The first recorded use of fenugreek is described on an ancient Egyptian papyrus dated to 1500 B.C. Fenugreek seed is commonly used in cooking.
Common Names—fenugreek, fenugreek seed
Latin Name—Trigonella foenum-graecum
What Fenugreek Is Used For
Historically, fenugreek was used for a variety of health conditions, including menopausal symptoms and digestive problems. It was also used for inducing childbirth.
Today, it is used for diabetes and loss of appetite, and to stimulate milk production in breastfeeding women. It is also applied to the skin to treat inflammation.
How Fenugreek Is Used
The dried seeds are ground and taken by mouth or used to form a paste that is applied to the skin.
What the Science Says
A few small studies have found that fenugreek may help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
There is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of fenugreek for any other health condition.
Side Effects and Cautions
Possible side effects of fenugreek when taken by mouth include gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Fenugreek can cause irritation when applied to the skin.
Given its historical use for inducing childbirth, women should use caution when taking fenugreek during pregnancy.