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Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • 1-Methylnicotinic acid, 3-amino-4,5-dimethyl-2(5H)-furanone, 3-carboxy-1-methyl pyridinium, 3-hydroxy-4,5-dimethyl-2(5H)-furanone, 3-O-alpha-L-rhamnosyl quercetin, 4-hydroxyisoleucine (4-OH-Ile), 5,7,3'-trihydroxy-5'-methoxylisoflavone, abish (Amharic), acetyl-beta-D-hexosaminidase, alholva (Spanish), alkaloids, alpha-galactosidase, alpha-mannosidase, amber, amino acids, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, beta-galactosidase, beta-glucosidase, betaines, beta-mannanase, beta-sitosteryl glucopyranoside, biochanin A, bird's foot, bockhornsklöver (Swedish), Bockshornsamen (German), Bockshornklee (German), calcium, calycosin, Canadian fenugreek seed, Canadian-grown fenugreek, carotenoids, çemen (Turkish), chilbe, CN 19062, CN 19067, CN 19070, CN 19071, copper, coumarin, D-3-O-methyl-chiroinsitol, daidzein, dioscin, diosgenin, ethyl-alpha-D-glucopyranoside, Fabaceae, fatty acids, fenegriek (Dutch), fenigreko, fenogreco (Galician, Spanish), fenogrego, fenugree, fenugreek flour, fenugreek gums, fenugreek leaves, fenugreek saponin I, fenugreek seed, fenugreek spouts, FenuLife®, fenu-thyme, fieno greco (Italian), flavonoids, Foenugraeci semen, formononetin, furostanol glycosides, galactokinase, galactomannan, galactomannan galactosyltransferase, galactose, gamma-schizandrin, GDP-mannose-dependent (1-->4)-beta-D-mannan synthase, gitogenin 3-O-alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1-->2)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, gitogenin 3-O-beta-D-xylopyranosyl-(1-->6)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, glycosides, görögszéna (Hungarian), graine de fenugrec (French), gray hay, Greek hay, Greek hay seed, Griechische Heusamen (German), halba (Malay), hilbeh (Arabic, Hebrew), hu lu ba, hulba (Arabic), iodine, irilone, iron, isoflavonoids, kaempferol 3,7-O-alpha-L-dirhamnoside, kaempferol 3-O-alpha-L-rhamnoside, kaempferol 3-O-beta-D-glucosyl(1-->2)-(6"-O-acetyl)-beta-D-galactoside 7-O-beta-D-glucoside, kaempferol 3-O-beta-D-glucosyl(1-->2)-beta-D-galactoside 7-O-beta-D-glucoside, kasoori methi (Hindi, Urdu), kozieradka pospolita (Polish), kreeka lambalääts (Estonian), lectins, lilyn, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, magnesium, manganese, mannose, mente (Kannada), mentikura (Telugu), mentulu (Telugu), methi (Assamese, Bengali, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Maithili, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Urdu), methika (Sanskrit), methini, methri, methro, methylnicotinic acid, methyl-protodeltonin, methyl-protodioscin, minerals, mithi guti (Assamese), N-acetyl-beta-D-hexosaminidase, naringenin, niacin, nicotinic acid, N-methyl nicotinic acid, N,N'-dicarbazyl, nucleotide pyrophosphatase, oleic acid, oligomannosyl-1,4 phosphorylase, orientin 2''-O-p-trans-coumarate, pazhitnik grecheskiy (Russian), penantazi (Burmese), phenolic acids, phosphorus, phytate, phytic acid, potassium, protodioscin, quarto, quercetin, quercetin 3,7-O-alpha-L-dirhamnoside, quercetin 3-O-beta-D-glucosyl(1-->2)-beta-D-galactoside 7-O-beta-D-glucoside, raffinose, riboflavin, rubidium, sag methi (Hindi), sapogenins, saponins, sarsasapogenin, sarsasapogenin 3-O-beta-D-xylopyranosyl-(1-->6)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, sarviapila (Finnish), scopoletin, selenium, shabaliidag (Pahlavi), shambala, shanbelile (Farsi), smilagenin, sotolone, stachyose, star fenugreek, steroidal sapogenins, strontium, sucrose, syndrex, titanium, tricin, tricin 7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, trigonella, Trigonella, Trigonella balansae, Trigonella caerulea, Trigonella foenum-gracecum, Trigonella poenumgraecum L., Trigonella semen, Trigonella stellata, trigonelline, trigoneoside Xa, trigoneoside Xb, trigoneoside XIb, trigoneoside XIIa, trigoneoside XIIb, trigoneoside XIIIa, UDP-galactose-dependent (1-->6)-alpha-D-galactosyltransferase, uluhal (Sinhala), uwatu (Swahili), vendayam (Tamil), venthayam (Malayalam), vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitexin, vitexin 2''-O-p-trans-coumarate, wheat-fenugreek, yamogenin, zinc, ZT-5.
  • Brand names: Fenugreek by Nature's Way, Fenugreek by Now, Fenugreek by Planetary Formulas, Fenugreek by Puritan's Pride, Fenugreek by Solaray, Fenugreek by Vitamin World, Fenugreek Caps by Thompson Nutritional Products, Fenugreek Capsules by Greenbush, Fenugreek Freeze Dried by Eclectic Institute, Fenugreek Liquid Extract by Eclectic Institute, Fenugreek Liquid Extract by Nature's Answer, Fenugreek Powder by Greenbush, Fenugreek Seed by Doctor's Trust, Fenugreek Seed by Natural Factors, Fenugreek Seed by Nature's Herbs, Fenugreek Seed by Swanson, Fenugreek Seed C/S Powder by Alternative Health and Herb Remedies, Fenugreek Seed Liquid Extract by Gaia Herbs, Fenugreek Tea by Alvita Tea, Fenugreek Tincture by Alternative Health and Herb Remedies, Fenugrene by Laboratoires Legra (France), Organic Fenugreek Seed by Solaray, Single Herb Fenugreek Vegicaps by Christopher's Original Formulas.
  • Combination product examples: Fibernat (fenugreek, guar gum, and wheat bran), Billberry Plus by Eagle Pharmaceuticals (Australia), Blood Sugar by Nature's Way, Blood Sugar Formula by Iherb Inc., Bustea Enhancement Tea by Greenbush, Comfrey and Fenugreek by Dial Herbs, Completia Diabetic Multivitamin by Nature's Way, Daily Detox II by DNE Pharmaceuticals Inc., Enhancement Blend Capsules by Greenbush, Femaprin by Nature's Way, Fenugreek Plus by Metagenics, Fenugreek and Thyme by Nature's Sunshine, Fenugreek and Thyme by Now, Fenugreek and Thyme by Solaray, Fenulife® Best Weight Control by Swanson, Fenulin by Gerard House Ltd (United Kingdom), FenuZyme™ Bronc Care by Amazing Herbs/Theramune, Fibernat (fenugreek seed powder, guar gum, and wheat bran), FolliGro™ System 1 Fenugreek Extract by FolliGro Ltd, Gadional by Cinfa (Spain), Garlic and Horseradish Complex by Suisse Naturopathics (Australia), Garlic and Horseradish Plus C Complex by Cenovis (Australia), Gland Formula Liquid by Alternative Health and Herb Remedies, Glucobetic® by Flourish, Gluco Science™ by Source Naturals, Glucose Modulators by Solgar, Glucose Optimizer by Jarrow, Glucose Regulation by Doctor's Choice, Glycemic Factors by BioChem, Heart Formula Tincture by Alternative Health and Herb Remedies, Herbal Breast Enlargement Kit by Greenbush, Immune System Formula Tincture by Alternative Health and Herb Remedies, Lung Support Formula Tincture by Alternative Health and Herb Remedies, More Milk Plus by MotherLove, Natural Factors betaine HCL with Fenugreek, Panax Complex by Blackmores Ltd (Australia), Promilin Fenugreek Extract by Source Naturals, Sinus and Hayfever by Vitaglow (Australia), Sthenorex by Laboratoires Pharmygiene (France), Sugar Balance by Lean Results, Sugar Ease by Pinnacle, Super CKL Colon Detox by Amazing Herbs/Theramune, System Well by Nature's Way, System Well Ultimate Immunity by Nature's Way, Ultimate Respiratory Cleanse by Nature's Secret, Women's Nursing Mom Tea by Yogi Tea.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Fenugreek is a plant in the family Fabaceae. Both the leaves and the seeds are commonly used. Fenugreek is produced in Asia, the Middle East, South America, and southern Europe. Fenugreek seeds are often used in the making of garam masala (a South Asian spice blend).
  • Fenugreek has a long history of medicinal uses in Indian and Chinese medicine and has been used for numerous purposes, including inducing labor and aiding digestion, and as a general tonic to improve metabolism and health.
  • Preliminary animal and methodologically weak human trials have suggested possible hypoglycemic and antihyperlipidemic properties of oral fenugreek seed powder. Preliminary trials have also studied the use of fenugreek as a galactagogue, and for exercise performance enhancement, dyspepsia, head lice, obesity, and skin care. However, at this time, the evidence is not sufficient to draw further conclusions regarding the use of fenugreek for these indications.
  • Caution is warranted in patients concurrently taking fenugreek and hypoglycemic agents, in whom blood glucose levels should be monitored. Hypokalemia has also been reported, and potassium levels should be monitored in patients taking concomitant hypokalemic agents and those with underlying cardiac disease.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.