What you Should Know about Fenugreek Side Effects

November 12, 2012

What you Should Know about Fenugreek Side Effects

Fenugreek, an annual herb, is known for its flavor and medicinal benefits. This herb is touted to have a number of benefits including promoting kidney, respiratory, joint, immune, cardiovascular, sex, and digestion health as well as heal wounds. Clinical studies have shown that fenugreek can lower cholesterol levels by up to 14 percent when consumed for a 6 month period. Clinical studies have also shown that fenugreek and lower blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Fenugreek is also believed to enhance milk flow and milk production in nursing women. Although this herb has a number of beneficial uses, fenugreek side effects do exist.

When fenugreek is used at recommended doses it appear to be safe. However, when used in relatively high doses such as 100gm a day or more, fenugreek side effects become apparent. These side effects include upset stomach, gas and bloating, diarrhea and nausea. Furthermore, fenugreek has the taste and odor of maple syrup and causes the urine and sweat to take on a maple syrup smell as well.

Individuals who are anemic should stay away from fenugreek. Fenugreek tends to interfere with iron absorption. If for some reason you are taking thyroid hormones, stay away from fenugreek. Fenugreek side effects also include altering the relative levels of thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) that can affect muscle and bone growth. If you are a person who has blood clotting disorders, diabetes, allergies, asthma or are pregnant, talk with your healthcare professional before you take fenugreek supplements. Make sure you tell your healthcare provider about all medications you are taking including prescriptions, vitamins and natural supplements to avoid unwanted fenugreek side effects.

Fenugreek side effects that can be life threatening include internal bleeding, allergic reactions and miscarriage. Symptoms of internal bleeding include: black tarry stools, red blood in stools, and vomiting of blood. Symptoms of stroke include: changes in vision and/or speech, headache, and weakness in muscles and/or tingling or numbness in legs or arms. Allergic reactions present skin rashes, hives, itching, swelling of the tongue, lips or face, wheezing or difficulty breathing (anaphylaxis). In the past, fenugreek was used to initiate labor so if it were taken during pregnancy it might activate early labor or miscarriage.

Although fenugreek is touted to promote some form of health benefit for most organs, there is very little scientific evidence for this. Most of the fenugreek side effects are mild unless you are allergic to it or have blood clotting problems. If you eat the plant or seeds, any fenugreek side effects should be minimal however, if you are taking a supplement side effects could be more severe. If in doubt, consult with your healthcare professional or pharmacist for further information.

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