For centuries, healers have turned to the alfalfa plant as a naturopathic treatment for several common ailments. Although alfalfa supplements have been the subject of only limited scientific inquiry, preliminary evidence suggests that it can help prevent or treat several diseases and conditions. Aqueous and ethanol-based extracts of alfalfa offer a concentrated source of the plant’s natural medicinal compounds. Consult your health care provider before using any nutritional supplement to treat a medical condition.
Alfalfa extract offers a concentrated source of several micronutrients, or vitamins and minerals. According to NutritionData, an online service provided by “Self” magazine, sprouted alfalfa seeds are an excellent source of vitamin K, which is essential for normal platelet function. Alfalfa extract also contains six B-vitamins, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Because of alfalfa extract’s high vitamin K content, it is not an appropriate supplement for people taking anticoagulants such as warfarin.
According to the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, compounds in alfalfa may help reduce low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol levels, without impacting “good” cholesterol. The NIH also reports that alfalfa reduces cholesterol plaques in the arteries of the heart, a serious condition known as atherosclerosis. Although preliminary evidence is encouraging, the NIH notes that there is insufficient evidence to conclusively prove alfalfa extract’s benefits for treating high cholesterol. Do not stop taking any cholesterol-controlling medication unless your doctor instructs you to do so.