Herb Reference Guide

Fenugreek

History

Fenugreek is a member of the Leguminosae family indigenous to the Mediterranean area and now primarily cultivated in India, China and the Middle East. Its Latin name means "Greek Hay" which is a reference to its use to fortify cattle feed due its highly nutritive properties. Traditional Chinese Medicine classifies (hu lu ba) as a yang tonic; especially for kidney yang deficiency. In Ayurvedic Medicine it is called Chandrika or Medhika. In European folk medicine the ground seed was eaten as a meal in convalescence and to improve the assimilation of nutrients in debilitating situations as well as for its gentle bulk laxative effects. It has been recommended by midwives for healthy support of lactation during the breastfeeding months.

Function

There have been some good human clinical trials conducted using the whole seeds and various extracts prepared from the seeds. These studies focused on the effects of Fenugreek on normalizing blood sugar levels and blood lipids. Two studies are referenced below for further information of these effects.

Uses of Fenugreek

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Fenugreek seeds contain steroidal sapponins, diosgenin, coumarin, hydroxy-isoluceine and luceine, tyrosine, protein, B-Complex Vitamins including folate, lecithin and small amounts of vitamin C and beta carotene.

Parts Used

  • Seed

Important precautions

Additional Resources

Gupta, A Et al. J Assoc Physicians India. 2001 Nov; 49:1055-56 Effect of Fenugreek seeds on the glycaemic control and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a double blind placebo controlled study.

Sharma RD, Raghuram TC, Rao NS European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1990 April; 44(4):301-6 Effects of fenugreek seeds on blood glucose and serum lipids in type 1 diabetes.