A fenugreek monograph for the home

Latin Name: Trigonella foenum-graecum

Fenugreek seeds

Common Name: fenugreek

Family name: Fabaceae

Part(s) of the plant used: leaves, seeds

Native region and environment: fenugreek (also known as Egyptian hay) is a flowering, fragrant herb from the pea family. The bright green pods produce seeds that are a golden yellow color. Fenugreek is native to the north African Mediterranean and Indian subcontinent. It has been harvested and cultivated in the region for over 6000 years! It is an adaptable dry weather crop that can be grown from sea to the 2000-foot level.

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

History of fenugreek use

Fenugreek is one of the oldest known crops in India. The initial references to diabetes (madhumeha) have been found in classical texts of Ayurveda for millennia. In addition, Araee et al. (2009) reported a wide range of medicinal uses, including for the treatment of inflammation, tumors, cardiovascular diseases, renal insufficiency, infections and metabolic disorders. In Ayurveda, the primary symptom in Prameha disorder is polyuria or frequent urination and all types of Prameha are distinguished by the different types of urine. “The etiology matches with modern medicine where sedentary lifestyle, improper dietary habits and genetic factors are described as causative factors.”[1] As such, fenugreek has been used to treat diabetes for centuries in India.

Fenugreek constituents & diabetes

Fenugreek is an herb commonly used to treat T2DM on the Indian subcontinent today, both the leaves and seeds. It has been shown to improve a body’s ability to maintain glucose homeostasis through several mechanisms. Glucomannan, a mucilaginous fiber, delays sugar absorption in the intestine. Alkaloids in fenugreek seed (fenugrecin and trigonelline) help the body lower the level of sugar in the blood. Amino acids in the herb encourage the liver to release more insulin. It has also been reported that steroidal saponins in fenugreek can improve hypercholesterolemia, a disorder often associated with diabetes. The galactomannan and saponins from fenugreek lower blood glucose, cholesterol, triglyceride and free fatty acids levels and reduce abdominal fat.[2]

Fenugreek Preparation & Dosing *

*Always check with your doctor before taking any alternative therapy.

“Fenugreek leaves and seeds are commonly used for flavoring and as a spice in curries due to their strong flavor and aroma”.[3] If you are interested in working with fenugreek, I would recommend you buy this product from a trusted supplier like Mountain Rose Herbs.

Daily Dosage Table: Fenugreek seeds[4]
Format Dosage Preparation
Dried seed 50-100g Divided throughout day; taken with meals
Tincture 2-6mL 1:2 (fenugreek : alcohol) 40% proof

Fenugreek safety and contraindications

With a safety rating of 2b and interaction class A, fenugreek is generally a safe herb to take, but should not be taken while pregnant. It is recommended that other drugs be taken 1 hour prior to the consumption of fenugreek. As with any hypoglycemiant, monitory your blood sugar closely while taking this herb.

Potential Drug Interactions

None known.

Fenugreek References

[1] Ranade M, Mudgalkar N. A simple dietary addition of fenugreek seed leads to the reduction in blood glucose levels: A parallel group, randomized single-blind trial. Ayurveda 2017;38:24-7.

[2] Basu TK, Srichamroen A (2010) Health benefits of fenugreek in (Trigonella foenum-graecum leguminosse) bioactive foods in promoting health: fruits and vegetables, Elsevier, pp 425–35

[3] Peter, K.V. (2012) Handbook of Herbs and Spices, Vol. 1., 2nd Edition. Woodhead Publishing

[4] Braun & Cohen (2015) Herbs & Natural Supplements Vol 2. , Elsevier, Sydney Australia


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: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

Search query:(Trigonella foenum-graecum AND diabetes AND (( Clinical Trial[ptyp] OR systematic[sb] ) AND Humans[Mesh]))

Geberemeskel, GA., Debebe, YG., Nguse, NA., (2022) 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.

Najdi, RA., Hagras, MM., Kamel, FO., Magadmi, RM., (2022) 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).

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.

Hadi, A., Arab, A., Hajianfar, H., Talaei, B., Miraghajani, M., Babajafari, S., Marx, W., Tavakoly, R., (2020) The effect of fenugreek seed supplementation on serum irisin levels, blood pressure, and liver and kidney function in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A parallel randomized clinical trial.

This study was designed to determine the effects of fenugreek seed (FS) on serum irisin levels, blood pressure, and liver and kidney function in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Mehrzadi, S., Mirzaei, R., Heydari, M., Sasani, M., Yaqoobvand, B., Huseini, HF., (2021) Efficacy and Safety of a Traditional Herbal Combination in Patients with Type II Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

are used traditionally as an herbal combination for treatment of diabetic patients in Iran. Despite the clinical evidence supporting their use in solitary form, no controlled human study has determined the efficacy and safety of their combination in treatment of diabetic patients.