Fenugreek is native to central and south Asia (predominantly India). It is one of the oldest staple remedial plants with a myriad of benefits. Nowadays, it is also grown throughout the US, North Africa, and the Mediterranean regions.
A lot of research has been done on the goodness of fenugreek and how it can positively impact human health. In this post, we will look into all of that.
Table Of Contents
What Is Fenugreek? How Does It Work?
Fenugreek is an annual herb that belongs to the Fabaceae family, the same family as soy. The fresh and dried seeds of this plant have been used as a spice and flavoring agent for ages. India accounts for its major production throughout the world, with 80% output coming directly from Rajasthan.
Fenugreek helps stabilize blood sugar levels and stimulates the production of insulin. Hence, it is very effective for people dealing with diabetes (1).
This is just one of the ways fenugreek can benefit you. There are more benefits that we will discuss in the next section.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Fenugreek?
1. Fenugreek Boosts Testosterone
Fenugreek can boost testosterone levels. The hormone plays a vital role in many bodily functions in males.
A study conducted on 100 male participants between the ages of 35 to 65 years showed an increase in serum testosterone levels and the sperm count. The participants were made to add a fenugreek supplement to their diets for 12 weeks to tackle testosterone deficiency (2).
2. Is Beneficial During Breastfeeding
A study was conducted on 122 participants to review the systematic galactagogue effect of fenugreek. The study compared the result of fenugreek with another galactagogue and a placebo. It was found that ingesting fenugreek could increase breast milk production in lactating women (3).
3. Promotes Hair Growth
Fenugreek seeds are packed with various nutrients that promote hair growth. Even its leaves help in this regard. Research suggests applying the paste made from the leaves to the scalp promotes hair growth and preserves the natural hair color (4).
A study conducted on men and women between 30 and 67 years of age showed a positive effect on their hair health. About 83% of the volunteers reported an improvement in hair volume and hair thickness – post treatment with fenugreek (5).
4. Can Aid Weight Loss
Early research shows that 500 mg of fenugreek supplement can decrease body fat. Another study conducted on four groups of mice showed a significant decrease in body weight following ingestion of fenugreek over 22 days (6).
Fenugreek also contains fiber that promotes a feeling of fullness and keeps people from overeating. In a study, participants who drank fenugreek tea felt less hungry compared to the other group that didn’t (7).
5. Aids Diabetes Treatment
The fiber in fenugreek forms a thick and sticky gel in the intestine, which makes it harder to digest excess sugars and bad fats.
A study was conducted on two groups of people with type 2 diabetes. The group that consumed fenugreek powder twice a day saw a significant improvement in their diabetes symptoms (8).
6. Can Treat Dandruff
Fenugreek can also be used as a conditioner, thanks to its high mucilage content. The plant has been used since the ancient times to treat a flaky scalp. The powder of the seeds can also be blended with a hair mask or a conditioner to accentuate its benefits and naturally soften hair.
Fenugreek also makes for a relatively inexpensive treatment for dandruff. The seeds and the leaves can be used for this purpose, both externally and internally, as they have antibacterial and antifungal properties (9).
7. May Treat Acne
Fenugreek works within the digestive system to eliminate all the toxins from the body. The leaves of fenugreek can work wonders for acne. Research shows that applying the paste of the leaves to acne can prevent fresh outbreaks (10). You can apply the paste in the night and wash it off the following morning with warm water.
Fenugreek also contains salicylic acid that unclogs pores (11).
8. Improves Skin Health
Fenugreek is a wonderful and harmless alternative to all the contemporary creams that usually contain petroleum products and other chemicals.
Fenugreek has natural oils that help in hydrating, moisturizing, and softening skin. The potassium, carotene, and vitamin C in the seeds boost skin elasticity and overall health (12).
9. Helps Relieve Symptoms Of PCOS
In a study, women with hyperandrogenism, menstrual disturbances, and infertility were given fenugreek capsules. The participants saw a major improvement in their symptoms within two months.
The participants had also reported no side effects from the fenugreek capsules. Their ovaries reverted to normal health, and their period cycles were restored (13).
10. Can Relieve Constipation
Fenugreek improves digestion and prevents stomach disorders. The seeds are rich in mucilage and help prevent constipation by softening the mucus membranes and improving their composition. The seeds also resist excess mucus production at the same time.
Fenugreek is a bulk-forming laxative, thanks to its high fiber and mucilage content. The seeds expand after coming in contact with water. This triggers a reflex muscular contraction as the volume increases, thereby stimulating bowel movement (14).
11. Treats Heartburn
In a study, fenugreek products were found to reduce the severity of heartburn. Fenugreek had worked similar to an OTC antacid medication (15).
Fenugreek also soothes gastrointestinal inflammation by forming a shield over the intestinal lining.
12. Lowers Cholesterol
Fenugreek seeds lower total cholesterol and LDL (the bad cholesterol). They are rich sources of steroidal saponins that intercept the absorption of cholesterol and triglycerides (16). This way, the seeds discourage the production of cholesterol in the liver.
One human double-blind trial demonstrated that fenugreek, in addition to lowering total cholesterol levels, also stimulated the production of good cholesterol (17).
13. Fight Inflammation
The linolenic and linoleic acids in fenugreek seeds offer protection from inflammation. In addition, the ethanol, mucilage, and flavonoids extracted from fenugreek seeds also contribute to their anti-inflammatory properties (18).
14. Reduce Aluminum Toxicity
In a study, whole fenugreek seed powder could reduce aluminum toxicity by offering protection to the brain, bones, and kidneys (19).
Another study showed that fenugreek could also reduce memory loss. Fenugreek powder can be used for animals as well as a detoxifying supplement that reduces the harmful effects of aluminum toxicity (20).
These are the many ways fenugreek seeds can improve your health. But how do you consume them? Is there a specific method to follow?
How To Consume Fenugreek Seeds
To get the maximum benefit, first, soak fenugreek seeds in water overnight. You can then ground them or use them as they are.
Alternately, you can also buy the vacuum-packed paste in departmental stores.
The seeds can be eaten on an empty stomach. You can also infuse the powder in water, use it as a seasoning, a supplement, or even apply to the affected area.
We have already seen what is responsible for the goodness of fenugreek. We have looked at a few of the power nutrients in these seeds. In the next section, we will look at the other nutrients that make fenugreek a power food.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Fenugreek?
The values in the brackets include the daily value of the particular nutrient the serving of the ingredient meets.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||6.41 g||21%|
|Dietary Fiber||24.6 g||65%|
|Vitamin A||60 IU||2%|
|Vitamin C||3 mg||5%|
Values sources from USDA, spices, fenugreek seed
That’s an impressive nutritional profile, isn’t it? But can you consume as much fenugreek as you want in a day? Probably not. There is a specific dosage for specific individuals.
How Much Fenugreek Can You Take In A Day?
Different dosages are used in clinical studies and treatments. These depend on the needs of the patient.
- People with high cholesterol can take 10 to 30 grams of the seeds/powder three times a day, with meals.
- Lactating mothers who wish to increase their milk production should aim for 500 to 1000 mg of fenugreek a day.
- People with type 2 diabetes should consider taking 2.5 to 15 grams of the seeds daily.
- Men who want to increase their testosterone levels can opt for 500 to 600 mg of fenugreek daily.
For other diseases, conditions, and symptoms – please refer to the dosages prescribed by your doctor. Always make sure to consult an expert so that you don’t go overboard on supplements.
Fenugreek has a lot of beneficial properties for a wide range of health problems. Including the seeds in your diet is quite simple.
Just be wary of the side effects. If you have a severe medical condition, it is better to visit a physician and keep a tab on any side effects at the early stages of ingestion.
Do you use fenugreek seeds? Did you experience any of the benefits? Do share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment in the box below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is fenugreek safe to take every day?
Taking fenugreek seeds daily can improve your health and maintain a non-toxic eco-system in the body. Hence, you can take it every day.
Can you take fenugreek on an empty stomach?
A moderate amount of fenugreek can be taken on an empty stomach. The best way to consume the seeds/powder is in warm water.
How long does fenugreek take to start working?
Depending on the severity of the condition, the time taken can be as short as 24 to 72 hours or as long as 3 to 9 months or even a year.
What happens if you take too much fenugreek?
As fenugreek is hot, it can cause skin dryness if consumed in excess. Some people have also reported diarrhea, headaches, bloating, gas, and maple syrup odor in the urine.
If fenugreek is not taken as per the recommended dosage, one may also experience nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, facial swelling, and severe allergic reactions (especially in hypertensive people).
Does fenugreek interact with medications?
If you are on medications, we suggest you consult your doctor before taking fenugreek. Fenugreek can lower the blood sugar levels, and hence, people with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar to ensure their levels are not reduced way too low.
Fenugreek is also known to interact with thyroid medicines and may aggravate symptoms of hypothyroidism.
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