Unani Barsem

Action ► Anticholesterolemic, rich in essential enzymes, minerals and vitamins; a preventive of high blood pressure, diabetes, peptic ulcer.

Alfalfa tea is used to strengthen the digestive system. Sprouts (of seeds) are used by diabetics.

The herb contains carotinoids (including lutein), triterpene saponins, isoflavonoids coumarins, triterpenes (including sitgmasterol, spinasterol); also cyanogenic glycosides (corresponding to less than 80 mg HCN/ 100 g); pro-vitamins A, B6, B12, D, K, E and P; calcium, phosphorus, iron,

402 Melaleuca leucadendron Linn.

potassium, magnesium, choline, sodium, silicon and essential enzymes.

The seeds contain 33.2% protein and 4.4% mineral matter; saponins with the aglycones, soyasapogenol B and E and polymines, diaminopropane and norspermine. Two storage globulins, alfin and medicagin are found in the seeds.

The flowers contain flavonoids, kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin and laricytrin. The fruits contain beta-amyrin, alpha- and beta-spinasterol, beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, myrselli-nol, scopoletin and esculetin.

The saponin, medicagenic acid, is found in leaves and roots (leaves 1.49%, roots 2.43% of dry matter).

Alfalfa seed extracts prevented hy-percholesterolemia, triglyceridaemia and atherogenesis in cholesterol-fed rabbits and cynomologus monkeys. The saponins in the extract reduce intestinal absorption of cholesterol in rabbits.

Human trials have indicated the use of the herb in menopause. (Sharon M. Herr.)

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