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, copper, manganese and folate. It also has powerful bioactive plant compounds that may be beneficial to health (x, x):
Free radicals are unstable molecules that result from natural metabolic reactions or external factors like pollutants, UV radiation and tobacco smoke. Because they are unstable, they bond to stable molecules and can cause oxidative stress and cellular damage that can lead to disease. Antioxidants are compounds that can help combat oxidative stress (x).
Researchers claim that alfalfa sprouts may have compounds with antioxidant properties. Ayurvedic medicine—an Indian medical discipline—uses plant compounds with antioxidants to reduce the risk for disease from free radical damage (x, x). We recognize some of these compounds today.
For example, alfalfa contains flavonoids and according to Dr. Harris, “Flavonoids have significant antioxidant properties (as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties).” The plant also contains vitamin A and vitamin C, both of which have antioxidant properties (x).
Managing Cholesterol Levels
Dr. Harris reports that “25% of cholesterol in the body comes from exogenous intake [food].” Alfalfa’s saponin compounds bind to cholesterol in the body and may prevent the digestive system from absorbing some of it. According to research, this may help reduce the amount of LDL or unhealthy cholesterol in the blood (x, x, x).
Metabolic Health & Diabetes
According to research, dietary fiber can help reduce glucose levels in the blood. One study suggests that the fiber in alfalfa may help combat insulin resistance in the body. This may be useful in managing symptoms of diabetes (x, x).
Supporting Women’s Health
One of the phytoestrogens in alfalfa sprouts is coumestrol. It is so chemically similar to the estrogen hormone, that research suggests that it may help reduce premenstrual symptoms (PMS) and symptoms associated with menopause (x, x, x).
How to Take Alfalfa Extract Supplements
What are the benefits of alfalfa extract as opposed to consuming the sprouts? You get the same nutrients, true. But alfalfa supplements offer easy use and shelf stability and you don’t have to grow the plant! The recommended dosage for alfalfa extract powder is 1,200 mg up to three times per day with food. Always consult a doctor before taking any supplements.
Side Effects of Alfalfa Extract
Alfalfa extract is mostly safe to use in appropriate doses. However, people are not one-size-fits-all and the supplement may cause different side effects and reactions. Make sure to consult a doctor before you take alfalfa or any other product (x). For example, it may cause:
- Low blood sugar levels with diabetes
- Sensitivity to sunlight
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid using alfalfa supplements . It may cause uterine contractions in pregnant women.
Warnings & Safety Precautions
Patients with compromised immune systems or autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis should consult a doctor before taking alfalfa. The extract may increase immune system activity and worsen symptoms.
The phytoestrogens in alfalfa may mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Patients with hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis or uterine fibroids should consult a doctor.
Avoid the supplement if you’ve had a kidney transplant or kidney disease (x).
It may cause dangerous interactions with medications like warfarin, birth control pills, estrogen, antidiabetic drugs and immunosuppressants.
Again, consult your healthcare provider for diagnoses, accurate medical information and permission before taking any supplements.
Where to Buy Alfalfa Extract Supplements
You can purchase alfalfa extract supplements at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements. Bulksupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other brands that distribute food and other supplement products. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.
Are you interested in trying alfalfa leaf extract as a dietary supplement for its potential to regulate cholesterol, metabolic health, regulate hormones and reduce inflammation? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.
Alfalfa extract comes from the nutrient-rich alfalfa legume. The perennial plant has been around for centuries. Alfalfa is packed-full of B-vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin K. It’s also a rich source of minerals copper, manganese, iron and zinc and has loads of bioactive compounds to benefit health.
Studies suggest that alfalfa sprouts may have antioxidant properties to prevent free radical damage and reduce the risk for disease. It may be beneficial to blood sugar, cholesterol and women’s health. Although there is no medical evidence that alfalfa can completely cure, treat or prevent any disease or illness, it may benefit your health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.