Alfalfa is A Must-Have Herb for Gallbladder Healing…
DISCLAIMER: CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR BEFORE DECIDING ON A TREATMENT PLAN FOR ANY DISEASE OR INJURY.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is a diuretic herb that is a part of the bean (Fabaceae) family of plants. It is most commonly planted as a food for grazing animals, but the sprouts of the plant are common as a salad garnish or juicing plant for humans, and the plant is also an important resource for honeybees. It is highly alkalizing and a source of many important nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K1, iron, potassium, zinc, and calcium, as well as some protein, making the sprouts of this plant as well as the dried herb found in supplements an excellent way to boost overall nutrition.
Traditionally, alfalfa has been used to treat problems with the kidneys, bladder, and prostate, though the herb has also proven to have some incredible properties in relieving gallbladder discomfort. Alfalfa can also treat the following health issues (among others not listed here):
- Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other forms of arthritis
- Gastrointestinal upsets/indigestion
- Thrombocytopenia purpura
- High cholesterol
- Water retention
- Loss of appetite
- Poor nutrient absorption
- Low breast milk production in nursing mothers
- Menopause symptoms (such as night sweats and hot flashes)
Anecdotally, alfalfa has been said to be able to stop a gallbladder attack in its tracks. Though the scientific evidence to back up alfalfa’s effects on the gallbladder is somewhat limited, stories of its success and consideration of other aspects of alfalfa’s effects on health are very relevant.
According to multiple studies, one of alfalfa’s main medicinal actions in the body is the lowering of cholesterol. In most cases, the cholesterol reducing effects of alfalfa have been attributed to the saponins present in the plant, which block cholesterol absorption and prevent plaque formation. Like with so many other gallbladder health remedies, cholesterol management plays a major role in reducing the chances that gallstones or bile sludge will develop (effective cholesterol management also directly affects the risk of strawberry gallbladder developing). Lower cholesterol levels also decrease the risk of fatty liver disease; since liver health and gallbladder health are intimately intertwined, this is important to note.
Individuals taking warfarin (Coumadin) should exercise caution when taking alfalfa medicinally since some sources claim that alfalfa may interact negatively with this drug due to the high amounts of vitamin K1 in alfalfa. Alfalfa may also interact in different ways with the following drugs: Contraceptives/birth control; Estrogen-based medications (individuals with diseases affected by increased estrogen levels should also reconsider using alfalfa medicinally); Anti-diabetic drugs; Immunosuppressants; Photosensitizing drugs. Alfalfa may also interact with iron supplements, vitamin E supplements, and blood sugar lowering herbs and natural supplements.
NOTE: Some studies indicate that medicinal use of alfalfa may cause the onset of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or a recurrence of SLE symptoms. It is my belief at the time of this writing that this would likely be correlated with some kind of pathogen hiding out in the gallbladder or a “cycling” effect, and that rather than the alfalfa “causing” the SLE, that it may very well be curing it.
Alfalfa sprouts are a common supermarket food that go great on salads and that can also be juiced. Eat these as you wish. Alfalfa supplements, however, should be managed like any other supplement: with attention and care. Take note of the following dosing options:
- For the treatment of high cholesterol, a dose of 5-10 grams of alfalfa taken 3 times per day is normal (start with the lower dose and work your way up; consider taking alfalfa with meals for the treatment of gallbladder issues specifically).
- Take a tincture of 5-10mL of alfalfa extract 3 times per day with meals.
- Some herbalists recommend a dose of 500-1000mg of alfalfa leaf in capsule form, or 1-2ml of tincture, taken 3 times per day.