Fenugreek is perhaps best known as a natural herbal remedy that can be used to increase a mother's breast milk supply. Mothers have been using it for that purpose for centuries. However, the leaves of the herb fenugreek are also used medicinally for skin care, arthritis symptoms, lowering cholesterol, modulating blood sugar levels, and as an anti-inflammatory. In cuisine, fenugreek leaves and seeds often are included in Indian curries as well as in the foods of East Africa.
Traditional Chinese Medicine additionally uses Fenugreek seeds as a natural remedy for a general range of conditions, and it is internationally used for diabetes. Use of fenugreek supplements might even increase male libido!
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
[YEA] 11/01/2006: Jeanne from Rouyn - Noranda, Quebec, CANADA: "Fenugreek steeped into a tea / mouthwash cured abscessed teeth. I rinsed my mouth and then soaked a gauze pad and placed in in my mouth for an hour at a time and it drew the infection out of my system. Sometimes I had to open a little hole in my gums so it would drain. I had 10 abscessed teeth at one time and did this for many months. It helped me alot as I didn't have any medical coverage to go to a dentist myself. I still to this day recommend this to anyone with the same problem."
[YEA] 06/10/2009: Rawan from Abu Dhabi, UAE: "Hi, I will have to add that fenugreek tea or supplement are a very good remedy for those who are trying to gain weight. Also, fenugreek promote the appetite. For the breastfeeding mums, fenugreek enhance amazingly the milk amount in breats.(produce more milk)"Replies
06/10/2009: Paritp from Los Angeles, Ca replies: "Very true indeed... fenugreek promotes milk production in new moms. Traditionally in india all new moms are given a mixture of coconut, poppy seeds, fenugreek, jaggery, sesame seeds, ginger powder, all kinds of nuts, seeds and lots of other stuff to recover quickly and also to produce a lot of milk...it also keeps all colds n coughs at bay....."
[YEA] 03/07/2008: Beryl from London, England: "One of your contributors said that she had lost weight by taking the herb Fenugreek. I tried it for five days and couldn't stop eating and found that I'd put four pounds on in five days. And when I looked up Fenugreek I discovered that it is an appetite stimulant. So other readers please be aware.
I'm not questioning what the contributor said, because I think that we all react differently to what we intake. That was her experience and it rests there.
I recently went on holiday to China and Japan, and when I arrived back was struck with an overwhelming tiredness, and every bone in my body ached. Was it jet lag, I wondered, but the symptoms still continued, so I starting taking Apple Cider Vinegar, Maple Syrup, lemon juice, bi carb, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Within a couple of days I'd started to feel well again, and so have continued with this mixture, and I am amazed at the way it has increased my energy and well being.
However, I'm sorry to report there's been no weight loss!! Thanks for your web site. I do enjoy it!"Replies
[YEA] 08/21/2008: Roro from Al Ain, UAE replies: "Hi ! I have to comment and say that what happened to you is not strange since the herb Fenugreek is used to increase appetite and put on more weight for those who are underweight. Regards.."
06/16/2010: B.gioia (herbalist) from New Haven, Ct replies: "Well, indeed fenugreek can accomplish both:
increasing appetite - mainly by means of its bitter constituents and very small amounts of alkaloids that are known to act in a similar manner as those in cod liver oil. - That is in increasing appetite, - as said in a post before, esp. in individuals that are underweight and/or generally "suffer" from a lack of appetite.
As a supporting mechanism to this, the steroidal compounds in fenugreek, which act as potent phytoestrogens have a tendency to stimulate the secretion of FSH more than LH, which is deemed to accounts to a large part for fenugreeks galactogogue (lactation stimulating) effects, as it leads to a sudden significant rise in estrogen levels over progesterone levels, which is similar to the situation in women who have just given birth...
This hormonal situation can also account for a certain tendency of the body to "fill out" ...its lipid stores to better provide for the needs of lactation.
...That is also the reason for the definite "breast enhancing" effects noticed by most every woman who takes the herb for a prolonged time (more than 6 weeks).
On the other hand, - there is also a definite truh to fenugreeks ability to help reduce - sometimes drastically - hunger and food intake esp. in priorly overweight or even diabetic individuals.
This mechanism is based on the high (soluble as well as insoluble) fiber content of the seeds, the latter of which helps to create a feeling of fullness and satiety, without being itself digestible, but exerting a gentle yet effective laxative action; while first, the mucilage, acts as a prebiotic, and as such helps to restore a healthy gut flora, which will make digestion more effective and therewith reduce the body's feeling of the need of hightened energy intake.
This usually shows on the scale after a little while.
What I don't really understand, however, is the fact that the other poster claimed she had experienced these weight reducing effects with TEA. -
Tea, in my experience would normally rather account for the above described appetite-stimulating effects, while the described weight reducing mechanism would be achieved with about 1-2 tbsp. of ground crude fenugreek seeds before each meal...
So much from my experience...
(I am a Herbalist and my Masters thesis was on this herb..)"
06/17/2010: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France replies: "Many thanks for your feedback which was very interesting. I wonder if you know about the use of fenugreek for hair growth? We tried it at home, diluting some fenugreek in a little bit of coconut milk but it never really seems to dissolve. Online I found some instruction but they tell you to make a paste with a lot of coconut milk and just a tiny little bit of fenugreek, still for a paste you need more fenugreek than coconut milk I would say...... I am very much mixed up!"
07/26/2010: Cindy from Paradise, California replies: "Question to 06/16/2010: B. Gioia (herbalist) from New Haven, Ct:
A friend who is taking Tamoxifin to remove estrogen as a cancer fighting remedy told me she has absolutely no appetite. I was ready to recommend Fenugreek and then read your comments about it stimulating estrogen. Does that mean it would be contraindicated? Do you know of an appetite stimulant she could take?"
05/17/2012: Lalita from Chennai, Tamil Nadu/india replies: "Please tell the method of using fenugreek for appetite and weight gain."
04/01/2013: Seema from Patiala, Punjab replies: "hi, I am male of 29 years. I am underweight. please tell me the method of using fenugreek for weight gain."
06/18/2008: Tan Koon Peng from Singapore: "Fenugreek is a natural breast enlargement herb. Ladies try it and share with others your experience!"Replies
06/19/2008: Lisa from A Nice Place, New Jersey replies: "What are you basing that on please? I have read this is good for a women that is breast feeding but not for breast enhancement."
[YEA] 01/22/2009: JL from Houston, Texas, USA replies: "Fenugreek, For breast enlargement. I'm happy to say, it has enlarged my breasts from 34c to38dd. I take Fengreek pills (2 pills twice daily) and I mix 2 caplets with lotion and massage into my breasts twice daily. My breasts are very firm."
02/03/2009: Emma from UK replies: "hi i would like to ask how to take fenugreek, this is because i am still nursing my 1 year son and still want the same size when i stop feeding him"
02/06/2009: Stacey from Greensboro, NC replies: "Fenugreek is a phyto-estrogen, that is to say, it is a plant with chemical properties that mimic female hormones. It is not typically going to help women with naturally small breast to increase in size. However, if you have had children or are near menopause, it is a safer means of supplementing a system with lower hormonal levels than prescriptions. Because the herb increase low hormonal levels, it may make the breasts of women with lower estrogen and progestrogen levels to reclaim some firmness and size. It is not a magical herb that will cause every woman's breasts to inflate like a balloon.
Fenugreek is a relatively cheap, common herb. You can buy it in capsule form, as a tea, or as sprouts in some health food stores. I would recommend beginning this herb by drinking two cups of tea a day.
As this is an herb that affects hormone levels, use it with caution. If you take artificial hormones by means of birth control or HRT, this may not be safe for you to take in addition. Also, if you consume a diet high in phyto-estrogens already, such as soy products, the addition of fenugreek may not be a good idea.
Fenugreek also lowers blood sugar levels, so if you are diabetic or hypoglycemic, be careful. Many people find their appetite increases as a side effect of taking the herb. Also, constant usage of fenugreek will actually change your body odor. It is not an unpleasant smell, but it can be strong."
[YEA] 06/07/2009: Sarah from Baltimore, MD replies: "As a comment to the lady asking about fennugreek, I remember my lactation consultant instructing me in the quantity to ingest (in the form of capsules, could be the same with tea) she had said to start with a small amount, then increase every day a little, and when your urine starts smelling like maple syrup, you are taking the right amount! It really does happen as she describes it."
06/08/2009: Rawan from Abu Dhabi, UAE replies: "It is a popular remedy here for breatsfeeding woman to produce more milk also it is well know that fenugreek is best remedie to improve appatite and to gain weight. But the only negative thing about it that it gives the body bad smell."
03/07/2011: Olivegoddess from Ashland, Wi replies: "How long did it take those of you ladies, who had success, to see results? Did you find that it added weight to any other parts of your body, like your hips? I have a very narrow, boyish body, and I am wondering if fenugreek would have a similar effect that the pill has on many women. This is that it makes breasts bigger, yes, but also hips. Thanks!"
[NAY] 09/19/2011: Aki from Singapore replies: "Hi, can somebody help me? Just wan to know how long will it take to see the result of fenugreek seeds? I'm really getting frustrated. As I've been drinking the juice of fenugreek seeds for 1 month now. Still --A cup for me. Your reply is very much appreciated. Thank you."
[YEA] 06/16/2012: Babez from Lusaka, Zambia replies: "Yes works like magic myself I use the seeds. After 3months my boobs are now bigger and my hubby loves them can't keep his hands off them, friends are admiring them especially my gal friends. The problem is just the smell if you grind the seeds. And the skins get an extra glow loving it!!!"
07/19/2012: Violet from Barrie, Canada replies: "Babez, congrats, I am wondering when you say you use the seeds, can you tell me exactly what you mean by that? And how... The recipe you use and how much? Thanks"
11/02/2012: Tanvi from Delhi, India replies: "Hey can you please let us know how did u consume fenugreek seeds for brest enlargement?"
03/13/2013: Maggie from Trenton, Michigan replies: "Could taking fenugreek capsules increase breast size in a woman who is an A cup and is not pregnant or breast feeding? I've read lots about how fenugreek can aid in overall weight gain, but I was wondering that if I continue to control my caloric intake and excersize regularly, if my breasts will grow without the rest of my body weight increasing. Any help would be much appreciated. :)"
03/15/2013: Con from Jacksonville, Il, Usa replies: "Hi Maggie. I do not know about the fenugreek, but it is possible to increase bust size through exercise. You need to use weights and do the exercises in a slow motion. This is described in a book I have, "The Edgar Cayce Handbook for Health Through Drugless Therapy" by Dr. Harold J. Reilly and Ruth Hagy Brod. Pages 284-285 explains the exercises. It has been over 10 years since I did these, but it did work for me."
03/19/2013: Dianne from Knoxville, Tn replies: "About 20 yrs. ago I read that a female taking Saw Palmetto would increase breast size. As I was wanting to lose weight but not in the breast area I took it for a while and I do believe it worked. I did increase cup size."
[YEA] 03/11/2008: Arlene from Toronto, Canada: "...On another note, I'm currently on Fenugreek, for weight loss - the increase in breast milk is a bonus, since I'm still nursing my 10 month old, as well as VCO (unfortunately, I purchased just coconut oil, and took that for a week, which may account for 2 pounds gained...) as well as ACV, again for weight loss. I will definitely keep you posted on the results - wish me luck! Thanks again for this great website!"Replies
[YEA] 09/28/2009: Azg from Toronto, On replies: "My breast milk was greatly increased by using Fenugreek... there were times where I was exhausted and in a rush to get places with my baby, so I pumped instead of nursing... you don't get out as much milk when you pump instead of letting your baby nurse, so my milk supply went down a little.
3x a day I put 1 tablespoon of whole Fenugreek seeds in a cup and cover it with a cup of boiling water and let it sit for about 15 minutes. I'd drink the tea and eat the seeds. They tasted vile..I literally had to hold my breath while I did it and chase it down with a little bit of honey. But it was worth it... within 24 hours, my breasts were so full I was practically squirting across the room!!! LOL!"
[YEA] 09/28/2009: Pareetp from Los Angeles, Ca replies: "Very true indeed......it has been done in India for over thousand's of years now...starting from the ninth month of pregnancy soak 2 tbsp of fenugreek in a cup of water at night and in the morning boil the same for 7-10 min on medium flame.....add jaggery (let it melt for 5 min until the concoction cools) and a tsp of ghee and drink it warm........This helps to ease the labor prcess....timely birth of child.....and increases the milk production once the baby is born............I will upload the recipe of the fenugreek laddoo that all new mothers eat once the baby is born.....asap (have to ask me mom)..."
[YEA] Anonymous : "Roast 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds. Mix and powder it, add to 4 tsp of yogurt. Take 3X a day."
[YEA] Emmanuella from Long Beach, CA: "When I was a child my mother used to give me Fenugreek tea. It doesn't taste very good, but she would give me a cup of this and two excederin and I would wake up a few hours later, with a broken fever. I had my appetite back and felt much better. This tea does come out through your pores, so it won't smell very nice. This tea worked for me, maybe it can work for someone else too."
[YEA] 05/27/2005: Darwin from Chennai, India: "You can condition and nourish your hair through fenugreek seeds. Soak fenugreek seeds in water for about 1 hour and grind it to paste. Apply all over the head and leave it for 30 minutes and wash it with cold water, woww beautiful and glowing hair..."
How to Use
09/22/2011: Naveen from Coimbatore, Tn, india: "Hi,
Mix Fenugreek powder with buttermilk, add some salt and drink daily in the early morning with empty stomatch to reduce weight. After 3 - 4 months you can see the result."
11/12/2011: Hazaria from Kathmandu, Nepal...: "Sir,
There is nothing to feedback on fenugreekseed which I know this seed as a panacea because it not only for helping for minor disease but for arthritis, cough and gynecological cases
I know it can be a helpful remedy for peptic ulcer but how it is to be used in ulcer? Waiting for reply"
[YEA] 03/07/2008: Regina from North Brunswick, NJ: "FENUGREEK/EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. Fenugreek response.
Fenugreek is used internally for a variety of problems, such as to treat diabetes in adults (late-onset diabetes), poor digestion, gastric inflammation, digestive disorders and tuberculosis. It is also used for painful menstruation, labor pains and insufficient lactation.
Men on the other hand benefit from it for loss of libido, painful testicles and premature ejaculation.
It is often used for weight loss, anorexia and for poor appetite. In Chinese medicine it is used for kidney related pain - such as back ache, as well as premature ejaculation, loss of libido, painful testicles, hernia, painful menstruation and edema of the legs. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used for rejuvenation and as an aphrodisiac, as well as for digestive and bronchial complaints, gout and arthritis.
Fresh Fenugreek leaves are cooked as a vegetable curry and are also dried and used to flavor vegetable dishes. The seeds are roasted and ground for use in curry powder, pickles, stews and fried foods. The seed sprouts are also eaten as a salad.
It is used externally for skin inflammations, ulcers, boils, eczema and cellulite.
Aromatherapy and essential oil use
12/07/2007: T.S.Rajah from Wimledon, UK: "Fenugreek's leafy form belongs to the spinach family. However, its seeds are useful when cooking to combat the flatulence caused by certain foods, such as lentils and cauliflower. Its anti-viral properties mean it also helps against sore throat and mouth ulcers. Historically, fenugreek has been used to treat diabetes and is now thought to reduce blood pressure."
[YEA] 03/24/2007: George from Houston, Texas: "My girlfriend suffers from bipolar mania and PMS, and I've tried hard to figure out why she can be the most perfect, wonderful, loving girlfriend for months, then turn into a mean, vicious, heartless, remorseless monster and kick me out of the house. Then she started taking an herb called fenugreek to increase milk production while breastfeeding. Within less than two weeks she transformed back into the wonderful, loving woman I fell in love with and it was better than ever! After doing more research I determined that the culprit was a neuropeptide hormone called oxytocin, the love hormone. It's responsible for milk production, bonding, trust, openness, reduction in stress/anxiety, and to some extent libido. It was a beautiful transformation! Apparently there was an intranasal form of oxytocin available previously, but now you have to get it custom made, but fenugreek seems to promote its production. I guess the key is to make sure that she takes it regularly while her oxytocin levels are high and she's still reasonable! Otherwise the bad version of her may refuse to take it!"Replies
03/28/2010: Nuri from Tacoma, Wa, Usa replies: "I have enjoyed drinking fenugreek and other herbal teas to keep healthy since the 1970's. I am a seasoned old holistic health practitioner. I am no stranger to fenugreek or to men insisting that when a girlfriend throws them out of the house it is because the woman is PMS or just plain wrong. There might be other reasons that women unleash their anger during certain times of their cycle. Low oxytocin levels may not be a sign of weakness or error in women; it just might be Creator's way of seeing to it that for a few days out of every month women find it impossible to play "nice little mother" to their boyfriends but instead let our guys know what we really think of them and the imbalance in the relationship. Maybe low levels of oxytocin are what's needed to allow women to tell it like it is so that men can take responsibilities that they have been ignoring for so long that when women's oxytocin levels are low women can't hold the sweet posture up any longer (or the denied torrent of anger down any longer) thus she lashes out as an angry lion.
Maybe low oxytocin levels are Creator's plan to see to it that women put their food down and make efforts that their relationships are brought into balance in light of the fact that many wonderful women spend 3 weeks of every month pussy-footing around trying to please everybody! I know it would be convenient for the world to make women and children feel wrong every time they step outside the box and their attitudes are "inconvenient" or threatening to the powers that be ..... we can have kids and wives on strong calming teas or perscription drugs to sedate them, but then we'd miss the opportunity to learn from other people's extreme discontent with family and society! I think it is wise and fair to first assume that the reasons people are "acting out" are generally because they have deeper rights and needs that are being oppressed and need to be listened to and nurtured, rather than judged and treated as pathological. Just sayin'
Use fresh Fenugreek seeds which are alive and can be boiled and set to steep with a dab of honey and sipped as a tea. Seeds can be used over again with fresh boiling water several times a day and drank before eating the seeds (on a salad)or sprouting them or planting them in soil. They grow into a nice tall grass with an aroma of maple syrup when brushed against.
Fresh Fenugreek seed is a blood cleaner, thus the scent that exudes from your skin may smell a bit like fresh urine, especially if you are very toxic. Your fenegureek skin odor is a barometer for how toxic or clean you are. As one cleans up his diet and anatomy the skin odor will begin to smell more like maple syrup. But Fenugreek should not be used more than a few days every week."
08/08/2012: Ashley from Slc, Utah replies: "Wow... Well said!!!"
[YEA] 02/10/2007: Mir Ar from Montreal, Canada: "re: How my 'hated' remedy freed me from the prostate discomfort. Hi, For the last 2 months I have been suffering from sleeplessness caused by my prostate disorder. I started reducing consumption of liquids closer to evenings; thinking I would not be going to the toilet 3 or 4 times during the night. It did not help. Recently, for 2 consecutive nights I was forced to go to the toilet 5 and 6 times. My sister reminded me of a grain used in the Afghan cuisine and as well for kidney problems. It is known in Farsi as 'Shanbalila' in Arabic al-holba'. This grain's name in English is Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum). I bought a small package of 200g. (Imported from India) in an Afghan variety store in Montreal for 2 dollars. Since my childhood' I did not like the smell of the thing and the day my mother put some of it into a sweet rice dish I refused to eat it at all and invited myself to my aunt's place to avoid being forced to eat. After my 2 troubled nights, I looked into a book of remedies published in Iran in Persian language. I found this Fenugreek recommended for my kind of problem. According to the simple instruction, I put approximately 2 teaspoons of the grain in a pot of boiling water and turned the heat off shortly and left the infusion for the evening. Before going to bed I drank a cup of the liquid and started wondering what kind of a 3rd night will I be going through. At the early hours of that night, I woke up twice for the toilet, each time after an hour of shallow sleep. Afterward I woke up around 7 in the morning without any pressing need to the toilet. Apparently the infusion took a few hours to start working. I used this remedy for 3 more days and with 2 -3 cups per day. Now, I wake up only twice in the night, if I don't drink a lot of liquids in the afternoon. Whether it cured an infection somewhere in my body or else, it did something good to me and I sleep well enough at nights now. The only aftermath of the fenugreek is an unpleasant odder (for me) in the armpits that does not go away after 2-3 showers. One has to use a strong deodorant for a few days even after the treatment. Good luck!"
[NAY] 01/29/2008: Randy from Ambler, PA: "Tried Fenugreek seed tea for years for sinutitis... No noticeable effect..."