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Why Fenugreek

Fenugreek is an interesting herb with diverse uses and many potential health benefits.



Fenugreek


According to Health line (Nutrition ) based evidence on scientific. What is fenugreek?

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a plant that stands around 2–3 feet (60–90 cm) tall. It has green leaves, small white flowers, and pods that contain small, golden-brown seeds (1Trusted Source). For thousands of years, fenugreek has been used in alternative and Chinese medicine to treat skin conditions and many other diseases (1Trusted Source). Recently, it has become a common household spice and thickening agent. It can also be found in products, such as soap and shampoo. Fenugreek seeds and powder are also used in many Indian dishes for their nutritional profile and slightly sweet, nutty taste.


Nutrition facts

One tablespoon (11.1 grams) of whole fenugreek seeds contains 35 calories and several nutrients (2 Trusted Source):

  • Fiber: 3 grams

  • Protein: 3 grams

  • Carbs: 6 grams

  • Fat: 1 gram

  • Iron: 20% of the Daily Value (DV)

  • Manganese: 7% of the DV

  • Magnesium: 5% of the DV

Effects on breast milk production

Research suggests that fenugreek may increase breast milk production and the rate of weight gain in newborn babies.

Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your baby’s development (3Trusted Source). However, some mothers may struggle to produce sufficient amounts (3 Trusted Source). While prescription drugs are commonly used to boost breast milk production, research suggests that fenugreek may be a safe, natural alternative. One 14-day study in 77 new mothers found that drinking herbal tea with fenugreek seeds increased breast milk production, which helped babies gain more weight (4).

Another study split 66 mothers into three groups. One received fenugreek tea, the second a placebo, and the third nothing. The volume of pumped breast milk increased from around 1.15 ounces (34 ml) in the control and placebo groups to 2.47 ounces (73 ml) in the fenugreek group (5 Trusted Source).

These studies used fenugreek herbal tea instead of supplements, but supplements are likely to have similar effects (5 Trusted Source, 6 Trusted Source).

Though this research is encouraging, you should discuss any concerns about breastmilk production with your midwife or medical practitioner.


Effects on testosterone levels in men


Initial research suggests that fenugreek can boost testosterone levels and sexual function in men. One of the most common reasons men use fenugreek supplements is to boost testosterone. Some studies have found that it has beneficial effects, including an increased libido.

In an 8-week study, 30 college-aged men performed 4 sessions of weightlifting per week, with half of them receiving 500 mg of fenugreek per day (7 Trusted Source).

Although the non-supplement group experienced a slight decline in testosterone, the fenugreek group showed an increase. This group also had a 2% reduction in body fat (7 Trusted Source).

One 6-week study provided 30 men with 600 mg of fenugreek extract to assess changes in sexual function and libido. Most participants reported increased strength and improved sexual function (8 Trusted Source).

However, more research is needed.


May help control diabetes and blood sugar levels


Evidence supports fenugreek’s role in blood sugar control and the treatment of type 1 and 2 diabetes.

Fenugreek may aid metabolic conditions, such as diabetes. It seems to affect both types 1 and 2 diabetes, along with increasing general carb tolerance in people without these conditions (9 Trusted Source, 10 Trusted Source, 11 Trusted Source).

In one study, people with type 1 diabetes took 50 grams of fenugreek seed powder at lunch and dinner. After 10 days, participants experienced better blood sugar levels and reductions in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol (12 Trusted Source).

In another study, people without diabetes took fenugreek. They experienced a 13.4% reduction in blood sugar levels 4 hours after intake (13 Trusted Source).

These benefits may be due to fenugreek’s role in improving insulin function. That said, the effects seen in studies using whole fenugreek powder or seeds may be partly due to the high fiber content (14 Trusted Source).


Other health benefits of fenugreek


Fenugreek has been used to treat a variety of conditions. However, many of these uses have not been studied well enough to reach strong conclusions.

Preliminary research suggests that fenugreek may aid:

  • Appetite control. So far, 3 studies show a reduction in fat intake and appetite. One 14-day study found that participants spontaneously reduced total fat intake by 17% (15 Trusted Source, 16 Trusted Source, 17 Trusted Source).

  • Cholesterol levels. Some evidence indicates that fenugreek can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels (18 Trusted Source, 19 Trusted Source).

  • Heartburn. One 2-week pilot study in people with frequent heartburn found that fenugreek reduced their symptoms. In fact, its effects matched those of antacid medications (20 Trusted Source).

  • Inflammation. This herb has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in rats and mice. More research is needed to confirm this in humans (21 Trusted Source, 22 Trusted Source).

In addition, some reviews and anecdotal reports from traditional medicine suggest that fenugreek can help with ulcerative colitis, skin problems, and numerous other conditions (23, 24 Trusted Source).



How to use Fenugreek

Fenugreek is an ingredient in many supplements. Since formulations differ, the recommended dose depends on the supplement. There is no single recommended dose.Additionally, the dosage may vary depending on the benefit you seek. Most testosterone-based research uses only around 500 mg of fenugreek extract, while research in other areas has used around 1,000–2,000 mg. If using the whole seed, doses of around 2–5 grams seem effective, but it varies from study to study. Supplements should generally be taken before or with a meal. Since this herb aids blood sugar control, it may be best to take it with your highest-carb meal of the day. Always follow the dosage instructions on the label. If unsure, consult your healthcare

The bottom line

Fenugreek is a unique herb that has long been used in alternative medicine. Based on the available evidence, fenugreek has benefits for lowering blood sugar levels, boosting testosterone, and increasing milk production in breastfeeding mothers. Fenugreek may also reduce cholesterol levels, lower inflammation, and help with appetite control, but more research is needed in these areas.

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