Fenugreek – An Herb With Impressive Health Benefits


Published:

Fenugreek is a natural herb that has many benefits for your health and well-being. It has played a key role in alternative medicine for thousands of years. These days, it’s often consumed as a supplement. Fenugreek may have benefits for testosterone levels, blood sugar, breastfeeding and more. Below is everything you need to know about fenugreek, including its benefits, side effects and how to use it.

What Is Fenugreek?

Fenugreek is a plant that’s known scientifically as Trigonella foenum-graecum1. The plant stands around 2–3 feet tall (60–90 cm). It has green leaves, small white flowers and pods that contain small golden brown fenugreek seeds. For thousands of years, fenugreek has been used in alternative and Chinese medicine to treat skin conditions and many other diseases1.

In more recent years, it has become a common household spice and is used as a thickening agent. It can also be found in products such as soap and shampoo. Fenugreek seeds and powder are also used in many Indian and Asian recipes for their nutritional profile and slightly sweet, nutty taste.

Nutrition Facts

Although you wouldn’t consume fenugreek in large amounts, one tablespoon of whole seeds contains 35 calories and several nutrients2:

  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Iron: 20% of your daily requirements
  • Manganese: 7% of your daily requirements
  • Magnesium: 5% of your daily requirements

Fenugreek And Breast Milk

Breast milk is the optimal food for newborns. It’s the best source of nutrition for a child’s development3. However, certain issues may cause insufficient breast milk production3. While prescription drugs are commonly used to treat this, research suggests fenugreek may be a safe, natural alternative. One 14-day study in 77 new mothers found that consuming fenugreek herbal tea increased breast milk production, which helped the babies gain more weight4.

Another study split 66 mothers into three groups: one received fenugreek herbal tea, the second consumed a taste-matched placebo and the third received nothing. The researchers found a relatively large increase in breast milk production. In fact, volume of pumped breast milk increased from around 1.15 ounces (34 ml) in the control and placebo groups to 2.47 ounces (73 ml) in the fenugreek group5.

These studies used fenugreek herbal tea instead of supplements, but supplements would likely have similar effects5,6. The current research is encouraging, but always discuss any concerns about breast milk production with your midwife or doctor.

Effects On Testosterone Levels In Men

One of the most common reasons men use fenugreek supplements is to boost testosterone. Some studies have found that it has beneficial effects, including increasing testosterone levels and boosting libido. In one study, researchers provided 500 mg of fenugreek per day and combined it with an 8-week weight lifting program. 30 college-aged men performed four training sessions per week, with half of them receiving the supplement7. Compared to the non-supplement group who experienced a slight decline in testosterone, researchers found an increase in testosterone in the fenugreek group. This group also had a 2% reduction in body fat7.

When assessing changes in sexual function and libido, one 6-week study provided 30 men with 600 mg of fenugreek. The majority of participants reported increased strength and improved sexual function8.

Fenugreek Can Help Control Diabetes And Blood Sugar Levels

The most impressive research on fenugreek has analyzed how it affects metabolic conditions such as diabetes. It seems to benefit both type 1 and type 2 diabetics, along with improving general carb tolerance in non-diabetic, healthy individuals9,10,11.

In one study in type 1 diabetics, researchers added 50 grams of fenugreek seed powder to the participants’ lunches and dinners for 10 days. A 54% improvement was found in 24-hour urinary blood sugar clearance, along with reductions in total and LDL cholesterol12.

Additionally, a meta-analysis examined the results of nine different studies that tested four herbs, including milk thistle, cinnamon and fenugreek. Interestingly, fenugreek reduced fasting blood sugar levels by an average of 38.05 mg/dl, which was much more than all the other herbs13.

Finally, one study gave non-diabetic participants fenugreek and witnessed a 13.4% reduction in blood sugar levels four hours after consumption14. These benefits may occur due to fenugreek’s role in improving insulin function. However, the benefits observed in studies using whole fenugreek powder or seeds may be partly due to the high fiber content15.

Other Health Benefits Of Fenugreek

Fenugreek has been used to treat a long list of diseases and conditions in alternative medicine. However, many of these uses have not been studied well enough to reach strong conclusions.

Preliminary research suggests that fenugreek can help with the following:

  • Appetite control: So far, three fenugreek studies have shown a reduction in fat intake and appetite. One 14-day study found that participants spontaneously reduced total fat intake by 17%16,17,18.
  • Cholesterol levels: There is some evidence that it can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels19,20.
  • Heartburn: One 2-week pilot study in people with frequent heartburn found that fenugreek reduced their symptoms. Interestingly, its effects matched those of antacid medications21.
  • Inflammation: Fenugreek has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in rats and mice. More research is needed to confirm this in humans22,23.

Also, some reviews and anecdotal reports from traditional medicine suggest it can help with ulcerative colitis, other skin conditions and numerous illnesses24,25.

How To Supplement With Fenugreek

Fenugreek can be consumed in several concentrations and forms, so there is no single recommended dose. Additionally, the dosage may vary depending on the benefit you seek. Most testosterone-based research uses only around 500 mg of fenugreek extract, while research in other areas has used around 1,000–2,000 mg.

If using the whole seed, doses of around 2–5 grams seem effective, but it does vary from study to study.

To take fenugreek in supplement form, it may be best to start off at 500 mg and increase to 1,000 mg after 2–3 weeks if you don’t experience any side effects. It can be taken before or with a meal, but because it helps control blood sugar levels, it would make sense to take it with your highest carb meal of the day.

Safety And Side Effects

Several animal studies have tested the safety of fenugreek seeds and supplements. It appears relatively safe for healthy individuals. Animal studies did not find negative effects until doses reached nearly 50 times the recommend dose24,26,27.

In humans, the current research hasn’t reported any serious health issues when taken at the recommended dose. However, as with most supplements, less serious side effects like diarrhea and indigestion have been reported anecdotally.

People may also experience a reduced appetite. This is often a good thing, except if you have an eating disorder or are trying to gain weight17. Moreover, some people report a strange and slightly sweet body odor when supplementing, but this is unconfirmed.

And given that it lowers blood sugar levels, it should be used with caution if you are taking diabetes medication or other supplements that lower blood sugar levels. It’s always a good idea to check with a medical practitioner before starting a new supplement. Most importantly, ensure that you’re taking a safe dose.

Fenugreek is an extremely interesting and versatile herb. It is claimed to have benefits for various health conditions and has been used for all sorts of purposes in herbal medicine. However, modern science is just beginning to discover its true benefits.

Based on the available evidence, fenugreek has benefits for lowering blood sugar levels, boosting testosterone and increasing milk production in breastfeeding mothers. Fenugreek may also benefit cholesterol levels, lower inflammation and help with appetite control, but more research is needed in these areas. More research on this powerful medicinal plant is underway, and it will be interesting to see the results in the years to come.

Rudy Mawer is a certified sports nutritionist from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN).

This article was republished from Authority Nutrition.

See also:
A Phytonutrient-Dense Herb Which Controls Blood Sugar, Cholesterol and Free Radicals
5 Medicinal Herbs You Can Grow in Your Backyard

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

November 20, 2019

After retrograding since Halloween, mental Mercury turns Direct this afternoon. The Winged Messenger’s changes of direction can befuddle some minds. New ideas and points of view may defy convention. With Mercury ensconced in Scorpio, previously secret…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

November 2019

“Bringing Energy into Matter” Learn basics of Tachyon, Zero Point Energy and Quantum Physics Tachyonized products and healing tools for purchase Participate in a seeing...

Cost: Free (preregistration is required)

Where:
The Sanctuary for Celestial Empowerment
10 Grassmere Avenue
Suite #300
West Hartford, CT  06110
View map »


Sponsor: Psychotherapy Healing Services, LLC
Telephone: 860-798-6176
Contact Name: Celeste E. Mattingly, LCSW
Website »

More information

Beaver Moon: Herbs for Aches and Pains Using Anti-Inflammatory Herbs. Refreshments served. To RSVP contact herbalist Rachel Ross, RN CNM. Visit our Facebook page for the latest...

Where:
Hillside Herbals
Jefferson, MA


Telephone: (508) 847-8615
Website »

More information

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

A beautiful collection of messages from Jeshua Ben Joseph (Jesus) that will transform your life, as it did his. Coming together to study these teachings, to ponder, to savor, to deepen our...

Cost: $25 per class

Where:
Heart and Soul Holistic Healing Center
130 Massapoag Avenue
Sharon, MA  02067
View map »


Sponsor: Heart and Soul Holistic
Telephone: 781-258-9942
Contact Name: Barbara Ann Strassman
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Atend a public hearing for S665 at the Massachusetts State House to protect holistic practitioners. This is the second bill that urgently needs your attention now. S665 will provide a safe...

Where:
Massachusetts State House
24 Beacon St
Rooms A1 and A2
Boston, MA  02133
View map »

More information

With Peyton Pugmire, spiritual intuitive and Certified Angel Card Reader Tuesdays, 9/24, 10/22, 11/19, 12/17, 6pm–8pm You are intuitive beyond belief. This is your soul’s...

Cost: $40

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Telephone: 781-797-0389
Contact Name: Creative Spirit
Website »

More information

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Free Evidence-Based Holistic Health Education Program at Wilbraham Senior Center The H.E.A.R.T. Program® (Health Empowerment and Real Transformation), created and instructed by Michelle...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

The Fertility Awareness Meetup provides women with an opportunity to learn about and discuss natural birth control options and fertility. This is a space to connect with peers, access information,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cambridge Women's Center
46 Pleasant St
Cambridge, MA  02139
View map »


Sponsor: AC Fertility Awareness
Telephone: 617-899-7624
Contact Name: Anna Churchill

More information

The online dating scene can be exciting, overwhelming, and also annoying. However, it can truly be worth the hassle if you end up finding your ideal match! Just like Kerri did! Come to this...

Cost: $25

Where:
Awaken Holistic Counseling Services
2 Liberty St., Unit 2L
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Awaken Holistic Counseling Services, LLC
Telephone: 978-255-7893
Contact Name: Kerri Morrison
Website »

More information

Broga® is an officially licensed brand of fitness infused yoga geared for men but open to all. With instructors around the world, Chuck was trained by the brands creator and went onto work as...

Cost: $20

Where:
SSFIT STudio
339 Boston Post Rd, Suite 6A
Sudury, MA  01776
View map »


Sponsor: SSFIT STUDIO
Telephone: 508-904-7171
Contact Name: Steven
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come detox, relax and renew yourself for the fall in our sanctuary! We have an intimate gathering of great readers and healers providing services at sampler rates to enjoy their services while...

Cost: $60: 3 Pack Service Special; $25: Single Service

Where:
Healing Power Of Flowers—Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey Smith
Website »

More information

Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani (My journey from cancer, to near death, to true healing) In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four...

Cost: Free

Where:
Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing
411 West Main Street, Suite 2R (rear of building)
Northborough, MA  01532
View map »


Sponsor: Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing
Telephone: 508-393-1212
Contact Name: Kim Flaherty
Website »

More information

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Four week series for girls ages 11 and up with Leigh Sloss This series of classes will focus on some of the most effective yoga and mindfulness skills for reducing stress and anxiety.  In a...

Cost: Series: $75; Drop in rate $20

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Learn to overcome spinal tensions through therapeutic postures, designed to decompress your spine and relieve pain. Taught by a certified yoga therapist, classes bring you through poses...

Cost: 5/$50

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice O'Brien
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags