- Fenugreek leaves: health benefits and side effects
- Nutritional description of Fenugreek plant
- 1. Healthy heart
- 2. Antidiabetic
- 3. Prevents Strokes
- 5. Prevents Cataracts
- 6. Relieve Pain
- 7. Immune boosting
- 8. Prevents Ulcer
- 9. Rich in minerals
- 10. Strengthens Hair
- 1. Hypoglycemic
- 2. Increase bleeding
- 3. Stomach pain
- Can Fenugreek Help Increase Your Breast Milk Supply?
- Fenugreek Seeds – Uses, Side Effects and Benefits
- What is Fenugreek Used For?
- Fenugreek May Reduce High Cholesterol Level
- May Help Control Diabetes
- Fenugreek Can be Useful for Digestive Problems
- Fenugreek May Help Improve Lactation During Breastfeeding
- May Increase Libido
- May be Beneficial for Respiratory Ailments
- External Uses
- Other Medicinal Uses of Fenugreek Seeds
- Active Substances and Constituents
- Plant Parts Used
- Therapeutic Dosages
- Potential Side Effects of Fenugreek Seeds
- Other Common Names
- Supporting References
- Fenugreek (Methi) – Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects
- Nutrition Facts for Fenugreek
- 6 Fenugreek Side Effects That You Should Know About
Fenugreek leaves: health benefits and side effects
Herbs are used all over the world for both food and medicinal purpose. Fenugreek plant scientifically known as Trigonella foenum-graecum L is one of the oldest using medicinal plant in human history. Ancient Egyptian used this plant as an incense and to preserve mummies. Romans used this to aid labor and Greeks used this plant as fodder.
In Asian countries, Chinese and Indians used this plants for treatment of edema and induce lactation (1). Fenugreek plant is a small annual herbaceous plant grows mainly in all part of the world especially in Africa, Europe, and South Asia. The plant is mainly used for its incredible antidiabetic properties and its capability of increasing mother’s milk.
Nutritional description of Fenugreek plant
Per 100-gram fenugreek leaves contain around 42.3 g of carbohydrates, 48 g fiber and 4.4 g proteins and 1 g fat (2). Along with this fenugreek leaves are also a rich source of choline compounds which is essential for healthy nervous system and liver (3). Other important compounds [present in the leaves are ascorbic acid and beta-carotene (4).
1. Healthy heart
Fenugreek contains an organic compound known as diosgenin. Diosgenin effects on cholesterol metabolism and lowers the plasma cholesterol level. Fenugreek thus helps in reducing the cholesterol, LDL and other harmful triglycerides from the blood and makes heart healthy (5). Fenugreek also prevents arteriosclerosis (thickening of arteries) and blood clotting.
Fenugreek s are the excellent source for reducing bad cholesterol and also reduces glucose levels in the blood thus helps in prevention of diabetes (6).
3. Prevents Strokes
Consuming fenugreek helps in lowering the cholesterol and prevent unwanted blood clotting. And hence prevents the strokes.
Fenugreek contains iron, vitamin A, B, and C, therefore helps in adding blood hemoglobin. Along with iron, it is also rich in protein, ascorbate, and folate. Taking fenugreek routinely helps pregnant women to maintains hemoglobin in the blood (7).
5. Prevents Cataracts
In a study done on rats, it was found that consuming fenugreek leaves helps in delaying or reduction of galactose-induced cataract (8).Therefore eating fenugreek leaves not only helps in controlling diabetes but also helps in preventing cataracts in the diabetic patients.
6. Relieve Pain
Fenugreek leaves extracts helps in releasing pain in inflammatory-related diseases by blocking pain inducing spinal receptors. The analgesic effect of fenugreek is similar to the action of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (9).
7. Immune boosting
Fenugreek helps in increasing the immune system of the body. A research done in 2003 revealed that the fenugreek has an immune stimulatory effect and can be used for a variety of medicinal purpose and also strengthened the use of Ayurvedic and Unani drugs (10).
8. Prevents Ulcer
Fenugreek contains flavonoids which help in lowering the mucosal injury by protecting the stomach by its antioxidant activity. Thus consuming fenugreek helps in lowering the risk of ulcer. antiulcer property of fenugreek is because of the flavonoids present in them. These flavonoids act as an antioxidant and maintain the mucosal integrity of the stomach (13).
9. Rich in minerals
Fenugreek leaves have high calcium, zinc, beta-carotene, and fiber. In a research done on various food items, it was observed that among pulses, bread and fenugreek leave given to children’s, fenugreek leaves are more mineral rich and nutrient content, therefore, helps in proper development of the children during their growing age (14).
10. Strengthens Hair
Fenugreek leaves paste helps in strengthening of hair and gives a good natural shine to the hairs also helps in controlling the dandruff problem (15).
Fenugreek causes the reduction in glucose level, therefore one taking fenugreek a person should continuously monitor its blood glucose level (11).
2. Increase bleeding
Fenugreek contains an organic substance known as comurine, which may cause increase bleeding in some people (12)
3. Stomach pain
Eating too much fenugreek may cause indigestion and therefore lead to stomach pain because of high fiber content (15).
Can Fenugreek Help Increase Your Breast Milk Supply?
Lew Robertson/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an annual herb with yellow flowers and seed-containing pods that are native to Asia and the Mediterranean. The seeds have been used throughout history for cooking, flavoring, and healing.
Fenugreek has a strong flavor of maple, so much so that it's a common flavoring in imitation maple syrup.
In their raw form, however, fenugreek seeds taste bitter; heating or roasting reduces the bitterness and brings out the sweetness.
For centuries, fenugreek has been taken to promote health and well-being.
It was used to treat digestive and respiratory ailments, and it has a long history of use in women's health—to induce labor and help with childbirth, and as a treatment for gynecological issues painful menstruation and uterine problems.
While other benefits are being studied, today fenugreek is most widely used and researched for two purposes: as a galactagogue, something that can help a breastfeeding mother increase her breast milk supply, and as a way to reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Fenugreek is the most popular herbal remedy used around the world for increasing the production of breast milk.
When 124 lactation consultants were surveyed in 2012 about folk remedies to promote lactation, fenugreek was the most commonly recommended method.
Although it's employed by millions of women to stimulate breast milk, only a few studies have investigated fenugreek for this use.
In one 14-day study, researchers reported that new mothers taking fenugreek tea increased breast milk production that helped babies gain more weight. In another study, the volume of pumped milk from mothers who consumed fenugreek tea doubled compared to that of other mothers—2.
5 ounces compared to 1.15 ounces. In another study, mothers taking 600-milligram capsules of fenugreek seeds three times daily for a month had an increase in breast milk production of 20 percent—although that wasn't a significant difference compared to the placebo group.
Fenugreek is thought to boost the production of breast milk due to an effect on the stimulation of sweat production, and mammary glands are sweat glands that have been modified by hormonal stimulation.
Numerous animal studies and preliminary trials in humans show fenugreekmay help to lower blood sugar.
In a two-month, double-blind study of 25 people, use of fenugreek (one gram a day of a standardized extract) significantly improved some measures of blood sugar control and insulin response as compared to placebo.
Triglyceride levels decreased and HDL “good” cholesterol levels increased, most ly due to the enhanced insulin sensitivity.
Another study where 18 people with type 2 diabetes took 10 grams a day of powdered fenugreek seeds mixed with yogurt or soaked in hot water, those taking the seeds soaked in hot water saw a 25 percent decrease in fasting blood sugar, a 30 percent decrease in triglycerides, and a 31 percent decrease in very-low-density lipoprotein, a type of fat that carries cholesterol and triglycerides through your bloodstream. Those who consumed powdered fenugreek seeds mixed with yogurt saw no significant changes.
Fenugreek may also help prevent the onset of diabetes. One three-year study found that people with prediabetes who took five grams of fenugreek powder twice a day before meals were significantly less ly to develop diabetes, possibly due to a decrease in insulin resistance. LDL “bad” cholesterol was also significantly reduced.
Fenugreek does pass into the breast milk, but it's believed to be safe for both mom and baby when used in moderation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has rated fenugreek as Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS).
Still, always consult a doctor, lactation consultant, or herbal specialist before taking any herbal treatments. Herbs are similar to medications. They can have side effects, and they can be dangerous for you and your baby.
You should be aware that fenugreek can cause your breast milk, urine, and sweat to smell maple syrup. And since it passes to the baby, it can also cause your baby’s urine and sweat to smell maple syrup.
Be sure to tell your baby’s doctor that you're taking fenugreek.
There's a serious illness that's characterized by a maple syrup smell, and if your doctor doesn't know that the maple syrup smell is from the fenugreek, he can misdiagnose your child with maple syrup urine disease.
The most common side effect of taking fenugreek is diarrhea. Diarrhea can affect both you and your child if you start high doses of fenugreek too quickly. But, you can usually avoid stomach issues if you start this herb at a low dose and gradually increase it.
You shouldn't use fenugreek if you're pregnant. This herb has been used to induce labor, and it can cause contractions, premature labor, and miscarriage.
Fenugreek may act estrogen in the body and be unsafe for women with hormone-sensitive cancers.
Given that fenugreek can lower your blood sugar levels, use caution and speak with your doctor if you're taking diabetes medications, such as insulin or drugs for hypoglycemia, as fenugreek may enhance their effects. This may cause excessively low blood sugar, and you may need to reduce your dose of medication.
Fenugreek can thin your blood. Don't use it if you're taking blood thinners (anticoagulant medication) unless you're under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Allergic reactions are possible. If you have asthma, or you're allergic to soy or peanuts, you may also be allergic to fenugreek.
Fenugreek is available as seeds, capsules, and tea. Because the seeds are bitter (heating sweetens them), fenugreek may best be taken in capsule or tea form. Debitterized powders are available, but even they're often considered unpalatable without the addition of a flavoring agent.
Wide-ranging dosages and differing preparations have been used in studies, so there is no single recommended dose.
If you're taking fenugreek to increase production of breast milk, talk to your doctor, midwife, lactation consultant, or an herbal specialist to find out which dose is best for you.
In general, you can begin by taking one 610-milligram capsule (a commonly available dose) three times a day.
Then, slowly increase your dose until either you smell of maple syrup or you're taking three capsules three times a day.
To make fenugreek tea, place one to three teaspoons of fenugreek seeds in eight ounces (one cup) of boiling water. You can drink fenugreek tea up to three times a day.
Fenugreek is thought to work well in combination with other breastfeeding herbs, such as blessed thistle, alfalfa, and fennel, and it's often one of the main ingredients found in commercially available nursing teas.
When taken as directed, you can typically expect to see an increase in your breast milk supply within one week.
Studies in people with type 2 diabetes have used a range of fenugreek—from five to 100 grams of powdered fenugreek seed taken one to two times daily for four days to three years.
A dose of 1 gram daily of an extract of fenugreek seeds has also been used. Talk with your primary care provider before taking fenugreek in any form or dosage.
Self-treating a condition diabetes and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.
If you opt to try fenugreek, keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and because dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label.
To help ensure you're buying a respected brand, look for products that have been certified by ConsumerLabs, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, or NSF International.
These organizations don't guarantee a product is safe or effective, but they indicate it's undergone testing for quality.
You can get other tips on using supplements, but if you're considering the use of fenugreek, tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Giving them a full picture of what you do to manage your health will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
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Fenugreek. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Published May 1, 2019.
Schaffir J, Czapla C. Survey of lactation instructors on folk traditions in breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2012;7:230-3. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2011.0054
Fenugreek Seeds – Uses, Side Effects and Benefits
Botanical Name: Trigonella foenum-graecum.
The scientific Genus name “Trigonella” comes from the Latin word “trigonus” meaning triangular, referring to the flower’s shape.
The species Latin name “Foenum-graecum” means “Greek hay” due to the plant’s former use in Greece as animal fodder.
Fenugreek is one of the oldest medicinal plants known to man and has been used for hundreds of years both in Eastern and Western herbal medicine.
It has been touted as a panacea, something that could cure all ailments, by many cultures around the world.
Fenugreek Uses and Benefits
What is Fenugreek Used For?
Fenugreek has a long history in traditional herbal medicine and in recent years, it has gained popularity as a medicinal herb for many ailments.
Many of the herb’s therapeutic uses are solely traditional and folk medicinal uses, but it does have many promising applications, some of which have been backed up by scientific studies and trials.
People have used fenugreek, e.g., the following conditions:
- high cholesterol
- lack of appetite
- promote milk flow
- sore throat
- lack of libido
- high blood pressure
- hair loss
- erectile dysfunction (ED)
Fenugreek May Reduce High Cholesterol Level
Recent scientific research has found that fenugreek seeds can help to reduce cholesterol in the blood.
It is the herb’s unique fiber composition and the high content of saponins that are thought to be responsible for both the glucose-lowering and cholesterol-lowering effects.
May Help Control Diabetes
In recent years it has gained popularity as a natural treatment for diabetes in adults.
Both clinical and laboratory research have shown that the herb contains many substances that help to lower blood sugar levels and decrease insulin resistance and it seems to benefit both people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Fenugreek Can be Useful for Digestive Problems
Fenugreek seeds have been used for loss of appetite and anorexia due to their ability to increase appetite and improve nutrient absorption and digestion.
Fenugreek seeds consist, up to 50%, of mucus-containing fibers that add a protective layer on the intestinal membranes and can give relief from ulcers, heartburn and irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestine.
The fiber may also help relieve constipation because it softens the bowel contents and at the same time it is considered a useful herbal remedy for diarrhea as the seeds husks absorb water resulting in a bulkier stool.
Fenugreek May Help Improve Lactation During Breastfeeding
Fenugreek seeds contain hormone precursors (phytoestrogens) that are thought to increase milk production in nursing mothers, and the herb is often used traditionally for insufficient lactation.
Several studies have been done to confirm this traditional application.
While few studies have show fenugreek to be effective in increasing the production of breastmilk, others have found it to have hardly any effect in increasing lactation.
Also, it has a reputation for enlarging breast tissue and is widely used in natural breast enhancement products.
Fenugreek seeds contain diosgenin, a substance similar to the female sex hormone estrogen, and other plant phytoestrogens which are thought to promote breast growth in women.
Diosgenin is used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry, including in the production of cortisone preparations and oral contraceptives. However, no scientific proof can confirm that fenugreek seeds can enlarge breast tissue and more studies are needed.
It may be useful as an herbal remedy to minimize the symptoms of menopause, and it is thought to be helpful for painful PMS.
May Increase Libido
It has been used through the ages to heighten sexual desire both in men and women and has been used for premature ejaculation and impotence.
The herb lowers blood cholesterol levels, improves blood circulation and can, therefore, increase blood flow to the penis.
May be Beneficial for Respiratory Ailments
Tea made from the seeds has been used for a long time to treat lung diseases such as bronchitis and asthma.
It is also considered a good herbal remedy for a sore throat and coughs. A mucus- substance found in the seeds has soothing properties by forming a barrier that protects the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract against mechanical and chemical irritation.
Fenugreek has been used for skin irritation, such as ulcers, boils, eczema, dandruff, and cellulite.
Some other external traditional applications of the herb have been as a healing agent, to treat infected wounds, and due to its anti-inflammatory properties it has also been used to treat hemorrhoids, gout, rheumatism, muscle pain, treat halitosis and aching joints.
Other Medicinal Uses of Fenugreek Seeds
In modern times, the interest in the herb in the Western world has primarily been because of the alkaloid trigonelline found in the plant, which has been shown to have some potential in the treatment of liver and cervical cancer.
It has been used as a traditional herbal remedy to promote hair growth both in women and men.
In Saudi Arabia, the leaves and seeds are used as a remedy for kidney stones. In one animal study it was noted that when rats were given a dose of fenugreek daily for a month, they had a significant reduction in the amount of calcium that was deposited in the kidneys, which can support this folk medicine usage.
The leaves of fenugreek contain the substance choline, and the seeds are an excellent source of the antioxidant beta-carotene.
Both substances may be helpful for memory loss, Alzheimer’s and slow down the aging process. Additionally, choline can be used to treat arteriosclerosis because of the ability to remove accumulated fat (cholesterol) from the artery’s walls.
The seeds might be effective against roundworms, and they contain some chemicals that have insect repellent properties and can be used as an insecticide.
The Herb Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
Active Substances and Constituents
Fenugreek seeds contain 45-60% carbohydrates, 20-30% proteins (high in lysine and tryptophan), 5-10% fatty oil (lipids), pyridine-type alkaloids (predominantly trigonelline, choline, gentianin and carpaine), flavonoids (apigenin, luteolin, orientin, quercetin, vitexin and isovitexin), free amino acids (such as 4-hydroxyisoleucine, arginine, histidine and lysine), saponins.
Fenugreek also contains glycosides that form steroidal sapogenins by hydrolysis (diosgenin, yamogenin, tigogenin, neotigogenin), bitters, coumarins, cholesterol, sitosterol, vitamins A, B1 and C, minerals (including calcium, phosphorus, and iron) and 0.015% of essential oil.
The substance diosgenin, which is also found in wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), is used in the modern pharmaceutical industry to manufacture, e.g., cortisone preparations and oral contraceptives.
Plant Parts Used
The leaves and seeds. The leaves are picked in the summer and used fresh.
The seeds are collected when they are ripe, dried and used in decoctions, pastes, and powders.
The fenugreek seeds are also an important seasoning and are used in many types of curry.
Fenugreek seeds can be found in whole or in powder form. They may be eaten raw or cooked or used in salads.
As a tea, two teaspoons of the fenugreek seeds can be used in a cup of boiling water. Allowed to steep for five to ten minutes and then strained. Two to three cups daily are often recommended.
The flavor of the tea can be improved by adding some honey, lemon, aniseed or peppermint.
The Fenugreek Plant (Trigonella foenum-graecum) – ©The Herbal Resource
Potential Side Effects of Fenugreek Seeds
Both the fenugreek leaves and seeds are considered very safe to use. No severe side effects or contraindications have been reported.
Serious interactions with other medications are not known, but it should be used carefully with any medication as it can affect the absorption of other drugs.
The seeds contain water absorbing fibers, so it is advisable to drink plenty of water while using the herb. Fenugreek can change both the color and smell of urine but is not harmful.
Because the herb can stimulate the uterus and has possible estrogenic effects, it should not be used during pregnancy.
Fenugreek may affect the absorption of iron so people who suffer from iron deficiency or have anemia should avoid the herb.
It can cause a topical allergic reaction in some people, especially those who are sensitive to plants in the pea family.
It is always a good idea to consult with a health professional before starting use of any herbs.
Other Common Names
- Greek hay
- Greek hayseed
- Bird’s foot
- Greek clover
- Sicklefruit fenugreek
- Hu lu ba (Chinese)
- Alholva (Spanish)
- Bockhornsklöver (Swedish)
- Bockshornklee (German)
- Fenugrec (French)
- Methi (Sanskrit/Hindi)
Fenugreek is native to the Mediterranean countries and western Asia and is undoubtedly one of the oldest cultivated plants and has for millennia been used both as a medicine and a spice in Egypt, India and the Middle East.
Today fenugreek is widely grown in Argentina, France, India, North Africa, England, and the United States. Nowadays the seeds and fresh leaf shoots come only from cultivated plants.
Fenugreek is an erect annual plant of the Fabaceae or the bean family. It has hairy, green and round stems with few leaf stalks and can grow to be about two feet tall (60 cm). It has trifoliate leaves and blooms white flowers tinged with violet in the early summer.
The flowers develop into long brown pods which contain the fenugreek seeds. The seeds give strong unique aroma, not un maple syrup with a hint of celery.
Williamson, Elisabeth M.: Potter’s Herbal Cyclopaedia. Essex, England. Saffron Walden 2003.
Tierra, Lesley: Healing with the Herbs of Life. Berkeley. Crossing Press 2003.
Pamplona-Roger, George D.: Healthy Plants. Madrid, Spain. Editorial Safeliz, S.L. 2006.
Mills, Simon & Kerry Bone: The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety. St. Louis. Elsevier 2005.
Hudson, Tori ND: FENUGREEK – (Trigonella foenum-graecum) An Overview of the Research and Clinical Indications
Lust, John: The Herb Book. New York. Bantam Books 1974.
Duke, James A.: The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook.
Rodale / Reach 2000.
Atkins, Rosie, et al.: Herbs. The Essential Guide for a Modern World. London, England. Rodale International Ltd. 2006.
Blumenthal, Mark: Herbal Medicine. Expanded Commission E Monographs. Austin, Texas. American Botanical Council 2000.
Bown, Deni: The Royal Horticultural Society New Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses. London, Dorling Kindersley 2002.
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Fenugreek (Methi) – Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects
Commonly known as methi in Hindi and vendhayam in Tamil, it is a popular ingredient in many North and South Indian dishes and home remedies.
Fenugreek seeds and leaves are strongly aromatic and flavorful. The seeds are bitter in taste, but lose their bitterness if lightly roasted.
They are rich in vitamins such as thiamin, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins A, B6, and C, and are a rich storehouse of many minerals such as copper, potassium, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc, manganese, and magnesium. Fenugreek leaves are a rich source of vitamin K as well.
Health Benefits of Fenugreek
Fenugreek seeds are a rich source of trigonelline, lysine and l-tryptophan. The seeds also contain a large amount of saponins and fibers that may account for many of the health benefits of fenugreek. The following are some of the ways in which the fenugreek herb has been used traditionally for treating a variety of conditions.
Reduces Cholesterol – Fenugreek contains saponins that help reduce the body’s absorption of cholesterol from fatty foods. Some studies also indicate saponins to have a role to play in reducing the body’s production of cholesterol, especially the LDL or bad cholesterol.
For example, Reddy and Srinivasan from the Central Food Technological Research Institute, CSIR, Mysore, India, found that fenugreek helped regress existing cholesterol gallstones in mice. Further, they claimed that fenugreek could significantly reduce cholesterol concentration.
Regulates Blood Sugar and Controls Diabetes – An unusual amino acid (4HO-Ile), so far found only in fenugreek, has possible anti-diabetic properties such as enhancing insulin secretion under hyperglycemic conditions, and increasing insulin sensitivity. Iranian researchers from Qom University of Medical Science suggest the potential of 4HO-Ile as an adjunct to diabetes treatment for type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes.
Enhances Breast Milk Production– Fenugreek has been known since ancient times as an herbal galactagogue – or a herb that increase milk production. Fenugreek has been used traditionally by mothers to increase the production of breast milk and stimulate milk flow while nursing and breastfeeding.
Other examples of herbal galactagogues include blessed thistle, milk thistle, fennel, anise, nettle, and others. However, it must be noted that there are very few modern data on their safety and efficacy.
This is supported by some studies that have found that consumption of herbal tea containing fenugreek seeds enhanced the production of breast milk in mothers and facilitated infant birth weight regain in early postnatal days.
Protects from Cancer – Studies have shown that the fibers in fenugreek may help prevent certain cancers.
For example, Researchers at Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, found that fenugreek has estrogenic effects and could be a possible alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
Other studies have shown that saponins and mucilage in fenugreek bind to toxins in the food and flush them out, thus protecting the mucus membrane of the colon from cancers.
Maintains Healthy Testosterone Levels – An Australian study reported significant positive effect of fenugreek on physiological aspects of male libido and also found that it may assist in maintaining normal healthy testosterone levels.
The study recruited 60 healthy males between the ages of 25 and 52, without erectile dysfunction and randomized to 2 tablets per day of 600mg Testofen (a Fenugreek extract and mineral formulation) or placebo for 6 weeks.
The researchers found that Testofen significantly increased sexual arousal and orgasm in the study men.
Aids Digestion – Fenugreek is said to be an effective heartburn or acid reflux remedy because the mucilage in fenugreek seeds assists in soothing gastrointestinal inflammation, and coating the stomach and intestinal lining.
According to a study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, a 2-week intake of a fenugreek fiber product taken 30 minutes before two meals/day, by subjects with frequent heartburn, diminished heartburn severity.
The researchers found that the effects were similar to that of ranitidine at 75mg, twice a day.
Helps with Weight Loss – Fenugreek complements diet and exercise for weight loss. This thermogenic herb aids weight loss by suppressing appetite, increasing energy in the short term, and potentially modulating carbohydrate metabolism.
Fenugreek's Use as a Natural Home Remedy
Fenugreek is widely known for its culinary properties and also as traditional remedy for a number of conditions.
It has been used traditionally in India, China, Middle East for thousands of years to treat many ailments and conditions.
- Fenugreek seeds are rich in vitamin E and are added as preservatives in pickles.
- Dried leaves of the fenugreek are used for flavoring meat, fish and vegetable dishes.
- Herbal tea made with fenugreek, lemon and honey is traditionally used as remedy for fevers.
- Fenugreek has been used traditionally as a remedy for eczema, burns, abscesses, and gout.
- Fenugreek has also been used to stimulate uterine contractions and induce childbirth.
- Fenugreek extract has been suggested to assist in balancing women’s hormones and also to enlarge breasts.
- A paste made from fresh fenugreek leaves applied regularly to the scalp before a bath may help with hair growth, improve hair complexion, and reduce dandruff.
- Disclaimer: Although there are many benefits of using fenugreek in your diet, it is strongly recommended that you should take the advice of a doctor before using fenugreek for treating any ailment or medical condition.
Fenugreek Side Effects
- In large doses, fenugreek may cause birth-defects because of its teratogenic potential. It would be prudent to avoid fenugreek supplementation during pregnancy.
- Fenugreek seeds can cause internal bleeding.
- Skin irritation and allergy have also been reported with fenugreek. Severe allergy symptoms include chest pain, facial swelling, and difficulty breathing or swallowing.
- Diarrhea, indigestion, heartburn, gas, bloating and urine odor are other possible side effects of fenugreek.
Fenugreek Seed Tea / Methi Chai
- Lightly crush a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds.
- Soak them in a cup of freshly boiled water and steep it for 1 to 3 hours. (The longer you steep, higher the benefits).
- Strain the tea, add honey and lemon to taste and drink it hot or cold. You can add tea leaves or other herbs too for a different flavor.
Methi Moong Dal Subzi / Fenugreek Green Gram Curry
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan.
- Add half a teaspoon cumin (jeera) seeds and when they splutter, add 1 chopped onion, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, and green chilies to taste. Sauté for a minute.
- Add a pinch of turmeric powder, 2 cups of chopped fenugreek leaves and salt to taste. Cook for a few minutes. Keep in mind that fenugreek leaves cook very quickly.
- Add a quarter cup of soaked moong dal (split green gram) and half a cup of hot water.
- Sprinkle a teaspoon of besan (Bengal gram flour), mix well, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, till the moong dal is fully cooked.
- Serve hot with rotis, parathas or rice.
Nutrition Facts for Fenugreek
The nutritional values of “Fenugreek” per 100 grams are:
6 Fenugreek Side Effects That You Should Know About
NDTV Food Desk | Updated: August 28, 2017 18:18 IST
Fenugreek, commonly known as Methi, is native to western Asia and Southern Europe but it is widely grown in India and commonly used in our daily meals.. You can use the fresh leaves to make a vegetable or sprinkle fenugreek powder to add flavour or even use the pungent fenugreek seeds known as methi dana.
The herb is highly valued for its qualities and multiple used. Fenugreek seeds are often used to make Ayurvedic medicines to treat various ailments diabetes and hypertension.
However, a high dose of fenugreek may have certain side effects such as coughing, allergic reactions, diarrhea, nasal congestion, bloating, gas, and urine odor.
Although, these do not make it unhealthy in any way and you don't need to completely avoid it (unless you are allergic to it), it helps to know about fenugreek side effects so that you can identify them if you experience any of these.
1. Upset stomach
Excess consumption of fenugreek seeds often cause loose motions in breast feeding mothers and babies. It is advised stop consumption immediately if you experience the same as a new-born baby can easily get affected with anything that the mother suffers while he or she is being fed breast milk.
(Also read: 5 Types of Teas That Can Help an Upset Stomach)Fenugreek may cause loose motions in people with a weak gut. Photo Credit: Istock
Some people may be allergic to certain compounds found in fenugreek. This can trigger allergic reactions on consumption such as skin irritation and redness.
3. It could be unsafe for children
According to Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood, “Fenugreek tea may cause diarrhea in children. Therefore, it is not advisable to give fenugreek especially the seeds toddlers and young kids. You can gradually introduce them to small portions of fresh frenugreek leaves cooked as a vegetable with mild spices.”
4. When combined with other drugs
Fenugreek might decrease blood sugar levels when taken in combination with diabetes medication and may cause dangerously low levels of sugar in the system. It is best to consult your doctor and ask them to prepare a diet chart for you if you are suffering from any lifestyle disease.
Fenugreek seeds may have a negative impact on your sugar levels when combined with some medicines.
5. Body and urine odor
It is believed that excess consumption of fenugreek can make your sweat and urine smell pungent, just as eating asparagus changes the colour of your urine. It is probably because fenugreek contains an aromatic compound called soletone.
6. May not be good for pregnant women
You can use small quantity of it for taste but eating it consistently in large amounts is a big no-no. It may cause indigestion, bloating and nausea. Furthermore, it may act as a uterine stimulant which could lead to preterm labour as some studies have shown.
Fenugreek seeds might be good for your health but they may have certain side effects. For kids, pregnant women and the elderly or in case you are suffering from a lifestyle disease, it is best to consult a medical practitioner who can guide you on what to eat and avoid.