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For millennia, fenugreek has been used both as a medicine and as a food spice in Egypt, India, and the Middle East. It was traditionally recommended for increasing milk production in nursing women and for the treatment of wounds, bronchitis, digestive problems, arthritis, kidney problems, and male reproductive conditions.
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Fenugreek?
In a 2-month, double-blind study of 25 individuals with type 2 diabetes, use of fenugreek (1 g per day of a standardized extract) significantly improved some measures of blood sugar control and insulin response as compared to placebo. 1 Triglyceride levels decreased and HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels increased, presumably due to the enhanced insulin sensitivity.
Similar benefits have been seen in animal studies and open human trials, as well. 2
Because the seeds of fenugreek are somewhat bitter, they are best taken in capsule form. The typical dosage is 5 to 30 g of defatted fenugreek taken 3 times a day with meals. The one double-blind study of fenugreek used 1 g per day of a water/alcohol fenugreek extract.
- Gupta A, Gupta R, Lal B. Effect of Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) seeds on glycaemic control and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a double blind placebo controlled study. J Assoc Physicians India. 49():1057-61.
- Sharma RD, Sarkar A, Hazra DK, et al. Use of fenugreek seed powder in the management of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Nutr Res. 1996;16:1331-1339.