Fenugreek
Fenugreek has several purported health benefits, especially for females—i.e., increasing breast milk production and relieving menstrual cramps

Fenugreek has several purported health benefits, especially for females—such as increasing breast milk production, relieving menstrual cramps, and improving sex drive.

Available in various forms including powders, capsules, and oils, fenugreek is also believed to help with other medical conditions in both men and women. You must, however, consult your doctor before consuming any herbal supplements, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications. 

Pregnant or lactating women must avoid taking fenugreek or other supplements without getting approval from their healthcare provider.

What is fenugreek?

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a clover-like fragrant herb that belongs to the pea family (Fabaceae). The plant is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region and is cultivated in Central and Southeastern Europe, western parts of Asia, India, and Northern Africa.

Dried leaves and aromatic seeds of the fenugreek plant are used in various cuisines and herbal medicines. Fenugreek seeds have a distinct aroma and a bitter taste resembling maple syrup or reminiscent of burnt sugar. The seeds and dried leaves are used as a spice or mixed with flour to prepare bread. Fenugreek seeds may be cooked or eaten raw after soaking them in water. 

Fenugreek extracts are also used in various cosmetics and soaps. They have been in use in several herbal medicinal preparations either as the principal drug constituent or to mask the aroma or taste of the constituent herbal drugs.

7 health benefits of fenugreek for females

While there are several potential health benefits of fenugreek for females, many of these claims require more scientific evidence. Talk to your doctor before using fenugreek as an herbal remedy.

  • Increases breast milk production: Some studies have reported that fenugreek—in the form of tablets or tea—improves milk production in lactating women by stimulating the mammary glands. There is, however, a lack of evidence to support this claim.
  • Relieves menstrual cramps: Fenugreek has been shown to relieve dysmenorrhea, or painful menstrual periods. According to some studies, women who took fenugreek supplements reported a reduced need for painkillers for menstrual cramps. Fenugreek seed powder can be taken 3 times a day in a dose of 1,800-2,700 mg for the first 3 days of a menstrual period, then followed by 900 mg fenugreek seed powder 3 times a day for the next 2 days of the menstrual cycle.
  • Improves sex drive: Fenugreek may help improve sex drive and stamina in women by increasing levels of the hormone estrogen. For women with a low sex drive, taking 600 mg of a specific fenugreek seed extract, Libifem (Gencor Pacific Ltd.), may help improve symptoms.
  • Helps with weight management: Although there is insufficient evidence to support this claim, some studies suggest that fenugreek may help reduce weight by promoting satiety and controlling hunger.
  • Promotes healthy skin and hair: Some studies report that fenugreek may help promote skin and hair health, aiding in the treatment of skin conditions such as eczema as well as hair loss in women. 
  • Improves digestion: Fenugreek aids in digestion and may help with heartburn, indigestion, and stomach upset. They are believed to relieve flatulence and have a soothing effect on the gut.
  • Helps manage blood sugar: Studies report that fenugreek may help regulate blood sugar levels in both men and women. Consuming fenugreek seeds (5-50 grams) with meals 1-2 times a day may lower post-meal blood sugar levels in people with type II diabetes. Consuming 50 grams of fenugreek seed powder 2 times a day may reduce the amount of sugar in urine in people with type I diabetes. You must not consume fenugreek seeds without consulting your doctor if you have diabetes. Never replace your diabetes medications with any supplement without consulting your doctor.

Other purported health benefits of fenugreek include the following:

It is important to note that fenugreek may cause severe allergies in susceptible individuals. In diabetic people who are on medications, it may lower blood sugar levels to dangerous levels. Always talk to your healthcare provider before starting any supplement.

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What are the side effects of fenugreek for females?

Fenugreek is generally safe when taken in moderation or consumed in foods. Side effects generally occur when fenugreek is consumed in larger quantities over longer periods of time. People with underlying health conditions or those taking medications may especially be vulnerable.

Side effects of fenugreek exclusive to females

Pregnant women must avoid fenugreek supplements or medications because they may have adverse effects on the baby, leading to premature uterine contractions, increased miscarriage risk, and fetal deformities. Consuming fenugreek shortly before delivery may cause an unusual body and urine odor in the baby. Although this odor is harmless, it may mimic the odor observed in babies with a genetic condition called maple syrup urine disease.

Fenugreek may be secreted in breast milk. Although studies do not report any harm to babies if ingested, lactating mothers should seek medical advice before taking fenugreek supplements.

Fenugreek has an estrogen-like effect on the body. As such, it may worsen estrogen-dependent tumors in certain types of breast cancer. Consult your doctor if you wish to use fenugreek supplements and have been diagnosed with breast tumors.

Side effects of fenugreek common to both males and females

Side effects that can affect both males and females include:

Fenugreek can also cause an allergic reaction in some people, especially those who are allergic to peanuts, peas, soybeans, or other legumes. This may result in hives, facial swelling, breathing difficulty, and nasal congestion. Consult your doctor immediately if you develop such symptoms.

People on diabetes medications may be at a risk of low blood sugar levels while taking fenugreek, and the supplement may also increase the risk of bleeding in people taking blood-thinning medications.

Is fenugreek good for males?

Men can take fenugreek as well. However, medical advice should be sought before consuming fenugreek for treatment purposes. This is especially important for men who are taking supplements or medications or have any underlying health conditions. 

Although there is insufficient scientific evidence to prove these claims, fenugreek supplementation may have the following health benefits for males:

How to prepare fenugreek tea

Fenugreek tea can be prepared at home with these simple steps:

  • Rinse 2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds.
  • Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan and stir in the seeds.
  • Boil for 3-4 minutes.
  • Strain the liquid into a mug.
  • Add lemon, honey, sugar, or other ingredients to enhance the taste.

Consult your doctor before taking fenugreek tea if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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Why is sexual health important?

why is sexual health important
Sexual health is important for a fulfilling sex life, ability to choose your sexuality, and protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases

Sexual health is important for a fulfilling sex life, as well as the ability to choose your sexuality, protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases, and choose how and when to conceive or avoid conception

Being sexually healthy means:

  • Having access to up-to-date educational information and care
  • Recognizing the sexual rights everyone shares
  • Understanding that sexuality goes beyond sexual behavior
  • Making efforts to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections
  • Knowing when to seek medical help regarding pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
  • Understanding how and when to express concerns about sexual health with your partner or doctor
  • Being educated enough to identify misinformation related to sexual health
  • Being able to participate in sexual relationships, intimacy, and sexual pleasure
  • Understanding the importance of communication, consent, and emotional and physical health with regards to sexual relationships to avoid coercion or violence
  • Avoiding sexually risky behaviors

Sexual health impacts other aspects of health. For example, the ability to have a healthy sexual relationship with your partner helps you stay emotionally healthy. Similarly, knowing how to avoid unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections helps you stay mentally and physically healthy as well.

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What is sexual health?

According to the World Health Organization, good sexual health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being in all matters regarding the functions of sexuality and not merely an absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity. 

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to accurate information about sexual and reproductive health. It’s important to be empowered to protect yourself from STIs and unwanted pregnancy, as well as be aware of how to approach sexuality with positivity and respect.

What are issues related to sexual health?

Sexual health is a vast term encompassing various issues including:

  • Sexual relationships
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Gender identity
  • Fertility
  • Pregnancy, childbirth, and abortion
  • Sexual expression
  • Sexual pleasure
  • Sexually transmitted infections, their treatment, prevention, and complications
  • Sexual violence
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sexually risky behavior
  • Harmful practices (such as female genital mutilation)

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Medically Reviewed on 2/24/2022
References
https://utswmed.org/medblog/fenugreek-breast-milk-supply/#:~:text=Fenugreek%2C%20a%20type%20of%20seed,way%20to%20boost%20your%20production.

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03528538

https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/fenugreek

https://www.rxlist.com/fenugreek/supplements.htm