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What other names is Fenugreek known by?

Alholva, Bird's Foot, Bockshornklee, Bockshornsame, Chandrika, Egypt Fenugreek, Fenogreco, Fenugrec, Foenugraeci Semen, Foenugreek, Greek Clover, Greek Hay, Greek Hay Seed, Hu Lu Ba, Medhika, Methi, Methika, Sénégrain, Sénégré, Trigonella, Trigonella Foenum, Trigonella foenum-graecum, Trigonella foenugraecum, Trigonelle, Woo Lu Bar.

What is Fenugreek?

Fenugreek is a plant. The seeds are used to make medicine.

Fenugreek is used for many conditions, but so far, there isn't enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not it is effective for any of them.

Fenugreek is used for digestive problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, constipation, and inflammation of the stomach (gastritis). It is also used for conditions that affect heart health such as "hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis) and for high blood levels of certain fats including cholesterol and triglycerides.

Fenugreek is used for kidney ailments, a vitamin deficiency disease called beriberi, mouth ulcers, boils, bronchitis, infection of the tissues beneath the surface of the skin (cellulitis), tuberculosis, chronic coughs, chapped lips, baldness, cancer, and lowering blood sugar in people with diabetes.

Some men use fenugreek for hernia, erectile dysfunction (ED), and other male problems.

Women who are breast-feeding sometimes use fenugreek to promote milk flow.

Fenugreek is sometimes used as a poultice. That means it is wrapped in cloth, warmed and applied directly to the skin to treat local pain and swelling (inflammation), muscle pain, pain and swelling of lymph nodes (lymphadenitis), pain in the toes (gout), wounds, leg ulcers, and eczema.

The taste and odor of fenugreek resembles maple syrup, and it has been used to mask the taste of medicines.

In foods, fenugreek is included as an ingredient in spice blends. It is also used as a flavoring agent in imitation maple syrup, foods, beverages, and tobacco.

In manufacturing, fenugreek extracts are used in soaps and cosmetics.

Fenugreek leaves are eaten in India as a vegetable.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Diabetes. Some research shows that consuming fenugreek, mixed with food during a meal, seems to lower blood sugar levels after the meal in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Exercise performance. Early research shows that taking 500 mg of fenugreek extract (Indus Biotech, India) for 8 weeks decreases body fat and increases testosterone levels, but does not change muscle strength or endurance in young men. In a similar group of young men, taking a specific fenugreek product (Torabolic, Indus Biotech) reduced body fat and increased leg and bench press performance.
  • Heartburn. Early research suggests that taking a specific fenugreek product (FenuLife, Frutarom Belgium) before the two biggest meals of the day reduces symptoms of heartburn.
  • High cholesterol. There is conflicting evidence about the effectiveness of using fenugreek for lowering cholesterol. Early research shows that taking fenugreek reduces total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol, but has inconsistent effects on high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Breast milk production. There are some reports that taking powdered fenugreek seed daily increases milk production in breastfeeding women, but evidence confirming this is limited. In an early study, taking a specific tea containing fenugreek and other ingredients (Humana Still-Tee, Humana, Germany) increased milk volume.
  • Weight loss. Early research shows that a fenugreek seed extract can reduce daily fat intake in overweight men.
  • Stomach upset.
  • Constipation.
  • "Hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis).
  • Gout.
  • Sexual problems (erectile dysfunction, ED).
  • Fever.
  • Baldness.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate fenugreek for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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