Fenugreek has been used as an alternative medicine for many years. Fenugreek is a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine and can be used as a supplement.
The herb could have many health benefits.
This article will explain everything you need about fenugreek including its benefits, side effects, and uses.
Fenugreek ( Trigonella Foenum-graecum is a tall plant that can reach 2-3 feet (60-90cm) in height. It is characterized by small, white flowers and green leaves. The pods contain small, golden-brown seeds.
Fenugreek has long been used in Chinese and alternative medicine to treat many skin conditions.
It has been a household spice, thickening agent and common household ingredient. It is also found in shampoo and soap.
Fenugreek powder and seeds can also be used in Indian cuisines for their nutritional value and mild sweetness.
SUMMARY- Fenugreek can be used for many purposes and has potential health benefits.
One tablespoon (11.1g) of whole Fenugreek Seeds contains 35 Calories and many nutrients ( 2Trusted Source).
- Fiber: 3 Grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Carbs 6 grams
- Fat 1 Gram
- Iron 20% Daily Value (DV).
- Magnesium 5% DV
SUMMARY- Fenugreek seed has a healthy nutritional profile. It contains a lot of fiber and minerals including iron and magnesium.
Impacts of Breastmilk Production
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition to support your baby’s growth.
Some mothers might not be able to produce enough.
Prescription drugs are often used to increase breastmilk production. However, research suggests that fenugreek could be a safer, more natural option.
A 14-day study of 77 mothers revealed that herbal teas with fenugreek seed extract increased breast milk production. This resulted in babies gaining more weight.
Another study divided 66 mothers into three different groups. One group received fenugreek, the other a placebo and the third got nothing.
The volume of breast milk pumped increased from 1.15 ounces (34ml) between the control and placebo groups, to 2.47 ounces (73.3ml) within the fenugreek.
These studies were done with fenugreek tea, not supplements. However, supplements may have similar effects (5Trusted source, 6-Trusted source).
This research is encouraging. However, it is important to discuss concerns regarding breastmilk production with your doctor or midwife.
SUMMARY- Research shows that fenugreek might increase breastmilk production as well as the rate of weight gain for newborn babies.
Testosterone Levels in Men
Men use fenugreek to increase testosterone. This is one of the most popular reasons they use it.
It has been shown to have positive effects in some studies, including an increase in libido.
A study of 30 men in college over 8 weeks found that half of them received 500m of fenugreek daily.
The testosterone level in the non-supplement groups declined slightly, but the fenugreek supplement group saw an increase. The 7Trusted source group had a 2% decrease in body fat.
A 6-week study gave 30 men 600 mg of fenugreek extract. This was used to evaluate changes in sexual function, libido and sexual function. Many participants reported improved strength and sexual function.
But it is important to do more research.
SUMMARY- Initial research shows that fenugreek may increase testosterone and improve sexual function in men.
Helps to Control Blood Sugar & Diabetes
Fenugreek might help with metabolic conditions such as Diabetes.
It appears to affect type 1 and 2 diabetes as well as increasing general carb tolerance in those without these conditions.
One study found that type 1 diabetics ate 50g of fenugreek seeds at lunch and dinner. Participants experienced a decrease in blood sugar and total cholesterol after 10 days.
Another study found that people with diabetes were able to take fenugreek. The participants saw a 13.4% drop in blood sugar levels within four hours of intake.
These benefits could be due to fenugreek’s ability to improve insulin function. However, studies using whole fenugreek seeds or powder may have shown some effects due to the high-fiber content.
SUMMARY- There is evidence to support the role of fenugreek in blood sugar control and treatment of type 1 or 2 diabetes.
Other Health Benefits from Fenugreek
Fenugreek can be used to treat many conditions. Many of these uses are not well-studied enough to draw solid conclusions.
Preliminary research indicates that fenugreek might be an aid:
- Control of appetite. Three studies have shown a decrease in total fat intake. A 14-day study showed that participants reduced their total fat intake by 17%.
- Cholesterol levels. There is some evidence that fenugreek may lower cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels.
- Heartburn. A 2-week pilot study of people suffering from frequent heartburn revealed that fenugreek had a significant effect on their symptoms. Its effects were comparable to antacid medication.
- Inflammation. Inflammation. This is a subject that requires further research.
Additionally, there are some reports and reviews from traditional medicine that fenugreek may be able to treat ulcerative colitis and other conditions like skin problems and many others ( 23 and 24Trusted source).
SUMMARY- While more research is necessary, preliminary results suggest that fenugreek may have other health benefits.
Fenugreek can be found in many supplements. Because each supplement has a different formulation, the recommended dosage will vary. There is no one recommended dosage.
Depending on what benefit you are seeking, the dosage can also vary.
Research based on testosterone uses around 500mg of fenugreek, while other research has used between 1,000 and 2,000m.
Doses of approximately 2-5 grams are effective if you use the whole seed. However, this varies from one study to another.
Supplements should be taken with or before a meal. This herb helps blood sugar control so it is best to have it with the highest-carb meal of your day.
Follow the label dosage instructions. Consult your healthcare practitioner if you are unsure.
SUMMARY- The type of supplement you choose and your health goals will determine the dosage of fenugreek.
Side Effects and Safety
Fenugreek is relatively safe for people who are healthy.
As with many supplements, there have been reports of less severe side effects such as diarrhea and indigestion.
You may experience a decreased appetite if you are suffering from an eating disorder or trying to gain weight.
Some people also report a slightly sweeter body odor after supplementation, though this is not confirmed.
Fenugreek’s effect on blood sugar should be taken with caution if you are taking diabetes medication or any other supplements that lower blood sugar.
Studies on animals have shown that high doses can cause many side effects including DNA damage, reduced fertility and neurological problems. There is also a higher risk of miscarriage.
While most of these side effects aren’t confirmed in humans and the doses are high, scientists are still concerned about the use fenugreek supplement.
Before you start a new supplement, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor. Make sure you are taking the right dose.
SUMMARY- Fenugreek can cause mild side effects in humans. However, it is relatively safe when used at the right dosage.
The Bottom Line
Fenugreek, a rare herb, has been used for alternative medicine for many years.
According to the evidence, fenugreek can lower blood sugar, boost testosterone, and increase milk production in mothers.
Fenugreek could also lower cholesterol and inflammation. It may also help to control appetite, although more research is needed.