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Authors

  1. Singletary, Keith W. PhD

Abstract

The objectives of this article are to provide a brief overview of the scientific literature regarding the use of fenugreek in the management of hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia and suggest recommendations for additional research. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L., family Fabaceae) is an annual herb with triangular yellow flowers and seed-containing pods that grows in countries of the Mediterranean, Middle East, India, China, and, more recently, Canada. Fenugreek seed or its extracts are found in food products such as frozen dairy products, gelatin puddings, candy, and gravy sauces and in alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. An extract of fenugreek also is used as a flavoring ingredient in imitation maple syrup. Fenugreek has a history of use in traditional medicine in India and China. Its uses include as a treatment of weakness and leg edema, as a lactation and appetite stimulant, and as a remedy for indigestion, baldness, and fever. Some have used it topically for myalgia, wound treatment, and cellulitis. One potential benefit of fenugreek is improving elevated blood glucose and lipid levels associated with chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Human investigations suggest that fenugreek can be beneficial as an adjunct in controlling high blood glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes. However, larger, adequately powered, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials examining multiple measures of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and insulin homeostasis are needed.