Tag Archives: Lusan

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

Latin Name Medicago sativa
Sanskrit Name Alfalfa, Vilaayatigawuth, Lasunghaas
English Name Alfalfa, Lucerne
Common Name Barsem, Lusan
 

 

Phytochemistry:

The herb contains carotinoids (including lutein), triterpene saponins, isoflavonoids coumarins, triterpenes (including sitgmasterol, spinasterol); also cyanogenic glycosides (corresponding to less than 80 mg HCN/ 100 g); pro-vitamins A, B6, B12, D, K, E and P; calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, magnesium, choline, sodium, silicon and essential enzymes. The seeds contain 33.2%protein and 4.4% mineral matter; saponins with the aglycones, soyasapogenol B and E and polymines, diaminopropane and norspermine. Two storage globulins, alfin and medicagin are found in the seeds. The flowers contain flavonoids, kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin and laricytrin. The fruits contain betaamyrin, alpha- and beta-spinasterol, beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, myrsellinol, scopoletin and esculetin. The saponin, medicagenic acid, is found in leaves and roots (leaves 1.49%, roots 2.43% of dry matter) .
Alfalfa is a natural rejuvenator & known As a Father of All Foods. It is one of the best sources for protein Fibre vitamin A, C, D, E, K, P & B complex, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin and Minerals calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, magnesium, choline, sodium, silicon and essential digestive enzymes and Amino acids.

Alfalfa contains vitamin A, E, K, B and D. It also contains phosphorus, iron, potassium, chlorine, sodium, magnesium and many additional trace elements. Alfalfa has eight known enzymes that promote chemical reactions that enable food to be assimilated properly within the body. It has also been reported to raise the basic nitrogen exchange. This, plus its stimulating properties, makes alfalfa a unique tonic.
Pharmacological Actions:

It is anticholesterolemic.
Medicinal Use:

It is rich in essential enzymes, minerals and vitamins, a preventive of high blood pressure, diabetes, peptic ulcer, to strengthen the digestive system. Alfalfa seed extracts prevented hypercholesterolemia, triglyceridaemia and atherogenesis in cholesterol-fed rabbits and cynomologus monkeys.
The saponins in the extract reduce intestinal absorption of cholesterol in rabbits. Human trials have indicated the use of the herb in menopause.

It contains 4-Amino-Butyric-Acid, Trimethylamine, Tryptophan, Amylase, Adenine, Adenosine, Guanine, Guanosine, Ribose, Saponin and Tannin. Because of its deep root system, alfalfa is a rich source of the minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, Manganese and trace minerals. Specifically, it is one of the best sources for protein and is very high in chlorophyll, carotene, Niacin, Choline, Octacosanol, Peroxidase, Protein, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Alpha-Tocopherol, Vitamin-E, Vitamin-K, Xanthophylls, Hypoxanthine, Xylose, Zeaxanthin A, vitamin D and several digestive enzymes. This may be why it is said to help reconstitute bone and is beneficial for rickets. Research suggests that it may inactivate dietary chemical carcinogens in the liver and small intestine before they have a chance to do the body any harm. It is used for bladder infections, fatigue or muscle tenderness. It is also used to reduce the pain and inflammation of rheumatism and arthritis. Alfalfa is used as an appetite stimulant, a vitality augmenter (tonic), a digestive stimulant, for insomnia, and to relax the nervous system.

Because of a long root system which absorbs abundant minerals, alfalfa is very high in minerals and vitamins, particularly iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, trace minerals and vitamin K. It helps to remove toxins and neutralizes acids. It is good for anemia, menopause, arthritis, gout, stabilizing blood sugar levels, balancing the pituitary gland, and detoxifying the blood and kidneys. Alfalfa helps soothe ulcers, the liver and acts as a heart tonic. It helps with estrogen production and morning sickness. It has in it a natural fluoride and is a mild diuretic. Alfalfa may be used for reducing fevers and rheumatism and has a mild laxative effect. It is good for cystitis or an inflamed bladder and relief from bloating and water retention.

The leaves are rich in vitamin K which is used medicinally to encourage the clotting of blood. This is valuable in the treatment of jaundice.

Alfalfa leaves, either fresh or dried, have traditionally been used as a nutritive tonic to stimulate the appetite and promote weight gain.
Clinical / experimental study:

Alfalfa appears to lower total cholesterol, triglycerides, low density lipoproteins, (LDL) and very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) while not significantly lowering desirable HDL. This leads to a significant reduction of the total cholesterol/HDL ratios, one of the major predictors of cardiovascular risk. This action appears to be due to the reduced intestinal absorption of both endogenous and exogenous cholesterol.

Alfalfa leaves contain approximately 2–3% saponins. Animal studies suggest that these constituents block absorption of cholesterol and prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.

One small human trial found that 120 grams per day of heat-treated alfalfa seeds for eight weeks led to a modest reduction in cholesterol.

Cholesterol reduction

Alfalfa plant saponins and fiber bind significant quantities of cholesterol in vitro; sprout saponins interact to a lesser degree. In vitro bile acid adsorption is greatest for the whole alfalfa plant, and this activity is not reduced by the removal of saponins from the plant material.

Several studies indicate that the ingestion of alfalfa reduces cholesterol absorption and atherosclerotic plaque formation in animals1. In 1 study, the ability of alfalfa to reduce liver cholesterol accumulation in cholesterol-fed rats was enhanced by the removal of saponins. Therefore, alfalfa plant saponins appear to play an important role in neutral steroid excretion, but are not essential for increasing bile acid excretion. In a study with prairie dogs, the lowest incidence of cholesterol gallstones was obtained with the diet of the higher fiber content (85% alfalfa).

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