We start with a quick quiz: What do nursing mothers with lactation difficulties, grown men experiencing the effects of low testosterone, diabetics looking to reduce their blood sugar levels, and anyone who eats too much and has trouble controlling their appetite have in common? All could benefit from taking nutritional supplements containing fenugreek.
What Is Fenugreek?Although it might sound like the name of a program for teaching a certain foreign language, fenugreek is an herb that has been used for many centuries among medical practitioners with roots in ancient medicine. And, yes, it has shown a knack for being able to lower blood sugar levels, boost testosterone, and ramp up milk production in breastfeeding mothers, per healthline.com. And those three things are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to extolling fenugreek's potential health benefits.
Its Seeds Taste Like Maple SyrupPer webmd.com, fenugreek – sold in extract form by Wonder Labs under the brand name FenuLife – is an herb (a perennial plant, in fact) that is similar to clover (with small, round leaves, per organicfacts.net) and which is native to the Mediterranean region, southern Europe, and western Asia. Its seeds, just like the herb's medicinal uses, are multipurpose. The seeds are used in cooking to bring out the flavor, to make medicine, and even to mask the taste of other medicines thanks to a taste of its own much like maple sugar; fenugreek seeds are even used in some manufactured versions of maple syrup sold at grocery stores.
And It's Full of Beneficial NutrientsIt's no secret and certainly not a surprise why fenugreek packs a punch as a go-to-remedy in so many ways; it's full of a variety of nutrients that include essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper, per organicfacts.net, as well as vitamin B6, protein, and dietary fiber. Fenugreek also contains antioxidants and potent phytonutrients as well as many other healthful compounds and substances, among them saponins and fibers that apparently lead the pack when providing health benefits.
Fenugreek's Health BenefitsListing all of Fenugreek's reported health benefits would take up more space than we have here, but here are seven to help get you started. As always, be sure to discuss with your personal doctor the use of fenugreek before you add it to your daily dietary supplementation:
- Enhances lactation. Delayed breastfeeding among nursing mothers is evidenced when the mother is unable to produce sufficient breastmilk to meet the infant's needs. The use of fenugreek for nursing mothers dates back to the practice of India's traditional Ayurvedic medicine, per organicfacts.net, and it is the herb's presence of diosgenin that is singled out for its effectiveness in boosting lactation.
- Inflammation. Per webmd.com, fenugreek is effective when used as what's known as a ‘poultice,' whereby it is wrapped in cloth, heated up, and applied to the skin at whatever location a person is experiencing pain and swelling. In this regard, it also has been proved helpful for dealing with muscle pain, pain and swelling of lymph nodes, gout (painful toes), wounds, leg ulcers, and eczema.
- Diabetes. Not only has fenugreek been shown effective when it comes to lowering blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, it can reduce that amount of sugar that shows up in the urine of those folks having to cope with type 1 diabetes. Research cited at webmd.com has borne this out in both cases, with the use of fenugreek seeds or fenugreek seed powder.
- Painful menstruation. Such painful periods, also known as dysmenorrhea, per webmd.com, can apparently be effectively treated with fenugreek seed powder. 1,800-2,700 milligrams administered three times a day for the first three days of a menstrual period followed by 900 milligrams three times daily for the rest of two menstrual cycles seems to work well.
- Lower cholesterol levels. As reported in The British Journal of Nutrition, per organicfacts.net, it has been shown that fenugreek consumption can assist in lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, an attribute that can help reduce the risks of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Additionally, its abundance of fiber can remove excess cholesterol from the body's arteries and blood vessels, lowering the risk of blood clot formation.
- Appetite suppression. Researchers at the University of Minnesota examined the effects of fenugreek on appetite and reached the conclusion that it can help quash hunger by making you feel full, thanks to fenugreek's provision of galactomannan, a natural soluble fiber.
- Relieve constipation. Per organicfacts.net, fenugreek, thanks to its abundance of fiber content, adds bulk to the bowel movement, which helps alleviate constipation as well as diarrhea and minor indigestion.