Trigonella foenum-graecum

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-18 (EDT)

See Also Botanical Monographs

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is used to treat a number of conditions ranging from skin conditions, to diabetes to digestive conditions. To explore the characteristics, medicinal uses and prescribing considerations of this herb in more detail, check out the references indicated.[1], [2]



Historical Uses:

Trigonella foenum-graecum was used to induce childbirth in ancient Egypt. Dioscorides used it for all types of gynecological problems.

Medicinal Uses:

  • sores, fistulas boils (topically)
  • tumors, vaginal cancer (topically)

Prescribing Considerations

The information provided is intended to augment the treatment from a naturopathic doctor or other trained medical professional. Although most herbs are generally safe, it is recommended that you avoid self-prescribing especially when there is an underlying ongoing medical condition, if you are on any prescription medications or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Formulations and Preparation

  • Decoction - 1 1/2 tsp/cup to stimulate lactation, up to three times daily
  • Tincture - 1-2mL to 3-6mL three times daily
  • Defatted seed powder - 15-50g twice daily
  • Infusion - 1-2 tsp seed powder in 8oz of water, cold infusion (1 hour), two-three times daily
  • Seed - 1.5 tsp daily


The safety and prescribing considerations for this herb include:[3], [4]

  • Generally regarded as safe.
  • Side-effects may include a hypoglycemic effect with type 1 and type 2 diabetes; insulin dosage may need to be adjusted.
  • Contraindicated in pregnancy due to its emmenagogue and abortifacient action.
  • Drug-Herb Interactions. [2]
  • Oral Drugs in General - Slows absorption due to the mucilage (speculative)
  • Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs - Additive effect (speculative)
  • Warfarin - May interfere with, though not observed in humans (speculative)


  1. Boon Heather, Smith Michael (2009) 55 Most Common Medicinal Herbs: The Complete Natural Medicine Guide Second Edition Institute of Naturopathic Education and Research, CCNM Toronto.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Godfrey Anthony, Saunders Paul, Barlow Kerry, Gowan Matt (2011) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Advanced Botanical Medicine. V3 CCNM Press, Toronto.
  3. Stargrove Mitchell Bebell, Treasure Jonathan, McKee Dwight L (2008) Herb, Nutrient and Drug Interactions: Clinical Implications and Therapeutic Strategies
  4. Brinker Francis (1997) Herbal Contraindications and Drug Interactions: Plus Herbal Adjuncts With Medicines, 4th Edition Eclectic Medical Publications.