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As a commonly eaten food, fenugreek is generally regarded as safe. The only common side effect is mild gastrointestinal distress when it is taken in high doses.
Animal studies have found fenugreek essentially non-toxic, 1 and no serious adverse effects have been seen in 2-year follow-up of human trials. 2 However, extracts made from fenugreek have been shown to stimulate uterine contractions in guinea pigs. 3 For this reason, pregnant women should not take fenugreek in dosages higher than is commonly used as a spice, perhaps 5 g daily. Besides concerns about pregnant women, safety in young children, nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has also not been established.
Because fenugreek can lower blood sugar levels, it is advisable to seek medical supervision before combining it with diabetes medications.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking diabetes medications, such as insulin or oral hypoglycemic drugs , fenugreek may enhance their effects. This may cause excessively low blood sugar, and you may need to reduce your dose of medication.
- Muralidhara, Narasimhamurthy K, Viswanatha S, Ramesh BS. Acute and subchronic toxicity assessment of debitterized fenugreek powder in the mouse and rat. Food Chem Toxicol. 37(8):831-8.
- Bhardwaj PK, Dasgupta DJ, Prashar BS, Kaushal SS. Control of hyperglycaemia and hyperlipidaemia by plant product. J Assoc Physicians India. 42(1):33-5.
- Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Wiley; 1996:243-244.