Alfalfa sprouts appear on many salad bars and in the grocery's produce section. Bulk powdered herb or capsules and tablets containing alfalfa leaves or seeds are available in pharmacies and healthfood stores.
Finally, alfalfa has been proposed as a treatment for hay fever , but there is no scientific evidence that it is helpful for this purpose.
Alfalfa, in its various forms, may present some health risks. Powdered alfalfa herb, alfalfa sprouts, and alfalfa seeds all contain L-cavanine, a substance that may cause abnormal blood cell counts, spleen enlargement, or recurrence of lupus in patients with controlled disease. However, heating alfalfa may correct this problem.
At present, it seems prudent that people who have been diagnosed with lupus, or those who suspect a predisposition to it based on family history, should probably avoid alfalfa. This includes the tablets used for supplements and the sprouts on the salad bar (go for the lettuce or the spinach instead).
Because of the estrogenic effects of some of alfalfa's components, alfalfa is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women or young children. In addition, the high vitamin K content in alfalfa could, in theory, make the drug warfarin (Coumadin) less effective.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking warfarin (Coumadin): the high vitamin K content of alfalfa might make it less effective.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 07/2012 -
- Update Date: 07/25/2012 -