Major therapeutic interest

  • Treating hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol levels);
  • Treating menopause-related disorders.


  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding;
  • Breast or ovarian cancer, or if close relatives have been diagnosed with hormone-dependent cancers as the isoflavones in alfalfa are phytoestrogens that can directly stimulate the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors;
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus: one case of reactivation has been reported in a patient after consuming alfalfa;
  • Autoimmune disease: symptoms may be aggravated;
  • Kidney transplant: rejection has been reported in a patient after consuming alfalfa and black cohosh supplements for three months;
  • Diabetes: Use carefully, with closely monitored blood glucose levels.

Drug Interactions

Suspected interactions

  • The vitamin K and coumarins contained in alfalfa exert strong, opposing coagulant and anticoagulant effects and thus may alter the effect of anticoagulant/antithrombotic drugs (Coumadin, Lovenox, heparin, etc.), antiplatelet drugs (Plavix, Ticlid), as well as salicylic acid derivatives (acetylsalicylic acid or ASA, Aspirin, Entrophen, etc.) and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (Voltaren, Ibuprofen [Advil, Motrin], Naprosyn, etc.);
  • May interfere with hormone replacement therapy (Premarin, Evista, etc.) and oral contraceptives (Alesse, Diane-35, Marvelon, Min-Ovral, Ortho 0.5/35, Triphasil, etc.);
  • May cause photosensitization during Chlorpromazine treatment.

Parts used

Sprouted seeds, Aerial parts (early flowering stage)

Main constituents

  • Vitamins (A, B12, C, D, E, F, K), beta-carotene, folic acid, minerals and trace elements, isoflavones (formononetin, biochanin A, genistein, daidzein), coumarins (coumestrol, medicagol, sativol, lucernol, etc.), saponins, amino acids, and proteins.

Other names

Medicago sativa, Luzerne