Natural Health Products - Alfalfa

Natural solutions to help manage your health and wellness.



General Information

Alfalfa has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. People have used alfalfa to treat various diseases and conditions as well as a source of vitamins (e.g., vitamin A, C, E, and K) and minerals (e.g., calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron).

Common Name(s)

alfalfa, lucerne

Scientific Name(s)

Medicago sativa L. (Fabaceae)

How is this product usually used?

Alfalfa is an herb that is prepared to be taken orally. In general, available forms of alfalfa and their recommended doses include:

  • Dried aerial parts: 3 g to 10 g, 3 times per day
  • Infusion: 5 g to 10 g of dried aerial parts, 3 times per day
  • Fluid extract: 5 g to 10 g dried equivalent, 3 times per day

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

People have used alfalfa for:

  • kidney and bladder problems
  • prostate problems
  • diabetes and reducing blood sugar levels
  • atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • lowering cholesterol in the blood
  • stimulating the appetite
  • helping with digestive problems
  • asthma
  • arthritis

There is not enough research or evidence to show that alfalfa is helpful for any of the above uses.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

Common side effects from alfalfa include upset stomach, diarrhea, and flatulence. Rarely, alfalfa may cause lupus-like effects (e.g., muscle pain, fatigue, skin rashes, fever, chest pain with deep breaths).

Alfalfa can interact with some medications. It decreases the effectiveness of some birth control pills. If you are taking alfalfa along with birth control pills, use an extra method of birth control, such as a condom. Alfalfa can also interact with warfarin, estrogen pills including hormone replacement therapy, medications that suppress the immune system (e.g., cyclosporine, corticosteroids), diabetes medications (e.g., metformin), iron, and vitamin E.

Alfalfa makes you more sensitive to sunlight, so you should avoid taking it while taking other medications that also make you sensitive to sunlight (e.g., amitriptyline, ciprofloxacin, tetracycline). In addition, cover up (wear sun block, long sleeves, and a hat) if you are taking alfalfa and are in the sun.

You should avoid alfalfa if you have a condition that is sensitive to hormones (e.g., breast cancer, endometriosis), if you have an autoimmune disease (e.g., multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis), or if you had a kidney transplant.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not use alfalfa. Consult your health care professional if you have any questions.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.


  1. Health Canada. Drugs & Health Products. Monograph – Alfalfa.
  2. National Centre of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine –US. Alfalfa.
  3. National Standard- the Authority on Integrative Medicine. Alfalfa.