Last update: Nov. 5, 2020

Alfalfa

Decreased level of risk

New scientific evidences have driven the Apilam staff to update the level of risk associated to this product.
Former level of risk, which was High Risk, is now set to Low Risk.

Level of risk reviewed on Nov. 5, 2020

Low Risk for breastfeeding


Moderately safe. Probably compatible.
Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended.
Read the Comment.

It is a perennial flowering plant in the legume family Fabaceae. Aerial summits and seeds are used.
It contains a great deal of isoflavones, such as genistein and daidzein with estrogenic properties, and steroids, cumestans, vitamins and minerals.
Attributed effects but not clinically tested are: agonist of estrogen, antianemic and diuretic.

At latest update, relevant published data on excretion into breast milk were not found.

There is not reliable data that would support its use as galactagogue (ABM 2018, Mortel 2013, Forinash 2012, Coly 2009, Kopec 1999, Eriksson 1983).
The best galactogogue is effective support and advice during pregnancy and after childbirth to achieve breastfeeding on frequent demand and with correct technique in a mother who retains her self-confidence (Brodribb 2018, Anderson 2013, Mannion 2012, Forinash 2012, Comité 2012, ABM 2011, Jones 2011, Anderson 2007, Amir 2006).

Caravanina which is one of the components, is toxic if continuously used. Pancytopenia, Hemolytic anemia and Lupus Erythematosus have been described as induced by frequent consumption of germinated-seeds or tablets of alfalfa (Farnsworth 1995, Montanaro 1991, Malinow 1981), although the latter association has not been proven (Vasoo 2006, Akaogi 2006, Bengtsson 2002)..

Moderate, occasional and non-chronic consumption would be compatible with breastfeeding.

Precautions when taking plant preparations (Anderson 2017, Powers 2015, Posadzki 2013, Efferth 2011, Kopec 1999):
1- Make sure they are from a reliable source: poisonings have occurred due to confusion of one plant with another with toxic properties, poisonings due to heavy metals that are extracted from the soil and food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi.
2- Do not take in excess; follow recommendations from experts in phytotherapy. "Natural" products are not good in any quantity: plants contain active substances from which much of our traditional pharmacopoeia has been obtained and can cause poisoning or act as endocrine disruptors (contain phytoestrogens) if consumed in exaggerated quantity or periods of time.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Alfalfa is also known as


Alfalfa in other languages or writings:

Group

Alfalfa belongs to this group or family:

Tradenames

Main tradenames from several countries containing Alfalfa in its composition:

References

  1. ABM: Brodribb W. ABM Clinical Protocol #9: Use of Galactogogues in Initiating or Augmenting Maternal Milk Production, Second Revision 2018. Breastfeed Med. 2018 Jun;13(5):307-314 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. Anderson PO. The galactogogue bandwagon. J Hum Lact. 2013 Abstract
  3. Posadzki P, Watson L, Ernst E. Contamination and adulteration of herbal medicinal products (HMPs): an overview of systematic reviews. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Abstract
  4. Mortel M, Mehta SD. Systematic review of the efficacy of herbal galactogogues. J Hum Lact. 2013 Abstract
  5. Forinash AB, Yancey AM, Barnes KN, Myles TD. The use of galactogogues in the breastfeeding mother. Ann Pharmacother. 2012 Oct;46(10):1392-404. Abstract
  6. Mannion C, Mansell D. Breastfeeding self-efficacy and the use of prescription medication: a pilot study. Obstet Gynecol Int. 2012;2012:562704. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. CML - Comité de Lactancia Materna AEP. Preguntas frecuentes sobre lactancia materna. Folleto. 2012 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  8. Jones W, Breward S. Use of domperidone to enhance lactation: what is the evidence? Community Pract. 2011 Abstract
  9. ABM. Comité de Protocolos de la Academia Médica de Lactancia Materna. ABM Protocolo Clínico #9: Uso de Galactogogos para Iniciar o aumentar la tasa de secreción de Leche Materna. Breastfeed Med. 2011 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  10. Efferth T, Kaina B. Toxicities by herbal medicines with emphasis to traditional Chinese medicine. Curr Drug Metab. 2011 Abstract
  11. Coly A. Leaf concentrate. Undernutrition: testimony from a clinic in Senegal. Public Health Nutr. 2009 Abstract Full text (in our servers)
  12. Anderson PO, Valdés V. A critical review of pharmaceutical galactagogues. Breastfeed Med. 2007 Abstract
  13. Amir LH. Breastfeeding--managing 'supply' difficulties. Aust Fam Physician. 2006 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  14. Akaogi J, Barker T, Kuroda Y, Nacionales DC, Yamasaki Y, Stevens BR, Reeves WH, Satoh M. Role of non-protein amino acid L-canavanine in autoimmunity. Autoimmun Rev. 2006 Jul;5(6):429-35. Epub 2005 Dec 29. Review. Abstract
  15. Vasoo S. Drug-induced lupus: an update. Lupus. 2006;15(11):757-61. Review. Abstract
  16. Bengtsson AA, Rylander L, Hagmar L, Nived O, Sturfelt G. Risk factors for developing systemic lupus erythematosus: a case-control study in southern Sweden. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2002 May;41(5):563-71. Abstract
  17. Kopec K. Herbal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1999 Jun;15(2):157-61. Review. No abstract available. Abstract
  18. Farnsworth NR. Alfalfa pills and autoimmune diseases. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Abstract
  19. Montanaro A, Bardana EJ Jr. Dietary amino acid-induced systemic lupus erythematosus. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 1991 Abstract
  20. Eriksson R, Fransson GB, Kylberg E. [Lucerne--can it influence milk production?]. Jordemodern. 1983 Abstract
  21. Malinow MR, Bardana EJ Jr, Goodnight SH Jr. Pancytopenia during ingestion of alfalfa seeds. Lancet. 1981 Abstract

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