Does Fenugreek Work?
Fenugreek may be beneficial for a number of conditions, but does fenugreek work as well as claimed? Very few research studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of the herb for diabetes, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. These studies show that the supplement may lower blood sugar in people with diabetes, but conflicting results were found in studies of fenugreek for high cholesterol.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an herbal supplement. Like most supplements, fenugreek is claimed to be useful for a wide variety of different conditions, usually without much scientific evidence. People use the herb topically (applied to the skin) for the following conditions:
- Muscle pain
- Wounds or skin ulcers
When taken by mouth, fenugreek is said to be helpful for the following conditions:
- High cholesterol or high triglycerides
- Appetite loss
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Impotence (also known as erectile dysfunction or ED)
In addition, fenugreek has been used traditionally to stimulate labor in pregnant women or to stimulate the production of breast milk.
Some herbal supplements have been extensively studied. Fenugreek is not one of these supplements, however. In fact, there is not enough evidence to suggest that fenugreek is effective for any use. Of the few studies that have been done, most have been small and preliminary.
Fenugreek has been studied a little for diabetes, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. Early research suggests that the herb, when taken with a meal, may help limit the rise in blood sugar that occurs after meals in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Some studies have suggested that fenugreek may help lower cholesterol, but other studies showed no benefit. Early studies suggest that fenugreek may help lower triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes.
There is no reliable scientific evidence to suggest that fenugreek is beneficial for any other use, including stimulating breast milk, one of the most popular uses of the herb.