A Brief about Fenugreek
Fenugreek is known in the scientific world as Trigonella foenum-graecum. It is an herb considered to be highly beneficial for human health and general well-being. This plant can grow to be 2-3 feet tall and has green leaves, small white flowers, and pods. The pods are full of fenugreek seeds that are small in size and of a golden-brownish color. As far as alternative medicine is concerned, the fenugreek has played a crucial role for many centuries. Nowadays, it is mostly considered as a valuable diet supplement. This post will mainly highlight fenugreek benefits.
History and Origin of Fenugreek
In the ancient world, fenugreek was used for both culinary and medical purposes. The Egyptians used it to embalm their bodies, while the Greeks and Romans to feed the cattle. This explains the origin of the Latin foenum graecum, which stands for “Greek Hay”. Fenugreek was also cultivated in the gardens of Charlemagne emperors. It is believed that fenugreek was first used around 1500 B.C as an ancient Egyptian papyrus.
These days, fenugreek is grown in southern Europe, the Mediterranean region, and in Western Asia. Western Europeans and Chinese cultivate it for its aromatic seeds. In other parts of Europe and in Northern Africa, it is used as fodder. Furthermore, it is an irreplaceable Indian curry ingredient.
These days, fenugreek seeds are a common cooking ingredient. In the past, they were believed to help with many health conditions. For example, they were used as a menopause relief, for stomach issues or to induce childbirth.
Down below you can find a lot of information about fenugreek benefits, any possible side effects, precautions, warnings, etc. You will also learn how to use fenugreek.
Top 21 Fenugreek Benefits
1. Fenugreek controls diabetes and blood sugar levels
Research has been conducted on how fenugreek affects metabolic conditions. For example, it is believed that fenugreek may benefit those suffering from both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Also, it seems to have a positive effect on carb tolerance in healthy people.
As part of the study, 50 grams of fenugreek powder was added to a diabetic’s lunches and dinners for 10 days straight. As a result, the patient’s urinary blood sugar clearance was improved by 54%. Their LDL cholesterol level has also reduced.
Another study, in which fenugreek was given to a healthy individual, had similar results. The participant’s blood sugar level was reduced by 13.4% in the span of four hours.
It might be deduced, therefore, that fenugreek helps improve insulin function. However, it has to be mentioned that these results might be attributed to fenugreek’s high fiber content.
2. Fenugreek solves digestive problems
Many digestive issues might be treated with fenugreek. It is believed that the water-soluble fiber, which can be found in fenugreek, helps with constipation. (Check this article about constipation home remedies) Because of its anti-inflammatory effects, it is often included in various diet plans such as the ulcerative colitis diet.
On the other hand, fenugreek is also said to be nutritious and to increase appetite. To analyze this, a study was designed. These experiments aimed to show the effects fenugreek consumption has on motivation to eat and metabolic-endocrine changes.
As it turned out, consuming fenugreek did increase food intake and eating motivation. On the other hand, the study also indicated that fenugreek treatment could not prevent anorexia.
3. Fenugreek reduces cholesterol levels
Fenugreek benefits people with heart conditions, for example patients suffering from arteries hardening and high blood levels (cholesterol and triglycerides). According to a study conducted in India, taking 2.5 grams of fenugreek over the period of three months decreases the cholesterol level of non-insulin-dependent diabetics. It also lowered their triglycerides, but did not affect HDL cholesterol.
4. Fenugreek increases testosterone levels in men
Very often men use supplements containing fenugreek to increase their testosterone levels. There have been researches conducted indicating fenugreek’s positive effects on testosterone and libido levels.
During one such study, 60 men (25-52years) with no erectile problems were given around 600miligrams of fenugreek extract a day over the period of six weeks. Afterwards, the participants admitted that the treatment had a positive effect on their libido, influenced their sexual arousal, and helped them maintain high energy and stamina.
5. Fenugreek reduces inflammation inside the body
Fenugreek benefits those suffering from inflammation within the body, such as:
- Mouth ulcers
- Infection of the tissues beneath the surface of the skin
- Chronic coughs
- Kidney ailments
As Dr. Richard Palmquist claims, fenugeek’s medical quantities have been known for thousands of years. Used by Ayurvedic medicine practitioners, it was believed to decrease blood sugar levels and manage various illnesses such as diabetes.
It seems like fenugreek has the ability to slow the pace at which sugars are being absorbed in the stomach. It can also stimulate insulin levels. In fact, in traditional Chinese medicine, fenugreek is often referred to as “phlegm mover” and believed to calm inflammation within the human body.
6. Fenugreek reduces outside inflammation
Fenugreek not only lowers the inflammation inside the body but also reduces external inflammation. Fenugreek benefits people suffering from inflammation outside the body, such as:
- Pain and swelling in the muscles and lymph nodes
- Leg ulcers
First, the skin needs to be tested to check if it does not cause burning or further inflammation.
7. Fenugreek increases Milk Flow in Breastfeeding
Breast milk is essential for newborns. It is an irreplaceable source of natural nutrition. But, there are many health issues that can lead to reducing breast milk production. Fenugreek may be the best option to treat those issues. It is preferred over prescription drugs because it is natural and safe. Fenugreek is a galactagogue. It is a substance that helps stimulate the milk ducts. As a result, it increases milk production in just 24 hours. Studies supporting this positive effect that fenugreek has on increasing milk supply have been published by Complementary & Alternative Medicine, the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Veterinary Medicine International.
8. Fenugreek Benefits Exercise Performance
According to a study conducted by The Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, supplements containing fenugreek extract combined with creatine increase men’s strength and body composition. As part of the study, 47 men were divided into two groups. One group was given fenugreek extract in addition to creatine. The other group was given creatine and dextrose. Both groups were then subjected to an eight-week long resistance training. As it turned out, the group who was given fenugreek in addition to creatine showed greater increase in lean mass, bench press and leg press strength. It has been concluded that combining fenugreek extract with creatine has a significant impact on upper body strength.
9. Fenugreek reduces Pain in menstrual periods
Fenugreek is also believed to reduce menstrual pains. Therefore, it reduces the need for taking painkillers. Fenugreek helps relieve menstrual pains if it is taken three times a day (1800-2700mg) for the first 3 days of a menstrual period and then taken three times a day (900mg) for the rest of the menstrual cycle.
10. Fenugreek reduces Heartburn
It is believed that consuming fenugreek products like FenuLife, Frutarom Belgium before the two biggest meals of the day might lead to the reducing of heartburn symptoms.
11. Fenugreek helps in losing Weight
Various studies indicate that fenugreek seed extract (392 mg, three times a day, for 2-6 weeks) leads to the reduction of fat intake per day in men who are overweight. However, it was not proven to influence the men’s weight, appetite or their feeling of fullness. During one study, additional 4 or 8 grams of fenugreek fiber were given to breakfast. This did increase the feeling of fullness. It is not indicated, however, how it affected weight loss.
12. Ovarian cysts (polycystic ovary syndrome)
Various researches suggest that fenugreek seed extract intake once a day over the period of 8 weeks does not develop/increase the symptoms of ovarian cysts.
13. Fenugreek Flavors Food
Fenugreek is most commonly used as an ingredient in Indian cuisine. It is most often incorporated in curried dishes. It can also be used to imitate the flavor of maple syrup and tobacco. Moreover, its leaves (Check this article about the uses of fenugreek leaves) can be added to salads, in both fresh and dried form.
14. Fenugreek improves Kidney Health
Fenugreek seeds may reduce the risk of getting kidney stones. As part of one study, kidney stones were artificially developed in male rats. Giving them fenugreek seeds, however, increased their red blood cell count and reduced the number of calcium salts in their kidneys.
While being exposed to aluminum salts, often used to treat kidney failure, might ultimately harm the patient, giving the rats fenugreek seed powder improved their urea, creatinine and blood sugar levels. It also had a positive effect on the quality of kidney tissue.
15. Fenugreek seeds have Anti-Aging Effects
Fenugreek seeds can also do wonders for your skin. In fact, they are said to reduce wrinkles, fine lines and other symptoms of aging.
16. Fenugreek helps cure Acne
Fenugreek might also be beneficial for those with skin problems. It is believed that fenugreek helps cure acne. Fenugreek has anti-inflammatory as well as antibacterial properties and therefore, helps get rid of acne.
17. Fenugreek is a Skin moisturizer
Fenugreeks can be used as a skin moisturizer. Its texture helps prevent the skin from drying and coarsing.
18. Fenugreek reduces Hair Loss
Fenugreek seeds contain hormones that directly affect the hair growth process. Furthermore, they function as an excellent source of protein. As a result, they strengthen the hair.
19. Fenugreek makes hair Shiny and glossy
A fenugreek hair mask might also do wonders to your hair. It can make the hair look extra shiny and glossy. This is due to the fact that seeds of fenugreek are full of lecithin, a substance that has emulsifying properties. Therefore, when the seeds are soaked, they produce this emulsifying substance, which makes your hair look shiny.
20. Fenugreek may reduce dandruff
Dandruff is a hair condition, specific for the winter season. Although there is no one effective treatment for dandruff, one that is believed to work, is using fenugreek (methi) seeds. They can also help with scalp dryness and dermatitis.
21. Fenugreek delays Premature Graying
For a long time, fenugreek seeds have been consumed to delay the process of hair graying. This is due to the fact that fenugreek helps retain hair pigmentation and prevents hair from graying.
Do you know more about fenugreek benefits? Then share with us!
How do I Supplement With Fenugreek?
There is no single right concentration, form, or dosage in which to consume fenugreek. Oftentimes research based on testosterone levels use around 500mg of fenugreek extract. On the other hand, other research might use as much as 2000mg.
When it comes to supplementation, recommendation is to start with 500mg. And then increase the dosage over a period of time. It is also important to be mindful of any possible side effects.
we should take fenugreek either before or with a meal. However, it is most recommended to consume it with the meal that is highest in carbohydrates.
Can I eat raw fenugreek seeds?
There are two forms of fenugreek seeds that can be found: whole and powder. Fenugreek seeds might be eaten in many ways: raw, cooked, in a salad. If one wishes to drink it, it is recommended to use two teaspoons of fenugreek seeds to make tea.
Can I swallow fenugreek seeds?
Fenugreek seeds might be swallowed, but they need to be soaked in water beforehand. Once wet, the seeds will double in size and their taste will deteriorate. It is recommended to swallow them whole and then drink water. However, in order to benefit from fenugreek seeds, it is better to chew them rather than swallow.
Safety and Side Effects
The safety of fenugreek products has been tested many times, most often during animal studies. It has proven to be safe for those who are healthy. Animal studies have only resulted in negative side effects when the dosage was exceeded nearly 50 times.
However, typically of supplements, minor side effects have been repeatedly reported. Those minor side effects might be diarrhea, indigestion, reduced appetite, sweet body odor…
Special Precautions & Warnings
We see lots of fenugreek benefits, right? But there are some precautions and warnings too!
Pregnancy: While no long term-effects of fenugreek consumption by pregnant women has been reported, it is not recommended to take it just before delivery. It might cause early contractions. It might also result in the newborn having an odd body odor.
Breastfeeding: Fenugreek is not dangerous if taken by mouth by women who are breastfeeding. It is even believed to strengthen the breast milk flow. Furthermore, research indicates that consuming 1725 mg three times a day during the period of 21 days is not harmful for the babies.
Children: Fenugreek is not harmful for children. However, some dangers have been linked to drinking fenugreek tea by children. Such dangers might be an unusual body odor and even consciousness loss.
Also, those who are allergic to other plants in the Fabaceae family (peanuts, green peas), might also be allergic to fenugreek.
Diabetes: Fenugreek positively influences blood sugar levels. If you use fenugreek and suffer from diabetes, it is important to always monitor your blood sugar level and look for any potentially dangerous signs.
Nothing can replace consulting a doctor. Ideally, we should consult a doctor before implementing any supplement. It is also essential to settle on a safe dose.
Have we missed any fenugreek benefits in this article? If you know more about fenugreek benefits or side effects, feel free to make a comment.