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Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an herb similar to clover. The seeds taste similar to maple syrup and are used in foods and medicine.

Fenugreek is native to the Mediterranean, Europe, and Asia. Fenugreek seems to slow sugar absorption in the stomach and stimulate insulin. Both of these effects lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Fenugreek might also improve levels of testosterone and estrogen, helping to improve interest in sex.

People commonly use fenugreek for diabetes, menstrual cramps, sexual problems, enlarged prostate, high cholesterol, obesity, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.

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When taken by mouth: Fenugreek is commonly consumed in foods. It is possibly safe when the powdered seed is taken for up to 3 years. Side effects may include diarrhea, stomach upset, bloating, and gas. It may also cause allergic reactions in some people.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: Fenugreek is commonly consumed in foods. It is likely unsafe when used in greater amounts. It might cause malformations in the baby, as well as early contractions. Taking fenugreek just before delivery may cause the newborn to have an unusual body odor. This unusual body odor doesn't seem to be harmful, but it could be confused with a condition called "maple syrup urine disease."

Breast-feeding: Fenugreek is possibly safe when taken by mouth to increase breastmilk flow. Taking fenugreek 1725 mg three times daily for 21 days doesn't seem to cause any side effects in infants.

Children: Fenugreek is commonly consumed in foods. But there isn't enough reliable information to know if fenugreek is safe when taken in larger amounts. An unusual body and urine odor has been reported after drinking fenugreek tea. This doesn't seem to be harmful, but it could be confused with a condition called "maple syrup urine disease."

Allergies: People who are allergic to other plants in the Fabaceae family, including soybeans, peanuts, green peas, and other legumes, might also be allergic to fenugreek.

Surgery: Fenugreek might slow blood clotting. It might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking fenugreek at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Clopidogrel (Plavix)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Fenugreek might change the way that the body breaks down clopidogrel. This might change the effects of clopidogrel and might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Fenugreek might lower blood sugar levels. Taking fenugreek along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Fenugreek might slow blood clotting. Taking fenugreek along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Metoprolol (Toprol)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Fenugreek might lower blood pressure. Taking fenugreek with metoprolol might cause blood pressure to drop too low.

Theophylline

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Fenugreek might reduce how much theophylline is absorbed by the body. Using fenugreek while taking theophylline might reduce the effects of theophylline.

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Warfarin is used to slow blood clotting. Fenugreek might also slow blood clotting. Taking fenugreek along with warfarin might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin might need to be changed.

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar: Fenugreek might lower blood sugar. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might lower blood sugar too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include aloe, bitter melon, cassia cinnamon, chromium, and prickly pear cactus.
Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting: Fenugreek might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might increase the risk of bleeding in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include garlic, ginger, ginkgo, nattokinase, and Panax ginseng.

There are no known interactions with foods.

Fenugreek seed powder has most often been used by adults in doses of 5-10 grams by mouth daily for up to 3 years. Fenugreek seed extract has most often been used in doses of 0.6-1.2 grams by mouth daily. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

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