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Dr. Leung says "My thinking has changed and I no longer trust research findings on botanicals unless... "
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Alfalfa - Not Just Sprouts

Did you know that alfalfa is used for more than just sprouts?

Alfalfa, or Medicago sativa L. (Family Leguminosae) has diuretic, tonic, and appetizing properties. The parts used are leaves and flowering tops. It is traditionally used to promote appetite and weight gain, to stop bleeding, or to treat badder infections and fluid retention.

Alfalfa is rich in nutrients including proteins, antioxidant flavonoids, vitamins (A, B2, B6, B12, C, E, and K), amino acids, minerals, sterols, and fibers. It also contains saponin glycosides and coumarins. It is one of the commerical sources for chlorophyll production and is also a source for leaf protein production. Its extracts are used as flavor ingredients in many processed foods.

The popularity of alfalfa is quite recent, perhaps only a couple of decades. Although much chemical and pharmacological research has been performed on alfalfa, there is still no clear-cut evidence to support the benefits of alfalfa's advocated medical uses in humans. In addition, there is preliminary evidence that ingestion of large quantities of alfalfa (especially seeds or sprouts) may produce blood abnormalities and reactivate systemic lupus erythematosus in persons in whom this condition has been clinically inactive. Nevertheless, alfalfa does contain a wide variety of nutrients (both conventional and non-conventional) and ingestion of its leaves and sprouts in moderation can be quite nutritious. One thing to bear in mind is that nothing is absolutely safe, especially if done in excess. Also, it is your body, you know it best. Continue to listen to it.

Dr. Albert Leung’s book, Better Health with (mostly) Chinese Herbs and Food discusses the use of 60 different herbs as healing foods, including alfalfa on page 1.

For more information about Dr. Leung and his writings, visit http://www.earthpower.com/.

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