Medicago sativa / Luzerne

Alfalfa, luzerne of Medicago sativa
Alfalfa, luzerne, medicago sativa. Een klaverplant die op verschillende manieren gebruikt wordt. De gedroogde groene plant als veevoer en als versterkend middel voor de mens, de gekiemde zaden bekend onder de naam alfalfa als gezondheidsvoedsel in salades en op de boterham en ook de zaadjes zelf zijn gemalen als voedingsupplement te gebruiken.

Etymologie van luzerne
Het woord 'luzerne' kan etymologisch op vele manieren verklaard worden. 'Lucerna' komt volgens sommige bronnen van het Latijn voor 'lamp' en zou dan verwijzen naar de heldere zaden van de plant of naar 'lucerno', glimworm. Andere bronnen vermelden dat het de naam 'luzerne' kreeg naar de Zwitserse plaats Luzern, waar het op de kalkrijke gronden goed gedijde, nog andere beweren dat het komt van 'lucre' = 'winst' en dat het slaat op de verhoogde melkgift bij vee door het eten van luzerne. Als diervoeding is het in elk geval ook nu nog populair.
Voor 'medicago' zijn er eveneens verschillende verklaringen: 'kruid van Media', een stad waar de de Meden vandaan kwamen of van 'medica', 'geneeskrachtig', of nog van 'medik', en wijst op de stad Medea, in Noord-Afrika.
'Alfalfa' is de Spaanse vorm van het Arabische 'al-fac-facah', wat 'vader van alle voedsel' betekent. Andere namen: alfalfa, buffalogras, eeuwige klaver, hanenkammetjes, hoge klaver, koegras, luzerne, rupsklaver, zevenjarige klaver

Inhoudstoffen van Medicago sativa (groene plant)
Alkaloïden (asparagine, trigonelline), cumarine, vitaminen, mineralen, fyto-oestrogenen (formometin, coumestrol), proteïnen incl. canaranine (amino acid), enzymen

Tonicum: algemeen versterkend
De gehele groene plant werkt algemeen versterkend. Luzerne en alfalfa zijn een stimulans, ze werken vitaliserend, opbouwend, ze zijn een tonicum voor de hypofyse en de schildklier, ze verhogen de TRH = thyreotropine releasing hormone, door het complex van vitaminen, mineralen en aminozuren. Dus: gebruik luzerne en alfalfa bij vermoeidheid, lusteloosheid, zwakte, energieverlies, prestatiezwakte, geheugenzwakte, geestelijke vermoeidheid en verminderde alertheid.
Het kruid werkt remineraliserend en opbouwend. Het is versterkend op huid, haar, nagels, kraakbeen en beenderen doordat er vitamines, mineralen, aminozuren en chlorofyl aanwezig zijn die de weefselgroei stimuleren.
De plant heeft ook een hoge voedingswaarde en bevordert daarbij ook nog de opname van mineralen, eiwitten en andere voedingsstoffen. Ze bevordert ook de melkproductie. Maak er gebruik van bij een verhoogde behoefte aan mineralen en vitaminen bijvoorbeeld voor kinderen in de groei, bij intensief sporten en als je zware inspanningen moet leveren.

Hormonaal: in de overgang

Luzerne en alfalfa remmen botafbraak na de menopauze door de aanwezige fyto-oestrogenen. Je kan de plant dus gebruiken bij slappe huid, bij wonden, bij afbrekende en gespleten haren, bij broze nagels. Ze is nuttig bij osteoporose, bij zwakke beenderen en bij kraakbeenslijtage. Ze regelt de vrouwelijke hormonen en is ze menstruatiebevorderend door de fyto-oestrogenen genisteïne, biocanine en coumestral en door de mineralenrijkdom. Gebruik ze dus bij menopauzale klachten: opvliegers, nachtzweten, vaginale droogte, postmenopauzale osteoporose, uitblijvende menstruatie, bij te hoge of te lage oestrogeenspiegel.

Cholesterolverlagend
Zijn cholesterolverlagende werking is nog het best wetenschappelijk onderbouwd. De kritische Natural Standard vermeldt o.a. dat 'Multiple animal studies have demonstrated cholesterol-lowering and triglyceride-lowering effects of alfalfa, possibly without effects on high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Saponins in alfalfa may decrease intestinal absorption and increase fecal excretion of cholesterol'.

Nog veel meer werkingen worden vermeld zoals bloedsuikerverlagend (suikerziekte), immuunmodulerend en schimmelwerend. toch lijken mij de belangrijkste toepassingen: bij zwakte, gebrek aan energie, in de overgang en bij een te hoog cholesterol.



Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) based on Natural Database

Alfalfa is a legume that has a long history of dietary and medicinal uses. A small number of animal and preliminary human studies report that alfalfa supplements may lower blood levels of cholesterol and glucose. However, most research has not been well-designed. Therefore, there is not enough reliable evidence available to form clear conclusions in these areas.

Alfalfa supplements taken by mouth appear to be generally well tolerated. However, ingestion of alfalfa tablets has been associated with reports of a lupus-like syndrome or lupus flares. These reactions may be due to the amino acid L-canavanine, which appears to be present in alfalfa seeds and sprouts, but not in the leaves. There are also rare cases of pancytopenia (low blood counts), dermatitis (skin inflammation), and gastrointestinal upset.

Scientific Evidence
Uses
Atherosclerosis (cholesterol plaques in heart arteries) C grade
Several studies in animals report reductions in cholesterol plaques of the arteries after use of alfalfa. Well-designed research in humans is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn.

Diabetes C grade
A small number of animal studies report reductions in blood sugar levels following ingestion of alfalfa. Human data are limited, and it remains unclear if alfalfa can aid in the control of sugars in patients with diabetes or hyperglycemia.

High cholesterol C
Reductions in blood levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein ("bad cholesterol") have been reported in animal studies and in a small number of human cases. High-density lipoprotein ("good cholesterol") has not been altered in these cases. Although this evidence is promising, better research is needed before a firm conclusion can be reached.

*Key to grades:
A: Strong scientific evidence for this use;
B: Good scientific evidence for this use; 
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use;
D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work);
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).

Tradition
Allergies, antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, appetite stimulant, asthma, bladder disorders, blood clotting disorders, boils, breast cancer, cervical cancer, cough, diuresis (increased urination), estrogen replacement, gastrointestinal tract disorders, gum healing after dental procedures, increasing breast milk, indigestion, inflammation, insect bites, jaundice, kidney disorders, menopausal symptoms, nutritional support, peptic ulcer disease, prostate disorders, radiotherapy induced skin damage, rheumatoid arthritis, scurvy, skin damage from radiation, stomach ulcers, thrombocytopenic purpura, uterine stimulant, vitamin supplementation (vitamins A,C,E,K), wound healing.

Dosing
Adults (18 years and older)
  • A dose of 5-10 grams of dried herb three times daily has been taken by mouth.
  • Two tablets (1 gram each) of Cholestaid® (esterin processed alfalfa) taken by mouth three times daily for up to two months, then 1 tablet three times daily, has been recommended by the manufacturer.
  • A dose of 5 to 10 milliliters (one to two teaspoonfuls) of a 1:1 solution in 25% alcohol three times daily has been taken by mouth.
  • For treating high cholesterol, 40 grams of heated seeds prepared three times daily with food has been taken by mouth.
Children (younger than 18 years)
Alfalfa supplements in children are not recommended due to potential side effects.

References
Anon. From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection associated with eating alfalfa sprouts--Michigan and Virginia, June-July 1997. JAMA 9-10-1997;278(10):809-810. View Abstract
Bengtsson AA, Rylander L, Hagmar L, et al. Risk factors for developing systemic lupus erythematosus: a case-control study in southern Sweden. Rheumatology (Oxford) 2002;41(5):563-571. View Abstract
Boue SM, Wiese TE, Nehls S, et al. Evaluation of the estrogenic effects of legume extracts containing phytoestrogens. J Agric Food Chem 4-9-2003;51(8):2193-2199. View Abstract
Burden and causes of foodborne disease in Australia: Annual report of the OzFoodNet network, 2005. Commun Dis Intell 2006;30(3):278-300. View Abstract
Farnsworth NR. Alfalfa pills and autoimmune diseases. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;62(5):1026-1028. View Abstract
Hwang J, Hodis HN, Sevanian A. Soy and alfalfa phytoestrogen extracts become potent low-density lipoprotein antioxidants in the presence of acerola cherry extract. J Agric Food Chem 2001;49(1):308-314. View Abstract
Lanza A, Tava A, Catalano M, et al. Effects of the Medicago scutellata trypsin inhibitor (MsTI) on cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity in human breast and cervical cancer cells. Anticancer Res 2004;24(1):227-233. View Abstract
Malinow MR, McLaughlin P, Naito HK, et al. Regression of atherosclerosis during cholesterol feeding in Macaca fascicularis. Am J Cardiol 1978;41:396.
Malinow MR, McLaughlin P, Naito HK, et al. Effect of alfalfa meal on shrinkage (regression) of atherosclerotic plaques during cholesterol feeding in monkeys. Atherosclerosis 1978;30(1):27-43. View Abstract
Malinow MR, McLaughlin P, Stafford C. Alfalfa seeds: effects on cholesterol metabolism. Experientia 5-15-1980;36(5):562-564. View Abstract
Malinow MR, Bardana EJ Jr, Goodnight SH Jr. Pancytopenia during ingestion of alfalfa seeds. Lancet 3-14-1981;1(8220 Pt 1):615. View Abstract
Molgaard J, von Schenck H, Olsson AG. Alfalfa seeds lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B concentrations in patients with type II hyperlipoproteinemia. Atherosclerosis 1987;65(1-2):173-179. View Abstract
Srinivasan SR, Patton D, Radhakrishnamurthy B, et al. Lipid changes in atherosclerotic aortas of Macaca fascicularis after various regression regimens. Atherosclerosis 1980;37(4):591-601. View Abstract
Swanston-Flatt SK, Day C, Bailey CJ, et al. Traditional plant treatments for diabetes. Studies in normal and streptozotocin diabetic mice. Diabetologia 1990;33(8):462-464. View Abstract
Van Beneden CA, Keene WE, Strang RA, et al. Multinational outbreak of Salmonella enterica serotype Newport infections due to contaminated alfalfa sprouts. JAMA 1-13-1999;281(2):158-162. View Abstract



Pharmaceutical Biology Volume 49, Issue 2, 2011
Phytochemical and pharmacological potential of Medicago sativa: A review
DOI:10.3109/13880209.2010.504732
Kundan Singh Bora*a & Anupam Sharmab
pages 211-220 Published online: 25 Oct 2010

Context: Many herbal remedies have so far been employed for the treatment and management of various ailments since the beginning of human civilization. Medicago is an extensive genus of the family Leguminosae, comprising about 83 different species. Medicago sativa (Linn.) has long been used as traditional herbal medicine in China, Iraq, Turkey, India and America for the treatment of a variety of ailments.
Objectives: The aim of this review was to collect all available scientific literature published and combine it into this review. The present review comprises the ethnopharmacological, phytochemical and therapeutic potential of M. sativa.
Methods: The present review includes 117 references compiled from major databases as Chemical Abstracts, Science Direct, SciFinder, PubMed, Dr. Dukes Phytochemical and Ethnobotany, CIMER, and InteliHealth.
Results: An exhaustive survey of literature revealed that saponins, flavonoids, phytoestrogens, coumarins, alkaloids, amino acids, phytosterols, vitamins, digestive enzymes and terpenes constitute major classes of phytoconstituents of this plant. Pharmacological reports revealed that it is used as neuroprotective, hypocholesterolemic, antioxidant, antiulcer, antimicrobial, hypolipidemic, estrogenic, and in the treatment of atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and menopausal symptoms in women.

Conclusion: M. sativa seems to hold great potential for in-depth investigation for various biological activities, especially their effects on central nervous and cardiovascular system. Through this review, the authors hope to attract the attention of natural product researchers throughout the world to focus on the unexplored potential of M. sativa, and it may be useful in developing new formulations with more therapeutic value.

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