30 June, 2010

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an herbal supplement often claimed to be beneficial for the following uses:

Lowering blood sugar in people with diabetes
Helping with a loss of appetite
Lowering cholesterol
Lowering triglycerides
Stimulating milk production in breastfeeding women.

Fenugreek contains sotolon, trigonelline, and 4-hydroxyisoleucine, compounds that are thought to be the active components of it. 4-hydroxyisoleucine may stimulate the secretion of insulin, which is why fenugreek may theoretically lower blood sugar. The seeds also contain fiber and pectin, a complex carbohydrate, both of which may slow down the digestive tract, which can help lower blood sugar. However, it is important to know that there is not enough scientific evidence to show that fenugreek is indeed effective for these uses.

Fenugreek may also contain "blood-thinning" compounds known as coumarins, but it is not known if these compounds are present in high enough quantities to actually make a difference in humans. The herb may also stimulate the uterus, heart, and intestines. However, it is important to know that there is not sufficient scientific evidence to show that fenugreek is effective for these uses.

Side Effects

Fenugreek can cause several side effects

Indigestion or heartburn
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
Body and urine odors that smell like maple syrup.

Is Fenugreek Safe?

Normal doses are probably safe for most people when taken in normal amounts, such as amounts found in food, although higher doses can cause problems. Some people may be more likely to experience problems than others.
Therefore, you should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking this supplement if you have:

A bleeding disorder
Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.

Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:

Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant

Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

It is not known exactly what to expect from a fenugreek overdose, but it is reasonable to assume that taking too much may cause the usual side effects of fenugreek, but they may be more severe. Theoretically, an overdose could cause severe problems, such as internal bleeding or dangerously low blood sugar.


  1. Many of our pts ask about alternative medicines and herbal products. Frankly we dont have any experience with those medicines. But such day-to-day items such as fenugreek or bitter guard may be allowed as they a part of our regular diet.

  2. we generally allow patients to take it.. we just caution them about quacks posing as ayurveda docs..


Feel free to Comment!!