You may know of fenugreek seed as a sweet and aromatic spice used in Asian cooking. However, fenugreek has also been used in Chinese and Indian medicinal traditions for thousands of years to treat various skin disorders and internal conditions. More recently, medical researchers have studied fenugreek’s medicinal uses and collected promising results. To use it as a health supplement or a natural remedy for various ailments, you can take fenugreek in powder form, as a tincture or even use the seeds to brew tea.
1. Protects Heart Health
Fenugreek contains properties that help protect your heart by regulating blood lipid levels. It’s been found to help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Fenugreek also helpes reduce blood platelet aggregation, which helps lower your risk of blood clotting that can cause heart attack and stroke. The antioxidants in fenugreek also have cardioprotective benefits; they neutralize oxidative stress, which is linked to heart disease.
2. Increases Testosterone Levels and Libido in Men
Fenugreek has been found to help boost testosterone and libido in men and is used as a natural remedy for impotence.
In a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism , 15 men on a strength training regimen were given 500 mg of fenugreek daily, and 15 men on the same training regimen didn’t supplement with fenugreek. After two months, the results found that members of the fenugreek group all experienced an increase in testosterone and on average a 2 percent reduction in body fat. On the other hand, the group that didn’t take fenugreek had a slight decline in testosterone.
Another study, published in Phytotherapy Research , gave 60 men with no history of erectile dysfunction a daily 600 mg dose of fenugreek extract or a placebo. After six weeks, the group that took fenugreek reported helped increase libido, and the study concluded that fenugreek extract helped boost sexual arousal, energy and stamina in men.
3. Reduces Symptoms of Painful Menstruation in Women
Research shows that fenugreek can lessen the severity of dysmenorrhea in women. Women with dysmenorrhea may experience painful menstrual cramps, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, lightheadedness, headaches and fatigue while menstruating. In a 2014 placebo-controlled clinical trial published in the Journal of Reproduction and Infertility , menstruating women who took fenugreek seed powder experienced reductions in all the above symptoms.
4. Alleviates Constipation, Indigestion and Bloating
Fenugreek is a gentle, natural laxative. When the full seeds are consumed, or if they’re ground into powder, they’re a rich source of dietary fiber. This fiber collects water in the gut and becomes a gel-like substance. It adds bulk to the stool and puts pressure on the intestinal wall. As a result, the intestines begin contracting, which promotes the passing of stool. Fenugreek tea and extract can fight indigestion and bloating by neutralizing excess acid in the digestive tract and reducing inflammation in the bowels.
5. Boosts Milk Supply in Nursing Mothers
Insufficient milk supply has a multitude of potential causes and it affects many breastfeeding mothers, as well as their babies. In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Pediatric Sciences , 77 new mothers experienced increased breast milk production from taking fenugreek seed tea daily. As a result, their babies gained more weight within two weeks than they had before the fenugreek supplementation. To boost milk supply, you can also add fenugreek seed powder to a smoothie or take a fenugreek tincture to reap the same benefits.
6. Reduces Inflammation
Fenugreek has an anti-inflammatory effect on all parts of the body, which can make it helpful for a wide range of internal and external health problems. It can reduce inflammation associated with ulcerative colitis, kidney ailments, bronchitis, cancer and more. A research study on arthritic rats published in International Immunopharmacology  found that fenugreek significantly reduced inflammation in the joints. It concluded that fenugreek may be an effective natural treatment for arthritis.
Besides taking fenugreek internally for inflammation, you can also use it topically as a poultice to treat swelling, muscle pain, gout, swelling of the lymph nodes, leg ulcers, sciatica and eczema. This is done by soaking a cloth in warm fenugreek tea and applying it directly to the skin. You can also create a paste using fenugreek seed powder and water, and then apply it to the swollen area.
7. Helps Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
Multiple research studies on people with diabetes involving fenugreek have shown amazing potential. Fenugreek seems to help improve the metabolic symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes by lowering blood glucose levels and insulin resistance . This improves cellular uptake of glucose, resulting in more food being converted to fuel instead of stored as fat.
Fenugreek has a long history of use in traditional medicine around the world, including North Africa, India and the Middle East. It’s known to help with numerous health issues and can be safely taken long term to help manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. Otherwise, it can be used on an as-needed basis for stomach issues, menstrual pain and libido. Fenugreek seeds are even a rich source of minerals, including iron, manganese, magnesium and copper.