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© 2018 Steven Foster

A fenugreek monograph for the home

Latin Name: Trigonella foenum-graecum

Common Name: fenugreek

This fenugreek monograph provides basic information about fenugreek—common names, usefulness and safety, and resources for more information.


Fenugreek Basics

  • Fenugreek is in the spice blend garam masala. It’s used to flavor imitation maple syrup and as a condiment. Its extracts are also in soaps and cosmetics.
  • Historically, fenugreek was used for a variety of health conditions, including digestive problems and to induce childbirth.
  • Today, fenugreek is used as a dietary supplement for diabetes, to stimulate milk production during breastfeeding, and for other health conditions. It’s also used topically as a dressing for wounds or eczema.
  • The seeds are made into capsules, powders, teas, liquid extracts, and a dressing for the skin.

Fenugreek in Health Research

  • We have little conclusive evidence about the effects of fenugreek on health conditions, though we do have a fair amount of information on its possible side effects.

Fenugreek Research Summary

  • A few small studies found that fenugreek may help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes (generally type 2), but the evidence is weak.
  • Some studies suggest—but haven’t proven—that fenugreek may increase milk production in women who are breastfeeding.
  • There isn’t enough scientific evidence to support the use of fenugreek for any health condition.

Fenugreek Preparation & Dosing *

*Always check with your doctor before taking any alternative therapy.
Application Dosage Preparation
Liquid Extract 2-6 mL (1:2 20% POH) Divided daily with meals (Braun & Cohen 2015)
Tincture 1-6 mL (1:6 60% POH) Divided daily with meals
Oral intake 18 grams seed Eaten with meals (Braun & Cohen 2015)
Infused Poultice 50grams in 250 mL water Applied topically
Braun, L. & Cohen, M. (2015) Herbs & Natural Supplements: an evidence-based guide, Volume 2. Churchill Livingstone: Elsevier Australia
EMA (2011) Community herbal monograph on Trigonella foenumgraecum L., semen. Retrieved from

Fenugreek Safety

  • Monitor blood sugar level if diabetic.
  • Do not take fenugreek while pregnant because it may affect uterine contractions.
  • Fenugreek may act like estrogen in the body and be unsafe for women with hormone-sensitive cancers.
  • Side effects of fenugreek may include diarrhea; a maple-like smell to urine, breast milk, and perspiration; and a worsening of asthma.
  • There’s little information on the risks of taking fenugreek while breastfeeding.
  • Fenugreek should not be used in place of conventional medical care or to delay seeking care if you have health problems. This is particularly true if you have diabetes.

Fenugreek References


PubMed Articles About Trigonella foenum-graecum

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)[Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; [1988] – [cited 2018 Apr 5]. Available from:

Geberemeskel, GA., Debebe, YG., Nguse, NA., (2020) Antidiabetic Effect of Fenugreek Seed Powder Solution (.) on Hyperlipidemia in Diabetic Patients.

Many drugs are commercially available for use in the management of diabetes. However, their side effects and high costs underscore the need for herbal alternative drugs. is one of the medicinal plants which are important in the management of diabetes mellitus. This study investigated the effect of seed powder solution on the lipid profile of newly diagnosed type II diabetic patients.

Steels, E., Steele, ML., Harold, M., Coulson, S., (2018) Efficacy of a Proprietary Trigonella foenum-graecum L. De-Husked Seed Extract in Reducing Menopausal Symptoms in Otherwise Healthy Women: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study.

Trigonella foenum-graecum seed extract has demonstrated hormone modulatory activity, providing biological plausibility for relieving menopausal symptoms. The study aimed to assess efficacy of a standardized T. foenum-graecum de-husked seed extract in reducing menopausal symptoms in healthy aging women. The study was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that recruited 115 women aged 40 to 65 years of which 59 were allocated to active (n = 54 completed) and 56 to placebo (n = 50 completed). Active treatment was T. foenum-graecum de-husked seed extract, 600 mg per day for 12 weeks. Outcome measures included Menopause-Specific Quality of Life (MENQOL) questionnaire, frequency of hot flushes and night sweats and serum estradiol levels. There was a significant reduction in menopausal symptoms in the active group compared with placebo as assessed by total MENQOL score (p < 0.001); reflected by significant improvements in the vasomotor (p < 0.001), psychosocial (p < 0.001), physical (p < 0.001) and sexual symptoms (p < 0.001) domains. Vasomotor outcomes correlated with hot flushes, the active group reporting significantly less daytime hot flushes and night sweats at 12 weeks (p < 0.001). The average estradiol levels were similar in both the active group and placebo group after treatment. This study demonstrated that this proprietary T. foenum-graecum de-husked seed extract may reduce menopausal symptoms in healthy women. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Rao, A., Grant, R., (2020) The effect of Trigonella foenum-graecum extract on prostate-specific antigen, and prostate function in otherwise healthy men with benign prostate hyperplasia.

The aim of this trial was to evaluate the effect of a standardised Trigonella foenum-graecum (Fenugreek) extract on the symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) using a double-blind randomised placebo controlled design. The study recruited 100 healthy males aged between 45 and 80 years with symptoms of BPH who recorded a minimum score of eight on the International Prostate Symptom Score. Participants were randomised to an oral dose of either 600mg Trigonella foenum-graceum per day or placebo for 12 weeks. The primary outcome measure was the International Prostate Symptom Score total and subdomain scores. The secondary outcomes were serum levels of the hormones (testosterone, free testosterone, and sex hormone binding globulin) prostate-specific antigen, and safety markers. The results indicated that Trigonella foenum-graceum did not have an effect on improving the symptoms of BPH. Hormone levels, safety markers, and prostate-specific antigen remained unchanged and within normal limits after 12 weeks, which adds to the safety profile of this specialised extract.

Rao, AS., Hegde, S., Pacioretty, LM., DeBenedetto, J., Babish, JG., (2021) and Supplemented Chapatis Safely Improve HbA1c, Body Weight, Waist Circumference, Blood Lipids, and Fatty Liver in Overweight and Diabetic Subjects: A Twelve-Week Safety and Efficacy Study.

In 2019, ∼ 463 million people globally had diabetes mellitus (DM), with China (25.1%), India (16.6%), and the United States (6.69%) representing nearly 50% of that total. The primary objectives of this exploratory study were to assess the safety and potential efficacy of and fenugreek seed supplemented chapatis in overweight (OW) and type 2 DM subjects. Forty subjects (15/OW; 9/DM; 16/DM/OW) consumed two chapatis twice a day 6 days/week for a daily dose of 5.45 g of an /fenugreek combination over 12 weeks with no changes in lifestyle or medications. Anthropometric, glycemic, and vascular variables were recorded at baseline and after 6 and 12 weeks. Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), plasma lipids, and complete metabolic profile were measured at baseline and termination. Compliance, estimated during twice-daily individual delivery of precooked chapatis, was 100%, with no significant adverse effects. At termination, body weights, body mass index, waist and hip circumferences, index of central obesity, HbA1c, fasting blood glucose, 2-h postprandial blood glucose, estimated average glucose over 12 weeks, total cholesterol (TC), non-high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), and triglycerides (TG) were decreased ( < .05) over all subjects. Subjects with HbA1c ≥7.0 exhibited greater improvements in all glycemic variables than HbA1c <7.0 subjects. In addition, the decrease in HbA1c was positively correlated with decreases in (1) hepatic enzymes alkaline phosphatase ( = 0.301,  = .0067) and aspartate transaminase ( = 0.277,  = .0129), (2) systolic blood pressure ( = 0.388,  = .0004), and (3) number of diagnostic metabolic syndrome criteria exhibited per subject ( = 0.391,  = .0005), cardiovascular risk score (CRS) ( = 0.281,  = .0115), and hepatic steatosis index (HSI) ( = 0.223,  = .0467). Atherogenic and diabetogenic indexes TC/HDL, low density lipoprotein/HDL, VLDL/HDL, and TG/HDL were all decreased ( < .05). Among all subjects, improvement ( < .05) was seen in CRS (-10.7%), fatty liver index (-19.8%), lipid accumulation product (-13.8%), and HSI (-7.53%). /fenugreek supplemented chapatis present a safe and seamless dietary modification to address cardiometabolic risk.

Najdi, RA., Hagras, MM., Kamel, FO., Magadmi, RM., (2020) A randomized controlled clinical trial evaluating the effect of (fenugreek) versus glibenclamide in patients with diabetes.

Herbal medicines long have been used in the management of diabetes mellitus (DM).