5 Overall Benefits of Fenugreek

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5 Overall Benefits of Fenugreek

Have you found yourself developing more interest in your health and wellness? Many others have shared the same desire to learn more about how the things they put in their bodies can impact their health.

One area of wellness that many people have delved into is the inclusion of certain herbs, spices, and other natural supplements in their daily routine. Fenugreek seeds or Methi seeds are one of the spices that have drawn interest due to their potential health benefits.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about possible fenugreek benefits and cautions to take when using this spice.

What is Fenugreek?

Before we delve into the answer to the question of what is fenugreek good for, let’s talk about what exactly it is. Fenugreek is an herb found throughout western Asia, the Mediterranean, and some parts of Europe. The fenugreek plant resembles clover but the part often used for culinary and medicinal purposes is the seed.

The small seeds are used in several formats, including:

  • Whole soaked fenugreek seeds
  • Fenugreek powder
  • Fenugreek seed extract
  • Fenugreek seed tea
  • Fenugreek supplement

Some people compare the taste and scent of fenugreek to maple syrup, so it’s no wonder that fenugreek has been used in cooking for centuries. Some believe that it has medicinal properties, although very limited research exists to confirm the health benefits of fenugreek.

Benefit #1: May Help Control Blood Sugar Levels

One of the potential benefits of fenugreek for which further human research is needed is its role in controlling blood sugar levels. Some evidence demonstrates that a diet including 100 grams of ground fenugreek seeds helped diabetic patients reduce their fasting blood glucose.

The impact of fenugreek on blood glucose level was also observed in healthy, non-diabetic subjects. However, it’s important to note that the high fiber content of fenugreek seed powder might be the reason behind their blood sugar management properties.

Further studies are needed to better understand:

  • How fenugreek can help those who suffer from diabetes or insulin resistance manage their blood sugar
  • Why fenugreek impacts blood sugar levels
  • If fenugreek is a viable option for diabetics
  • The proper amount of fenugreek to provide benefits without any negative effects

Benefit #2: Fenugreek May Increase Milk Production

The second potential health benefit of fenugreek might offer a boost in milk production in those who breastfeed. Some nursing individuals might have difficulty producing enough milk supply to meet their infant’s nutritional needs.

In limited studies, fenugreek tea was shown to help those struggling with milk production to provide more milk for their babies. One study analyzed 66 women and their breast milk levels. Of these, 22 were provided with tea containing fenugreek daily throughout the study. These 22 produced significantly more milk than those in the other two groups who didn’t drink fenugreek tea daily.

Further studies are needed, but fenugreek tea may be a potential solution for some individuals who breastfeed their infants and need help producing sufficient amounts of milk. However, before you add a highly concentrated fenugreek supplement to your routine, you must speak with your healthcare provider. There are certain risks associated with fenugreek in pregnancy and breastfeeding that you should discuss with a healthcare professional.

Benefit #3: May Help Boost Testosterone Levels

Some studies have analyzed fenugreek’s ability to boost testosterone levels. One study had 60 participants, each of whom met the following criteria:

  • Were between the ages of 25 to 52
  • Had generally good health
  • Did not have erectile dysfunction

These men were provided with fenugreek supplements daily for six weeks. The self-reported results indicated that those who took the supplements experienced an improvement in muscle strength, libido, and overall energy levels.

A second study analyzed college-aged men and the impact of fenugreek on strength training. The study had 30 participants, half of whom received a fenugreek supplement daily for four weeks. The other half received a placebo. The group receiving fenugreek had an increase in testosterone levels, while the placebo group did not.

Benefit #4: May Also Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties

You might find fenugreek in certain soaps and other body care items. For years, fenugreek seed powder was used as a home remedy to treat skin and scalp issues like hair loss and promote hair growth. This is because there is potential for fenugreek to have some anti-inflammatory effect on some skin conditions.

One study did find that fenugreek extract helped relieve swelling in the paws of rats. However, human studies are needed to confirm the potential use of fenugreek in treating skin conditions in people.

Benefit #5: Some Evidence of Heartburn Relief

Finally, some hope that fenugreek can help those with heartburn find relief from the pain and discomfort. One human study looked at individuals suffering from frequent attacks of heartburn. These subjects were given a product containing both fiber supplementation and fenugreek 30 minutes before their meals for two weeks.

The study provided the following insight into fenugreek’s effect on heartburn:

  • After two weeks, those who took fenugreek showed improvement in symptoms
  • The improvement with fenugreek was similar to that of an antacid medication

This study indicates that fenugreek may have some potential to provide relief from frequent heartburn symptoms.

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Are There Side Effects Associated with Fenugreek?

One thing you should be aware of is that there is the potential for some fairly serious side effects, especially when you take highly concentrated fenugreek supplements. Most healthy people can consume the amount of fenugreek typically found in foods without problems. However, supplements containing high levels can get a little more dangerous.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health warns that too much fenugreek can cause:

  • Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, diarrhea, and bloating
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Extreme drop in blood sugar levels
  • Changes in appetite
  • Allergic reactions
  • Liver toxicity
  • Certain congenital disabilities when taken in high concentrations during pregnancy

It might also not be advisable to take fenugreek supplements while breastfeeding.

Some medications may also interact with fenugreek. You shouldn’t use fenugreek if you take any of the following:

  • Warfarin or other blood thinners
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants
  • Cyclophosphamide treatments for certain types of cancers

Those with hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast, ovarian, or prostate, should also avoid fenugreek, as should those who are pregnant. In short, it’s always wise to speak with a healthcare provider before adding any supplements to your wellness routine.

What Are the Best Ways to Take Fenugreek?

The safest way to use fenugreek is in small amounts as part of your normal spice rack rotation. When you use fenugreek to flavor your food, you don’t have the higher risks of interactions than you do with highly-concentrated supplements. Some tasty ways to try fenugreek include:

  • Fenugreek seed – You can cook with whole fenugreek seeds. Some people like to lightly toast the seeds as this reduces their bitter taste. After you’ve toasted your fenugreek seeds, you can add them to curries and other richly flavored dishes. Fenugreek is also frequently a spice in lentil dishes.
  • Fenugreek powder– Powdered fenugreek is widely available. You can find both plain fenugreek or spice mixes that contain fenugreek in many places. Not sure about how to use fenugreek powder? Well, fenugreek powders can be used to spice up vegetable dishes, soups, stews, chutneys, curries, and more. You’ll often find fenugreek in Indian, Ethiopian, and Middle Eastern cuisines.
  • Fenugreek leaves – Although most fenugreek spice mixes come from the seeds, you can also use the leaves as a spice in many dishes. The leaves are often sold in fresh and dried format and are a tasty addition to sauces, soups, and other vegetable-heavy dishes.
  • Tea with fenugreek – When using fenugreek in tea, you will crush the seeds and mix them with other herbs. The tea is brewed in boiling water and sipped as a caffeine-free refreshment.
  • Fenugreek extract – The extract of fenugreek seeds isn’t used for culinary purposes as much as it’s used in soap and other skincare products. You might find fenugreek extract as an ingredient in natural body care items.

Try Fenugreek with High-Quality Products from Starwest Botanicals

Many of the potential benefits of fenugreek require further study. However, most people can safely incorporate small amounts of the spice into their food without serious problems. If you’d like to spice up some of your meals, adding a little bit of fenugreek can be one way to do so.

At Starwest Botanicals you can find premium, organic, ground fenugreek andtop-quality spice mixes containing fenugreek seeds. You can use these spices to create some fantastic dishes with unique flavors. We’ve been in the business of providing the best quality herbs and spices for 40 years, so you can shop with confidence.

Check out our wide selection of products today.

Sources:

NIH. Fenugreek. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/fenugreek

PubMed. Effect of Fenugreek Seeds on Blood Glucose. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2194788/

PubMed. Hypoglycaemic Effect of Aqueous Extract. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11370345/

PubMed. The Effect of Galactagogue Tea on Breast Milk. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21261516/

PubMed. Physiological Aspects of Male Libido Enhanced by Standardized Trigonella foenum. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21312304/

PubMed. Effects of a Purported Aromatase and 5a-Reductase Inhibitor on Hormone Profiles. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21116018/

PubMed. Medicinal Plants Used in Treatment of Inflammatory Skin Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3834722/

PubMed. Anti-Heartburn Effects of a Fenugreek Fiber Product. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20623611/

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Fenugreek. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/fenugreek