Fenugreek Side Effects

Although most people do not experience problems while taking fenugreek, it is possible for side effects to occur. Indigestion or heartburn, diarrhea, and gas or bloating may occur, but are not typically serious. However, there are some potentially serious side effects of fenugreek that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider, including signs of an allergic reaction or internal bleeding.

Does Fenugreek Cause Side Effects?

Even though it is a "natural" product, fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) may cause side effects, including potentially serious ones. As an herbal product, fenugreek has not been studied extensively, and much of the available information on side effects is based on theoretical properties of fenugreek or individual case reports of problems.
 
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with fenugreek. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of fenugreek side effects with you.)
 

Bothersome Side Effects of Fenugreek

Just as with any medication or herbal product, not all of the potential fenugreek side effects are dangerous. In particular, the herb may cause the following bothersome, but not usually dangerous, side effects:
 
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Gas and bloating
  • Unusual body or urine odor (a maple syrup odor).
     

Serious Side Effects

Some side effects with fenugreek, while occurring infrequently, are potentially serious and should be reported to your healthcare provider right away. Side effects such as these may indicate that you should stop taking fenugreek. These include, but are not limited to:
 
  • Signs of internal bleeding, which is theoretically possible with fenugreek, such as:
 
    • Black, tarry stools; bright red blood in the stool; or vomiting of blood (signs of gastrointestinal bleeding)
    • Signs of a hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in the brain), such as vision or speech changes, weakness or numbness in an arm or leg, or a severe headache
 
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
 
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Unexplained swelling
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
 
Because fenugreek has been used traditionally to stimulate labor, it could theoretically cause preterm labor or miscarriages if taken during pregnancy.
 
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