fenugreek (generic name)
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Adults (18 years and older):
Products rich in fenugreek fiber may interfere with the absorption of oral medications due to its mucilaginous fiber content and high viscosity in the gut. Medications should be taken separately from such products. However, it should be noted that fenugreek is rarely used for its fiber content.
There is no proven effective dose of fenugreek in adults. For type 1 diabetes, 100 grams of debitterized powdered fenugreek seeds divided in two equal doses has been used. For type 2 diabetes, 2.5 grams of fenugreek seed powder in capsule form, twice daily for three months, or 25 grams seed powder, divided in two equal doses has been used. For hyperlipidemia, 2.5 grams of fenugreek seed powder in capsule form, twice daily for three months, or 100 grams debitterized powdered seeds divided in two equal doses has been used.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven effective dose of fenugreek in children.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Caution is warranted in patients with known fenugreek allergy, or with allergy to chickpeas due to possible cross-reactivity. Inhaling fenugreek seed powder may cause allergic or asthmatic reactions, including bronchospasm
Side Effects and Warnings
Fenugreek has traditionally been considered safe and well tolerated. There are rare reports of dizziness, diarrhea, gas, facial swelling, numbness, difficulty breathing (after inhalation from occupational exposure), fainting, increased risk of bleeding, reduction of blood sugars, reduction of serum potassium levels, and alteration of thyroid hormone levels.
Blood sugars should be followed in patients with diabetes. Patients should be monitored if taking anticoagulants or drugs that affect potassium levels.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Literature review reveals no reliable human data or systematic study of fenugreek during pregnancy or lactation. Caution is warranted during pregnancy due to potential hypoglycemic effects. In addition, both water and alcoholic extracts of fenugreek exert a stimulating effect on isolated guinea pig uterus, especially during late pregnancy. As a result, fenugreek may possess abortifacient effects, and is usually not recommended for use in doses higher than found in foods during pregnancy.
Interactions with Drugs
Products rich in fenugreek fiber may interfere with the absorption of oral medications due to its mucilaginous fiber content and high viscosity in the gut. Medications should be taken separately from such products.
Fenugreek is thought to possess both acute and chronic hypoglycemic properties. Concomitant use with other hypoglycemic agents may lower serum glucose more than expected, and levels should be monitored closely
Fenugreek should be used cautiously with medications that decrease blood potassium levels, diuretics, laxatives, mineralocorticoids, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), birth control pills, thyroid medications, corticosteroids, anticoagulants, cardiac glycosides, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Use cautiously when taking with drugs used for cancer or high cholesterol, or when taking with alcohol.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Fenugreek may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
Fenugreek should also be used cautiously with agents that decrease blood potassium levels, diuretic agents, laxatives, phytoestrogens, and herbs with monoamine oxidase inhibitor properties. Use cautiously when taking with drugs used for cancer, pain, heart conditions, thyroid conditions or high cholesterol. Fenugreek may interact with antioxidants.