Alfalfa

Other Names:

Lucerne, Purple Alfalfa, Purple Medick, Buffalo Herb

Benefits

  • Antidiabetic
  • Antiinflammatory
  • Diuretic
  • Antiulcer
  • Antioxidant

Alfalfa


Medicago sativa

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is known for its high nutritional value, and is an abundant source of protein, essential vitamins (including A, D, E, K and the full family of B vitamins) and minerals (biotin, calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, potassium). Alfalfa is also very high in chlorophyll, a green pigment that’s instrumental in photosynthesis and for promoting good health. Chlorophyll binds with toxic metals to hamper absorption, and research has shown it can do the same with some carcinogens and Candida albicans growth.

Egg quality: Supplementing the diet of egg-laying ducks with 3-9% alfalfa meal is beneficial for their immune system. The addition of alfalfa meal resulted in an increased intestinal microbial community diversity. Adding 0.05-0.15% aqueous alfalfa extract (AAE) to the diet of laying hens between 28 to 36 weeks of age was shown to increase shell strength and improve egg shell quality.

Antibacterial: Adding alfalfa meal as 25-50% of the diet of layer chicks helped to increase gastrointestinal VFA production and bacterial diversity which in turn can reduce colonization by Salmonella via natural competitive barriers.

Summary of Alfalfa-related Research in Poultry
FormSpeciesAmountTime periodResultsRef
ChoppedLaying hens20%42 daysEnhances fatty acid composition, color and cholesterol content of egg yolks. Increases saturated fatty acid levels in egg yolksS Carrasco et al., 2016
ExtrudedLaying hens20%42 daysEnhances fatty acid composition, color and cholesterol content of egg yolks.S Carrasco et al., 2016
PelletedLaying hens20%42 daysEnhances fatty acid composition, color and cholesterol content of egg yolks.S Carrasco et al., 2016
sproutsLaying hens40 g/d 66 daysreduced plasma and egg cholesterol; increased concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, carotenes (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin) and phytoestrogens (daidzein, equol, isolariciresinol) in eggs.S Mattioli et al., 2016
ExtractBroilers0.06%42 daysDecreased abdominal fat deposition and enhanced immunity without an adverse effect on performance.X Dong et al., 2007
MealQuails9%42 daysImproved eggshell quality and reduced serum triglycerides and egg yolk cholesterol without any adverse effect on performance.B Kocaoglu et al., 2007
Aqueous ExtractBroilers18.64%42 daysShowed mild protective effects against lead toxicityI Karimi et al., 2012

References

Mountain Rose Herbs