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Alfalfa

Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Alfalfa (Medicago sativa). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 - Contraindications: Anyone with an autoimmune problem. The canavanine in alfalfa may reactivate this disease in some people who are in remission. Alfalfa has been known to aggravate lupus and other autoimmune disorders.

Warning 2 - Oral Contraceptives: When used with birth control pills, alfalfa may decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. Check with your doctor before using alfalfa as a supplement.

Warning 3 - Anticoagulants: The use of alfalfa supplement with anticoagulants such as Warfarin may prolong bleeding.

Warning 4 - Antidiabetics: Alfalfa may potentiate hypoglycemic action.

Warning 5 - Iron salts: May interfere with the absorption of iron salts.

Warning 6 - Eating large amounts of alfalfa seed: has been documented to bring about the conditions of pancytopenia (decreased production of red and white blood cells) and systemic lupus erythematosus (an autoimmune disorder in some people.

Warning 7 - Estrogens: Alfalfa may alter the action of estorgens. Consult with your doctor before using alfalfa if you take any medication that contains estrogens.

Warning 8 - Photosensitivity: Alfalfa contains a protein substance called canavanine, which may increase your sensitivity to sunlight. When taking alfalfa with certain medications, this risk is even greater.

Used as a natural health remedy: Alfalfa is used internally for the following benefits and conditions:
  • Aids in the assimilation of protein, fats, and carbohydrates
  • Alkalizes the body pH
  • Blood purifier
  • Helps eliminate retained water
  • Helps eliminate toxic chemicals and heavy metals (lead, aluminum, mercury, etc.) from the body.
  • Immune system stimulant
  • Lower LDL Cholesterol
  • Menopause-related problems, especially hot flashes
  • Natural deodorizer
  • Prevents Atherosclerosis
  • Promotes normal blood clotting
  • Promotes regularity
  • Reduce constipation
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Treating Ulcers
  • Urinary Tract infections

Side Effects of Alfalfa

The known side effects of using Alfalfa include:
  1. Excessive gas
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Stomach upset
Discontinue use and inform your healthcare provider if these side effects do not go away. Other side effects may also occur when using Alfalfa. (See form below)

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

Return to the Herb List.

For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright 2011-2012 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report on Alfalfa and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
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