viz. Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Kashmir and other
countries approached from northwest. It is found all
An erect perennial herb with deep roots. Stem 30-60 cm
high. Leaves are narrowly ovate. Flowers are violet in
color and fruit is spirally twisted with 2-3 turns.
Whole plant excluding root.
Pharmacological action: Alterative, diuretic,
antipyretic, haemostatic. The plant is anti scorbutic,
aperient's, ecbolic, and haemostatic, nutritive,
stimulant and tonic. The expressed juice is emetic and
is also anodyne in the treatment of gravel. Tonic, anti
fungal, laxative, detoxifier, anti-inflammatory,
febrifuge, hepatoprotective, digestive, nutritive.
Actions and uses in ayurveda
Ancient ayurvedic physicians use alfalfa to treat
ulcers, arthritis and fluid retention. Chinese used it
to stimulate appetite and treat digestive troubles
particularly ulcers. Early Americans used alfalfa to
treat arthritis, boils, cancer, scurvy and urinary-bowel
it contains upto 50% protein, and has good quantity of
beta-carotene, chlorophyll and octacosanol. Other
ingredients are: saponin, sterols, flavonoids, coumarins,
alkaloids, acids, vitamin (A, B1, B6, B12, C, D, E, K,
niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid), amino
acids, sugar, minerals (calcium, potassium, phosphorous,
magnesium, zinc, iron, copper), trace elements and other
nutrients. Whole alfalfa has been applied to the ear in
the treatment of earache. The leaves can be used fresh
or dried. 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. The plant
is grown commercially as a source of chlorophyll and
carotene, both of which have proven health benefits. The
leaves also contain the anti-oxidant tricin. The root is
febrifuge and is also prescribed in cases of highly
coloured urine. Extracts of the plant are antibacterial.
The plant is a kidney tonic, prostatic tonic,
reproductive tonic, musculoskeletal tonic, glandular
tonic and so forth. It also contains plenty of fiber
with anticholesterolemic properties.
Leaves (Fresh weight)- Water: 82.7 Calories: 52 Protein:
6 Fat: 0.4 Carbohydrate: 9.5 Fiber: 3.1 Ash: 1.4
Calcium: 12 Phosphorus: 51 Iron: 5.4 Vitamin A: 3410
Thiamine: 0.13 Riboflavin: 0.14 Niacin: 0.5 Vitamin C:
The plant is taken internally for debility in
convalescence or anaemia, hemorrhage, menopausal
complaints, premenstrual tension, fibroids etc. A
poultice of the heated leaves
powder and decoction.
Therapeutic classification index
- Blood and haemopoeitic tissue: High concentration
of vitamin K has beneficial effect on several kinds of
- Cardiovascular system: it helps to prevent heart
disease and strokes. It inhibits increase in blood
cholesterol levels by 25% in experimental animal fed
on high cholesterol diet.
- Nutrition and metabolism: Alfalfa has an extremely
high nutritive value, which includes vitamins A, B1,
B6, B12, C, D, E and K, niacin, pantothenic acid,
biotin, folic acid, minerals, protein, beneficial
saponin, amino acid, tracer elements (calcium,
phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and
copper). It contains several saponin, sterols,
flavonoids, cournarins, alkaloids, acids, vitamins,
amino acids, sugar, proteins (25% by weight),
minerals, trace elements and other nutrients. Overall
it is the most nutritious food known. High
concentration of vitamin K is found in alfalfa. It is
also a rich fibrous plant. Alfalfa it self means
"father of all food." It has been seen that diabetic
patients that fail to respond to insulin improve on
- Genito- urinary system: it has been investigated
in the laboratory as a source of plant estrogen, which
might make it helpful for menopause. It is used as a
Musculoskeletal system: it is successfully used
for symptomatic arthritis.
- Immunity system: It has anti fungal, anti
bacterial, anti tumoral properties. The saponin in
alfalfa has shown anti fungal properties. The aqueous
extracts are antibacterial against gram-negative
Presence of Phytoestrogens in
One of the most promising new uses for Medicago
appears to be in the treatment of endocrine imbalance.
Investigators were able to identify several hormonally
active compounds in Medicago, the most important group
of these being the phytoestrogens. These compounds are
not true estrogens, yet they possess molecular
structures similar enough to estrogen to bind to
estradiol receptors. Medicago contains three major
phytoestrogens: coumestrol, genistein and formonetin;
and two less important ones, diadzein and biochanin A.
Most phytoestrogens are isoflavones, while coumestrol
is a coumarin derivative. Although all lack a true
steroid structure, they do have at least one phenol
ring and free hydroxyl groups in positions 7 and 12.
Coumestrol is the most hormonally active of the group,
with a relative estrogenic activity 5% that of
estradiol. This is followed by genistein with 1% and
formonetin with .01% activity. The relative weakness
of their estrogenic action means that these compounds
will have an "alterative" or "balancing" effect.
phytoestrogens may be used therapeutically in both
hypoestrogenism and hyperestrogenism states. It is
precisely this quality that makes them so useful
therapeutically, especially in a naturopathic setting.
In conditions of hypoestrogenism the plant estrogens
will bind directly to estrogen receptors and provide a
mild estrogenic effect. This is enhanced by the
tendency of the phytoestrogens to concentrate in
reproductive tissues, in preference to the serum
In conditions of hyperestrogenism the relatively
weak-acting phytoestrogens will compete for binding
sites, thus reducing the number of receptors available
to the stronger endogenous estrogens and reducing net
estrogenic stimulation. This is most useful in
estrogen excess conditions such as premenstrual
syndrome, fibrocystic breasts, uterine leiyomyomas,
and estrogen-responsive cancers of the breast and
Alfalfa in hypothyroidism
Medicago contains an additional compound with
thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) activity. This TRH
analog is biologically active, probably via the
hypothalmus rather than the pituitary, and has the
additional effect of inhibiting prolactin release.
These findings would suggest that Medicago extracts
could be potentially therapeutic in the treatment of
secondary hypothyroidism and conditions of prolactin
excess such as polycystic ovaries.
Jackson I. Abundance of immunoreactive thytropin
releasing hormone-like material in the alfalfa plant.
Endocrinology 1981; 108; 344
Effect of alfalfa on muscles Flavone, tricin, has the
ability to relax smooth muscle. It is poorly absorbed
from the gastrointestinal tract and would thus be
primarily useful in conditions of GI cramping or
Use of alfalfa in managing cholesterol All parts of
the plant have been used in one or more studies, and
in each study the component tested, whether it be the
seeds, the roots or the meal, has demonstrated
anticholesterolemic and anti-atherogenic activity.
Alfalfa meal appears to lower total cholesterol,
triglycerides, low-density lipoproteins, (LDL) and
very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) while not
significantly lowering the desirable HDL sub
Alfalfa as a rejuvenator People have used alfalfa for
centuries worldwide for overall support and
rejuvenation. Because of its deep root system, alfalfa
is a rich source of the minerals calcium, magnesium,
phosphorous, iron, potassium, and trace minerals.
Specifically, it is one of the best sources for
protein and is very high in chlorophyll, carotene, the
vitamins A, D, E, B-6, K, and several digestive
enzymes. This may be why it is said to help
reconstitute bone and when fresh, 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 commonly used for bladder infections.
Alfalfa is used as an appetite stimulant, a vitality
augmenter (tonic), a digestive stimulant, for
insomnia, and to relax the nervous system.
Dose: dried herb: 5-10 gms
Capsule Alfalfa contains pure powder of Alfalfa.
Dosage: one capsule twice a day.
Package 60 capsules
HPI page no.30
Dr.KM Nadkarni, The Indian Materia Medica, Vol.I, pg