By Sanjay Acharya (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsFenugreek has been long considered as one of the little giants of the culinary world. Cultivated predominantly in Asia and the Middle East, fenugreek is an important ingredient in Indian cuisine. Fenugreek finds great importance in Indian Ayurvedic traditional medicine and is a common ingredient in Indian kitchens. Generally, it is used as a spice (seeds), herbs (dried or fresh leaves) and as vegetables (sprouts and micro greens).
Fenugreek is highly valued for its flavor and health benefits which make it susceptible to overuse and abuse in the form of strong supplements and health tonics for which there have been adverse consequences worth discussing. Though it would be impractical to completely omit fenugreek from your diet because of its health benefits, however it is advisable to read further to gain an insight into the adverse side effects of fenugreek to stay informed and use fenugreek responsibly.
Fenugreek Side Effects:
1. Body and Urine Odor:
Ironically the correct dosage of fenugreek may cause body and urine odor similar to that of maple syrup. Though it’s more of a sickly sweet smell than an odor, not many people would prefer the smell. The question is; is it a worthy price to pay considering the benefits of consuming the right amounts of fenugreek? The answer for that in a lot of cases would be a yes as the smell can be simply masked by a good deodorant spray. This is just for your information in case you are on fenugreek supplements and wonder why you smell like a sweet treat.
2. Loose Motions:
Fenugreek has been known to cause loose motions in some mothers and breastfeeding babies and it is usually advised to stop consumption whilst symptoms persist. Loose motions or diarrhea can be easily passed on from mother to baby via means of breast milk which could result in severe dehydration for the breastfeeding child.
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Another of the Fenugreek seeds side effects is that it may cause hypoglycemia in some mothers. Hypoglycemia is a medical emergency that involves drastically lowered blood sugar levels hence inadequate glucose supply to the brain and can cause serious symptoms such as seizures, permanent brain damage and even death.
4. Uterine Contractions in Pregnant Women:
Fenugreek is a uterine stimulant hence excess dosage could cause adverse uterine contractions that may bring on early labor. Fenugreek has oxytocin, a drug that brings on uterine contractions. Though consuming fenugreek in moderate amounts in cooked food is considered safe, taking it is as a supplement in medication form is unadvisable during pregnancy or labor without prior consent from a registered medical practitioner.
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5. Allergic Reactions:
Considering fenugreek belongs to the same genus of peanuts or chickpeas, it is not uncommon for some people to have allergic reactions to fenugreek. Common symptoms are rash, hives, breathlessness and fainting. Discontinue consumption of fenugreek if you are susceptible to fenugreek allergies.
6. Might be Unsafe for Children:
Apart from causing loose motions, there have been reports of loss of consciousness in children brought on by drinking fenugreek tea. It is advisable to discontinue use of fenugreek supplements for children and only use moderate amounts in the meals prepared for your child.
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7. Fenugreek Side effects in Men:
Men that suffer from asthma are advised to be cautious about fenugreek consumption because there have been reports of fenugreek aggravating breathing patterns of those suffering from asthma. People suffering from thyroid complication should consult a registered medical practitioner about their fenugreek consumption. There have been multiple reports of fenugreek causing thyroid dysfunctions in males that used fenugreek supplements to treat hernia and other thyroid symptoms.
8. Fenugreek Interactions with Prescription Drugs:
Fenugreek might decrease blood sugar and taken in combination with diabetes medications may cause dangerously low levels of sugar in the system. Some medications used for diabetes that commonly interact with fenugreek are glimepiride, insulin, glyburide and others.
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