Last update: Feb. 7, 2015


High Risk for breastfeeding

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully.
Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives).
Read the Comment.

Aerial summits and seeds are used. It contains a great deal of flavonoids, steroids, cumestans, vitamins and minerals

Attributed effects but not clinically tested are: agonist of estrogen, antianemic and diuretic.

Also, there is not reliable data that would support its use as galactagogue.

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

Because its estrogenic effect it should not be consumed during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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.

Cautious measures before consumption of herbal infusions should include:

1. Make sure that the source is reliable: occurrance of intoxication cases after mistakenly use of a toxic plant, poisoning by consumption of heavy metal containing substances or contaminated food by bacterial or fungal toxins.

2. Avoid excessive use. The “natural products” are not harmless at whatever dosage: the plants contain active substances that have been the source of our common pharmaceutical drugs. They may be a cause of poisoning if consumed in high quantity or for a long time.


We do not have alternatives for Alfalfa.

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 belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Alfalfa in its composition:


  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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)
  4. Alachkar A, Jaddouh A, Elsheikh MS, Bilia AR, Vincieri FF. Traditional medicine in Syria: folk medicine in Aleppo governorate. Nat Prod Commun. 2011 Abstract
  5. Efferth T, Kaina B. Toxicities by herbal medicines with emphasis to traditional Chinese medicine. Curr Drug Metab. 2011 Abstract
  6. Coly A. Leaf concentrate. Undernutrition: testimony from a clinic in Senegal. Public Health Nutr. 2009 Abstract Full text (in our servers)
  7. 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 Abstract
  8. Kato H, Iwata T, Katsu Y, Watanabe H, Ohta Y, Iguchi T. Evaluation of estrogenic activity in diets for experimental animals using in vitro assay. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Abstract
  9. Brown AC. Lupus erythematosus and nutrition: a review of the literature. J Ren Nutr. 2000 Abstract
  10. Kopec K. Herbal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1999 Jun;15(2):157-61. Review. No abstract available. Abstract
  11. Farnsworth NR. Alfalfa pills and autoimmune diseases. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Abstract
  12. D'Arcy PF. Adverse reactions and interactions with herbal medicines. Part 1. Adverse reactions. Adverse Drug React Toxicol Rev. 1991 Abstract
  13. Montanaro A, Bardana EJ Jr. Dietary amino acid-induced systemic lupus erythematosus. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 1991 Abstract
  14. Alcocer-Varela J, Iglesias A, Llorente L, Alarcón-Segovia D. Effects of L-canavanine on T cells may explain the induction of systemic lupus erythematosus by alfalfa. Arthritis Rheum. 1985 Abstract
  15. Elakovich SD, Hampton JM. Analysis of coumestrol, a phytoestrogen, in alfalfa tablets sold for human consumption. J Agric Food Chem. 1984 Abstract
  16. Eriksson R, Fransson GB, Kylberg E. [Lucerne--can it influence milk production?]. Jordemodern. 1983 Abstract
  17. Malinow MR, Bardana EJ Jr, Goodnight SH Jr. Pancytopenia during ingestion of alfalfa seeds. Lancet. 1981 Abstract

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