This section was compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
Send all comments or additions to:

If there are terms in these articles you don't understand, you can get a definition from the Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary. If you want information about a specific disease, you can access the Merck Manual. You can also search Pub Med for more abstracts on this, or any other health topic.

Jump to:    Alfalfa Articles            Alfalfa Research


One of the most interesting of the phytoalexins is named Medicarpin.   It is only found in high concentration in organically grown alfalfa.   This compound has been found to be so powerful that Merck Pharmaceutical Company has patented a synthetic version of it as a therapeutic agent to treat allergic conditions, asthma, cardiovascular disorders, and inflammation. [1]   Isn’t that a mouthful?   This helps explain why Alfalfa Complex has been so popular with the Shaklee field for managing respiratory and allergic disorders. [2]

  1. Medicarpin Derivatives and Analogs
    The U.S. Patent Office

  2. Pharmacological Effects Of Urinary Products Obtained After Treatment With Saiboku-to,
    A Herbal Medicine For Bronchial Asthma, On Type IV Allergic Reaction

    Planta Med. 2000 (Oct);   66 (7):   607–611


Alfalfa Articles

Sparce Vitamin K Spurs Female Bone Loss
In a new 12-month study, researchers from Osaka Kosei-Nenkin Hospital in Osaka, Japan, measured blood levels of vitamin K, osteocalcin and other markers of bone metabolism in 71 postmenopausal women and 24 menopausal women who were receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Conventional therapy for osteoporosis includes vitamin D, calcium, calcitonin (a hormone that inhibits bone resorption) and estrogen. Because osteoporosis has multiple causes, these substances aren't always sufficient. The authors suggest that vitamin K may prove a useful adjunct to preventing postmenopausal bone loss. Vitamin K can either be obtained as a supplement or from foods such as alfalfa.


Alfalfa Research

Medicarpin and Millepurpan, Two Flavonoids Isolated from
Medicago sativa, Induce Apoptosis and Overcome
Multidrug Resistance in Leukemia P388 Cells

Phytomedicine. 2015 (Dec 1);   22 (13):   1186–1194

These data indicate that medicarpin and millepurpan possess pro-apoptotic properties and potentiate the cytotoxicity of chemotherapy drugs in multidrug resistant P388 leukemia cells by modulating P-gp-mediated efflux of drugs. These flavonoids may be used as chemopreventive agents or as sensitizer to enhance cytotoxicity of chemotherapy drugs in multidrug resistant cancer cells.

Premature T Cell Senescence in Ovx Mice Is Inhibited By Repletion of Estrogen
and Medicarpin: A Possible Mechanism For Alleviating Bone Loss

Osteoporos Int. 2012 (Mar);   23 (3):   1151–1161

Estrogen deficiency triggers reproductive aging by accelerating the amplification of TNF-a-producing T cells, thereby leading to bone loss. To date, no study has been carried out to explain the relationship between CD4(+)CD28null T cells and ovariectomy or osteoporosis. Our study demonstrates that Ovx leads to the generation of premature senescent CD4(+)CD28null T cells, an effect inhibited by E2 and Med. We propose that one of the mechanisms by which Med/E2 alleviates Ovx-induced bone loss is by delaying T cell senescence and enhancing CD28 expression.

Medicarpin, a Legume Phytoalexin, Stimulates Osteoblast Differentiation
and Promotes Peak Bone Mass Achievement in Rats: Evidence for
Estrogen Receptor ί-mediated Osteogenic Action of Medicarpin

J Nutr Biochem. 2012 (Jan);   23 (1):   27–38

Dietary isoflavones including genistein and daidzein have been shown to have favorable bone conserving effects during estrogen deficiency in experimental animals and humans. We have evaluated osteogenic effect of medicarpin (Med); a phytoalexin that is structurally related to isoflavones and is found in dietary legumes. Together, our results demonstrate Med stimulates osteoblast differentiation likely via ERί, promotes achievement of peak bone mass, and is devoid of uterine estrogenicity. In addition, given its excellent oral bioavailability, Med can be potential osteogenic agent.

Pharmacological Effects of Urinary Products Obtained After Treatment With Saiboku-to,
A Herbal Medicine For Bronchial Asthma, On Type IV Allergic Reaction

Planta Med. 2000 (Oct);   66 (7):   607–611

To define the anti-allergic components in Saiboku-To, a herbal medicine for bronchial asthma, we examined the effects of 11 compounds found in post-administrative urine of Saiboku-To on concanavalin A-induced human lymphocyte blastogenesis in vitro and picryl chloride (PC)-induced mouse ear swelling in vivo. The results suggested that flavonoids and lignans tested in the present study were implicated in anti-asthmatic effect of Saiboku-To through suppression of type IV allergic reaction.

Alfalfa Seeds Lower Low Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol
and Apolipoprotein B Concentrations in Patients with
Type II Hyperlipoproteinemia

Atherosclerosis 1987 (May);   65 (1-2):   173–179

Fifteen patients with hyperlipoproteinemia (HLP), types IIA (n = 8), IIB (n = 3) and IV (n = 4) were given 40 g of heat prepared alfalfa seeds 3 times daily at mealtimes for 8 weeks with otherwise unchanged diet. In patients with type II HLP alfalfa treatment caused after 8 weeks a maximal lowering of pretreatment median values of total plasma cholesterol from 9.58 to 8.00 mmol/l (P less than 0.001) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from 7.69 to 6.33 mmol/l (P less than 0.01), which corresponds to decreases of 17% and 18%, respectively.

Interactions of Alfalfa Plant and Sprout Saponins
with Cholesterol in Vitro and in Cholesterol-fed Rats

Am J Clin Nutr 1984 (Jun);   39 (6):   917–929

The in vitro interactions of saponins from alfalfa plant and alfalfa sprouts with cholesterol and the effects of alfalfa plant and sprout and saponin-free alfalfa plant on diet-induced liver cholesterol accumulation, bile acid excretion, and jejunal and colonic morphology were examined.

Alfalfa Saponins and Alfalfa Seeds. Dietary Effects
in Cholesterol-fed Rabbits

Atherosclerosis 1980 (Nov);   37 (3):   433–438

Since alfalfa meal prevents hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis in rabbits and alfalfa saponins prevent the expected rise in cholesterolemia induced by dietary cholesterol in monkeys, the experiments being reported here were performed to determine whether alfalfa saponins affect atherogenesis in rabbits.

Thanks to Pub Med for their
excellent MEDLINE search tool!


Since 8-18-2001

Updated 4-22-2022

                       © 1995–2022 ~ The Chiropractic Resource Organization ~ All Rights Reserved