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Therapeutic Uses of Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.)

AJSIH | ISSN: 2276 6928 Fenugreek Special Issue Mar/Apr 2014 | Editors: S. K. Basu & G. Agoramoorthy | 21
Therapeutic Uses of Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.)
Jasim Naeem Al-Asadi
College of Medicine, Basrah University, Basrah, Iraq;
Herbs are used medicinally in different countries by around 80 % of people around the world,
mostly in the developing countries. They are a source of many potent and powerful drugs,
principally due to the common belief that they are without any side effects along with being
economical and locally accessible. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) is an herb that
grows anywhere around the world. Fenugreek is one of the oldest medicinal plants, originating in
India and Northern Africa. Its dried seeds have a wide application as a flavoring additive and are
good source of protein, fat, crude fiber, minerals and vitamins. In addition It has a broad
spectrum of therapeutic properties. It has been used for numerous indications, including labor
induction, aiding digestion, and as a general tonic to improve metabolism and health. Human and
animal trials suggest possible hypoglycemic and antihyperlipidemic properties of oral fenugreek
seed powder. Mucilaginous fiber present in fenugreek seeds may bind bile acids to reduce
cholesterol and fat absorption. The plant protein in fenugreek might exert a lipid lowering effect.
Steroidal saponins, alkaloids and 4-hydroxy-isoleucine may promote glucose metabolism and
inhibit absorption of cholesterol. Furthermore some chemical constituents of fenugreek may
directly stimulate insulin secretion from B-cells resulting in blood sugar reduction. Its
cardioprotective effects are attributed to its modulating effect on blood lipid levels and anti-
oxidant properties. In a number of studies, extracts of fenugreek seeds and some of their
constituents have shown anticarcinogenic potency. In addition, fenugreek was reported to have
gastroprotective effect, antimicrobial activities, anticancer effect, used in treatment of arthritis,
reducing weight, increasing milk production and may regulate hyperthyroidism. The aim of this
chapter is to review the literatures that investigate the various therapeutic uses of fenugreek.
Keywords: Fenugreek, Trigonella foenum-graecum L., therapeutic uses, pharmacological,
hypoglycemic, diabetes
Abbreviations: AlCl3: Aluminum Chloride; CRP: C- Reactive Protein; DMBA: 7,12-
Dimethylbenz [a] Anthracene; DNA: Deoxyribonucleic Acid; EAC: Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma;
ER: Estrogen Receptor; ERK: Extracellular Signal Regulating Kinase; ESR: Erythrocyte
Sedimentation Rate; HDL: High Density Lipoprotein; HL: Human Leukemia; JNK: c-Jun N-
terminal Kinase; L-Dopa: L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine; LDL-C: Low Density Lipoprotein
Cholesterol; NSAIDs: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs; PD: Protodioscin; SH:
Sulfhydryl; TG: Triglycerides; Th: T-helper; WBC: White Blood Cells
AJSIH | ISSN: 2276 6928 Fenugreek Special Issue Mar/Apr 2014 | Editors: S. K. Basu & G. Agoramoorthy | 22
Herbs have been used in all parts of the
world not only as food but also as potent
drugs for thousands of years. They do not
work like chemical drugs and they are not
substitute of them [1, 2]. Medicinal plants
are used by 80 % of the world population
especially in developing countries to cure
and improve the general health, principally
due to the common belief that plant-derived
drugs are without any side effects along with
being economical and locally accessible [3].
Fenugreek, Trigonella foenum-groecum L.,
is an annual herb grown in various countries
around the world. It was thought to be
indigenous to the countries bordering on the
eastern shores of the Mediterranean [4], but
now is widely cultivated in India, China,
northern and eastern Africa, and parts of
Europe and Argentina [5]. The health-
promoting property of fenugreek has been
long documented when it is taken as
vegetables, food supplements or medicinal
remedies. It has been used in many different
cultures, but especially in Asia and the
Mediterranean region [6].
Historical uses of fenugreek
Fenugreek has a long history as both a
culinary and medicinal herb in the ancient
world. Applications of fenugreek were
documented in ancient Egypt, where it was
used in incense and to embalm mummies
[7]. The Greeks and Romans used it for
cattle fodder (hence the Latin foenum
graecum meaning Greek hay). In ancient
Rome, fenugreek was purportedly used to
aid labor and delivery. In traditional Chinese
medicine, fenugreek seeds are used as a
tonic, as well as a treatment for weakness
and edema of the legs [8]. In India,
fenugreek is commonly consumed as a
condiment and used medicinally as a
lactation stimulant [9].
Active constituents
Fenugreek seed contains 45-60 %
carbohydrates, mainly mucilaginous fiber
(galactomannans); 20-30 % proteins high in
lysine and tryptophan; 5-10 % fixed oils
(lipids); pyridine-type alkaloids, mainly
trigonelline (0.2-0.3 6%), choline (0.5 %),
gentianine, and carpaine; the flavonoids
apigenin, luteolin, orientin, quercetin,
vitexin, and isovitexin; free amino acids,
such as 4-hydroxyisoleucine (0.09 %);
arginine, histidine, and lysine; calcium and
iron; saponins (0.6-1.7 %); glycosides
yielding steroidal sapogenins on hydrolysis
(diosgenin, yamogenin, tigogenin,
neotigogenin); cholesterol and sitosterol;
vitamins A, B1,C, and nicotinic acid; and
0.015 % volatile oils (n-alkanes and
sesquiterpenes), which are thought to
account for many of its presumed
therapeutic effects [10-12].
Pharmacological effects and mechanisms
of action
Fenugreek is known to have several
pharmacological effects such as:
hypoglycemic [13], and antilipidemic or
hypocholestrolemic [14]. However, the
exact mechanism of action is still unclear.
The antidiabetic effect of Fenugreek was
thought to be due to formation of a
colloidal-type suspension in the stomach and
intestines when the mucilagenous fiber of
the seeds is hydrated, therefore affecting
gastrointestinal transit, slowing glucose
absorption. The antilipidemic effects of
Fenugreek was thought to be due to
inhibition of intestinal cholesterol absorption
due to saponin-cholesterol complex
formation, increased loss of bile through
fecal excretion due to saponin-bile
complexes, thus increasing conversion of
cholesterol to bile by the liver, and effects of
amino acid pattern of fenugreek on serum
cholesterol [15]. Furthermore, this plant has
an antioxidant action [16], gastroprotective
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activity [17], appetite stimulation [18], and
antirheumatism [19] Histopathological
examination of liver and brain has revealed
that, aqueous extract of fenugreek seeds
offer a significant protection against ethanol
toxicity [20].
Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic
disorder characterized by derangements in
the metabolism of carbohydrate, protein and
lipids caused by complete or relative
insufficiency of insulin secretion or/and
action [21]. Diabetes is a major health
concern and its burden is increasing
globally. Herbal medicine plays an
important role in treatment of diabetes [22,
23]. Fenugreek seeds, leaves and extracts
had been used as an anti-diabetic in many
model systems [24-26]. In Arab countries, in
Saudi Arabia [27] and Iraq [28], fenugreek
was found to be among the most common
herbs used among people with diabetes.
Animal studies suggest hypoglycemic
effects of fenugreek [29, 30]. Human
studies also showed possible hypoglycemic
properties of fenugreek. Sharma et al (1990)
[31] conducted a randomized, controlled,
crossover trial in 10 patients with type1
diabetes. Over a 10-day period, the subjects
were served meals that contained 100 g
fenugreek seed powder in two divided doses
each day (lunch and dinner) or meals
without fenugreek. At the study’s end,
significant improvement was noted in the
fenugreek group in several parameters,
including a 54 % reduction in 24-hour urine
glucose levels and mean reductions in
glucose tolerance test values and fasting
serum-glucose levels (from 15.1 ± 2.4
mMol/L to 10.9 ± 2.75 mMol/L; P < 0.01).
Gupta et al reported the results of a double
blind placebo controlled study to evaluate
the effects of fenugreek seeds on glycemic
control [32]. Twenty five newly diagnosed
patients with type 2 diabetes (fasting glucose
< 200 mg/dl) were randomly divided into
two groups. Group I (n = 12) received 1
gm/day hydroalcoholic extract of fenugreek
seeds and Group II (n = 13) received usual
care (dietary control, exercise) and placebo
capsules for two months. There were no
significant differences between groups in
mean glucose tolerance test values at the
study’s end, but there was an increase in
percent insulin sensitivity. The authors
concluded that adjunct use of fenugreek
seeds improves glycemic control and
decreases insulin resistance in mild type-2
diabetic patients. In a study done in Iran,
on 24 Type 2 diabetics showed 10 g a day of
fenugreek for 8 weeks decreased fasting
blood glucose from 182 mg/dl to 136 mg/dl,
but did not change the HbA1C [33]. A study
on 166 type 2 diabetics in Jordan showed a
dose dependent improvement in 2 hour post
prandial sugars in the group receiving 5 g
fenugreek compared to those on 2.5 g
fenugreek and the control group [24]. In
another study on healthy subjects, Shakib et
al found those who consumed bread with
fenugreek had an improvement in the
postprandial glucose response compared to
those who ate bread without fenugreek
[34].Apart from biochemical improvements,
fenugreek seeds have been reported to
markedly suppress the clinical symptoms of
diabetes such as polyuria, polydypsia,
weakness and weight losses [35]. The
hypoglycaemic effect of fenugreek is
thought to be largely due to its high content
of soluble fiber which acts to decrease the
rate of gastric emptying, thereby delaying
absorption of glucose from the small
intestine [36]. 4-hydroxyleucine, a novel
amino acid from fenugreek seeds increased
glucose stimulated insulin release by islet
cells in both rats and humans [37]. Owing to
its particular insulinotropic action, 4-
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hydroxyisoleucine might be considered as a
novel secretagogue with potential role in
treatment of diabetes [38]. Saponin
compounds diosgenin, alkaloids and
trigonelline were shown to be associated
with inhibition of intestinal glucose uptake
in vitro [39]. Fenugreek has been shown to
increase erythrocyte insulin receptors and
improve peripheral glucose utilization, thus
showing potential pancreatic as well as
extrapancreatic effects [40].
Effect of fenugreek on serum lipids
There is some evidence from randomized
clinical trials that fenugreek reduces serum
cholesterol. In a single-blind study of 20
healthy male volunteers, Abdel-Barry et al
found a non significant decrease of 9.2 % in
total serum cholesterol after a single dose of
an aqueous extract made from fenugreek
leaves (40 mg/kg) compared with a
reduction of 2.8 % after dilute coffee extract
(placebo)[26]. Sharma et al investigated 15
non-obese, asymptomatic, hyperlipidemic
adults. After ingestion of 100 gm defatted
fenugreek powder per day for three weeks,
the subjects showed a decrease in their
triglyceride (TG) and low density
lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels as
compared with baseline values. Slight
decreases in high density lipoprotein (HDL)
levels were also noted [41].The triglyceride
lowering effect may be due to the pectin
component that absorbs bile acids [42].
Sowmya and Rajyalakshmi observed
significant reductions in total cholesterol
and low density lipoprotein cholesterol
(LDL-C) levels in 20 adults with
hypercholesterolemia who received 12.5-
18.0 gm powdered, germinated fenugreek
seeds for one month [43]. To evaluate the
effect of combination of Nigella sativa L.
and Trigonella foenum-graecum L. seeds
with Glibenclamide on serum triglyceride,
and high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels in
type-2 diabetes mellitus patients, Memon et
al conducted a study on 100 diabetic
patients. Those patients were randomly
divided into two groups. Fifty patients as a
control group were maintained on routine
dose of Glibenclamide, while the other 50
patients as an intervention group were given
capsules containing equal amount of
combined powder of N-sativa and T.
foenum-graecum seeds, in addition to their
routine dose of Glibenclamide. Serum
triglyceride, and HDL levels were measured
for every patient at the start and after 3
months of therapy. Comparison of the mean
values of parameters measured in both
groups showed that serum HDL levels were
significantly (P < 0.05) raised in
intervention group as against the control,
whereas the levels for serum triglycerides
was comparable in both the groups [44]. The
fiber constituents of fenugreek delay the
digestion and absorption of carbohydrates
[45]. The soluble fiber from fenugreek
appears to decrease reabsorption of bile
acids in the small intestine increasing the
excretion of cholesterol and bile acids into
the feces. Consequently, the need of
cholesterol for bile acid biosynthesis is
enhanced and blood cholesterol
concentrations are reduced [46].
Diosgenin, the primary furostanol saponin in
fenugreek has been proven to have various
effects on cholesterol metabolism, the most
important being its capacity to lower plasma
cholesterol concentration. This
hypocholesterolemic effect appears to be
dependent upon the capacity of diosgenin to
inhibit cholesterol absorption, to decrease
liver cholesterol concentration and to
increase biliary cholesterol secretion and the
fecal excretion of neutral sterols. The lipid-
lowering effect of fenugreek might also be
attributed to its estrogenic constituent,
indirectly increasing thyroid hormone [47].
The quality and quantity of protein in the
diets have a direct effect on the levels of
AJSIH | ISSN: 2276 6928 Fenugreek Special Issue Mar/Apr 2014 | Editors: S. K. Basu & G. Agoramoorthy | 25
cholesterol. Generally plant protein appears
to lower cholesterol level [48].
Cardioprotective effects
An animal study revealed that
administration of fenugreek proved to be
effective in reducing the extent of
myocardial damage and significantly
counteracted the oxidative stress during
isoproterenol-induced myocardial infarction
in rats [49]. Fenugreek has a strong
modulating effect on blood lipid levels. It
has demonstrated a remarkable ability to
lower cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL
levels while raising HDL levels [50], so can
substantially reduce the risk of
atherosclerosis. Another property of
fenugreek is the reduction of platelet
aggregation due to its coumarin and other
constituents which, in turn, dramatically
reduces the risk of abnormal blood clotting
associated with heart attacks and strokes
[15]. Fenugreek also contains many
important antioxidants and has the added
benefit of protecting other dietary and
internally produced antioxidants from free-
radical damage. This has important
cardioprotective benefits, as well as helping
to fortify the body against a range of other
chronic conditions [49].
Gastroprotective effect
One of the historical uses of fenugreek is
treatment of gastric ulcer. The ulcer
protective effect of fenugreek seeds
compared to omeprazole was studied on
ethanol-induced gastric ulcer in rats. The
aqueous extract and a gel fraction derived
from the seeds showed significant ulcer
protective effects compared to those on
omeprazole. The researchers found that the
cytoprotective effect of the seeds seemed to
be due to the anti-secretory action and to the
effects on mucosal glycoproteins. The
fenugreek seeds also prevented the rise in
lipid peroxidation induced by ethanol
presumably by enhancing antioxidant
potential of the gastric mucosa thereby
lowering mucosal injury [51]. In another
study done on rats also, aqueous extracts of
barley grains (Hordeum vulgare L.) and
fenugreek seeds (Trigonella foenum -
graecum L.) were administered to a group of
Albino rats previously subjected to aspirin at
400mg/kg b.w., for gastric ulcer induction.
The results revealed that rats treated with
barley and fenugreek aqueous extracts
showed significant decline in ulceration
severity as determined by ulcer index as
well as curative ratios. Also, there was a
significant increase in gastric mucus
(carbohydrate/ protein ratio in mucosa). The
anti-ulcer effect was further confirmed
histopathologically [52]. Another study
investigated the effect of fenugreek seeds on
Aspegic induced gastric mucosal ulcer in
rats. The results showed that fenugreek
seeds possess antiulcer potential [53]. The
antiulcer activity of fenugreek may be
attributed to its flavanoids contents since
they were reported to protect the mucosa by
preventing the formation of ulcerative
lesions by various necrotic agents [54, 55].It
was reported that the polysaccharide fraction
of fenugreek seeds forms a mucin like gel
layer of galactomannan on the surface of the
mucosa, or forms a protecting complexes
between gel and mucus as a barrier against
the agents introduced into the stomach or
against endogenously formed acid and
pepsin in the stomach [56]. Increase in
gastric mucosa content of sulfhydryl may
contribute to the anti-ulcer activity of the
fenugreek seeds. Gastric mucosal sulfhydryl
compounds (SHs) act as antioxidants and are
important for maintenance of mucosal
integrity in the stomach [57, 58].
Anticancer effect
In a number of studies, extracts of fenugreek
seeds and some of their constituents have
shown anticarcinogenic potency.
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Consumption of fenugreek was
accompanied with decreased polyamines
(spermine, spermidine, putrescine) content
in tumor tissue [59]. Srinivasan et al [60]
investigated the effect of diosgenin, a
biologically active constituent of fenugreek
seeds on breast cancer cell lines. Diosgenin
caused G1 cell cycle arrest by down
regulating cyclin D1, cdk-2 and cdk-4
expression in both estrogen receptor positive
ER (+) and estrogen receptor negative ER (-
) breast cancer cells resulting in the
inhibition of cell proliferation and induction
of apoptosis. Furthermore, diosgenin was
found to inhibit migration and invasion of
prostate cancer PC-3 cells by reducing
matrix metalloproteinases expression. It also
inhibited extracellular signal regulating
kinase (ERK), c-Jun N-terminal kinase
(JNK) and phosphatidylinositide-3 kinase
(PI3K/Akt) signaling pathways as well as
nuclear factor kappa B (NF-Κb) activity
[61]. Das et al also showed that diosgenin
alone or in combination with Thymoquinone
obtained from black cumin (Nigella sativa
L.) inhibit cell proliferation and induce
apoptosis in squamous cell carcinoma [62].
The antineoplastic effect of Trigonella
foenum graecum seed extract has been also
evaluated in the Ehrlich ascites carcinoma
(EAC) model in Balb-C mice. Intra-
peritoneal administration of the alcohol
extract of the seed both before and after
inoculation of EAC cell in mice produced
more than 70 % inhibition of tumour cell
growth with respect to the control.
Treatment with the extract was found to
enhance both the peritoneal exudate cell and
macrophage cell counts. The extract also
produced a significant anti-inflammatory
effect [63].
The effects of Protodioscin (PD) which was
purified from fenugreek on cell viability in
human leukemia HL-60 and human stomach
cancer KATO III cells were investigated.
PD displayed strong growth inhibitory effect
against HL-60 cells, but weak growth
inhibitory effect on KATO III cells. The
fragmentation by PD of DNA to
oligonucleosomal-sized fragments, that is a
characteristic of apoptosis, was observed to
be both concentration and time-dependent in
the HL-60 cells. These findings suggest that
growth inhibition by PD of HL-60 cells
results from the induction of apoptosis by
this compound in HL-60 cells [64]. In 1,2-
dimethylhydrazine (DMH) [which is a colon
carcinogen] treated rats, inclusion of
fenugreek seed powder in their DMH treated
diet reduced the colon tumor incidence to
16.6 % through modulation of DMH-
induced oxidative stress [65]. Chatterjee et
al reported a chemopreventive activity of the
methanolic extract of fenugreek seeds on
7,12-dimethylbenz [a] anthracene (DMBA)
induced skin papilloma genesis in Swiss
albino mice. They supposed that the
inhibition of tumorigenesis by the seed
extract might have been executed either by
preventing the formation of active
carcinogens from their precursors or by
augmenting detoxification process,
preventing promotional events in the mouse
skin through free radical scavenging
mechanism. The chemopreventive activity
of the methanolic extract of fenugreek seeds
may be due to the rich chemical constituents
(such as, saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids,
galactomannans) that are present in the seed
working synergistically at various stages of
angiogenesis [66]. Fenugreek tea was
reported to have an ability to inhibit further
growth of cancer cells without harming the
healthy cells of the body. Shabbeer et al
demonstrated that fenugreek extract were
cytotoxic in vitro to a panel of cancers but
not normal cells. Treatment with 10-15
µug/mL of fenugreek extract for 72h was
growth inhibitory to breast, pancreatic and
prostate cancer cell lines [67].
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Use of fenugreek in arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune
disease and estrogen-like compounds have
been known to inhibit inflammation of tissue
by activating pathways that counteract the
effects of autoimmunity disorders through
binding of estrogen metabolites to DNA
[68]. Fenugreek has been shown to stall
auto-immune disorders by acting as a mimic
of estrogen. Sreeja et al found that fenugreek
bound to estrogen receptors and acted as
estrogen by influencing genetic activities
and inducing the expression of estrogen-
responsive proteins [69]. In another study,
Ethanol extract of fenugreek was tested
against Freund's complete adjuvant-induced
arthritis in rats. It was found that the
activities of cyclooxygenase-2 and
myeloperoxidase and concentration of
thiobarbituric acid reactive substance were
decreased and the activities of antioxidant
enzymes, vitamins C and reduced
glutathione level were increased on
treatment with fenugreek mucilage. The
increment in erythrosedmintation rate (ESR)
and total white blood cells (WBC),
reduction in red blood cells (RBC) count
and hemoglobin and aberrant changes to the
C-reactive protein (CRP) levels observed in
the arthritic animals were also found to be
significantly restored in fenugreek mucilage
treated rats. Histo-pathological examination
also revealed decreased edema formation
and cellular infiltration on supplementation
with fenugreek mucilage [70]. Vyas et al
reported that combination of fenugreek,
Boswellia and Acacia shows restoration of
vascular and endothelial dysfunction caused
by chronic arthritis in rats [71]. It was
hypothesized that the anti-inflammatory and
antioxidant activities of T. foenum graecum
L. may be the possible reason behind the
observed anti-arthritic activity [72].
Antimicrobial effects of fenugreek
Herbal extracts are fast becoming popular as
natural antimicrobial preservatives or
additives [73, 74]. The antimicrobial
activities of plant extracts may reside in a
variety of different components, including
aldehyde and phenolic compounds. Many
studies had reported the antibacterial activity
of fenugreek. Omolosa and Vagi reported
strong activity of T. foenum-graecum against
26 bacterial pathogens [75]. Randhir et al
observed a high antimicrobial activity
against peptic ulcer-linked Helicobacter
pylori in the fenugreek sprout extract. They
hypothesized that in fenugreek sprouts,
simple free phenolics that are less
polymerized have more antimicrobial
function [76]. Phenolic-type antimicrobial
agents have long been used for their
antiseptic, disinfectant, or preservative
properties [77]. Methanol extract of
fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.)
and coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.)
revealed an elevated antimicrobial activity
against Pseudomonas spp., Escherichia coli,
Shigella dysentiriae and Salmonella typhi
[78]. Also it was reported that fatty oil of
fenugreek seeds showed very significant
antimycotic activity against Aspergillus
niger and A. fumigates [79].
Effect of fenugreek on body weight
Fenugreek seeds have long been used as a
herbal medicine for treating metabolic and
nutritive dysfunctions. Some studies
indicated that fenugreek seed extract
supplementation may reduce the body and
adipose tissue weight [80, 81]. A 6-week
double-blind randomized placebo-controlled
parallel trial of a fixed dose of a fenugreek
seed extract on 39 healthy overweight male
volunteers revealed that repeated
administration of a fenugreek seed extract
slightly but significantly decreased dietary
fat consumption in those healthy overweight
subjects [82]. The probable mechanism of
fenugreek decreasing the total body and
adipose tissue weight may be that fenugreek
flushes out the carbohydrates from the body
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before they enter the blood stream resulting
in weight loss. Also, fenugreek seeds
contain a high proportion (40 %) of soluble
fiber. This fiber forms a gelatinous structure
(similar to gaur gum) which may have
effects on slowing the digestion and
absorption of food from the intestine and
creates a sense of fullness in the abdomen,
thus suppresses appetite and promotes
weight loss [81]. The 4-hydroxyisoleucine
component of fenugreek extract may also
decrease plasma triglyceride gain
consequently leading to prevent the obesity
induced by a high-fat diet [80].
Other uses of fenugreek
Both leaves and seeds of fenugreek were
advised because of their haematinic value. It
was reported that the seeds contain high
amounts of iron and germination of the
fenugreek improves its vitamins A, B and C
content. They are rich in proteins with
essential amino acids, Ascorbate and Folate
content, have restorative and nutritive
properties and were found to raise blood
haemoglobin [83]. T. foenum-graecum
extract indicated a stimulatory influence on
immune functions in mice through
increasing the phagocytic index and
phagocytic capacity of macrophages [84].
Fenugreek may correlate with increased
milk production [85]. Fenugreek has also
been used to protect liver from ethanol-
induced hepatotoxicity [86], aluminum
chloride (AlCl3) induced hepatotoxicity
[87], and regulate hyperthyroidism [88]. It
was found to be useful therapeutic agent in
allergic inflammatory diseases. In animal
study, fenugreek extract cures T-helper 2
(Th2)-induced allergic skin inflammation by
enhancing T-helper 1 (Th1) differentiation
[89]. An emulsion containing fenugreek
seeds extract using liquid paraffin oil was
applied to the cheeks of human volunteers
for six weeks. A significant decrease in skin
melanin and erythma was produced by that
formulation [90]. Fenugreek was also
reported to be a useful adjuvant treatment
with L-Dopa in management of Parkinson's
disease patients [91]. Reduction in cataract
incidence has been demonstrated in diabetic
rats receiving an extract of fenugreek seeds
and leaves [92]. Another study showed a
significant delay in the onset and
progression of galactose-induced cataracts in
rats fed on 2.5 % fenugreek diet [93].
Fenugreek leaves extract can exert analgesic
effects. Trigonella foenum-graecum extract
may have analgesic activity similar to non-
steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
[94]. Analgesic effects of fenugreek seed
extract were shown in other studies, perhaps
by decreasing inflammation[95], or the
blocking of spinal purinoceptors may
contribute to the analgesic effect of
Trigonella foenum-graecum leaves extract
[96]. Wound healing properties of fenugreek
seeds have also been demonstrated in
excision, incision and dead-space wound
models in rats [97].
Adverse effects
Although fenugreek has traditionally been
considered safe and well tolerated, some
side effects have been associated with its
use. Caution in using fenugreek is warranted
in patients known to be allergic to it or who
are allergic to chickpeas because of possible
cross-reactivity [9]. Hypersensitivity
reactions that have been reported including
rhinorrhea, wheezing and fainting after
inhalation of the fenugreek- seed powder
[98] and facial angioedema after application
of a topical fenugreek paste for dandruff [9].
Hypoglycemia is an expected effect;
therefore, monitoring of blood glucose
levels should be taken once starting
supplementation [31]. Fenugreek may
increase the risk of bleeding due to its
coumarin content [99]. The effects of
fenugreek on haematopoietic stem cell of
bone marrow were reported. Fenugreek in
AJSIH | ISSN: 2276 6928 Fenugreek Special Issue Mar/Apr 2014 | Editors: S. K. Basu & G. Agoramoorthy | 29
teratogenic dosages can decrease the
severity of bone marrow cell proliferation
and increase fetal mortality rate [100]. A
potential antifertility activity of fenugreek
had been reported in rabbits fed diets
containing 30 % fenugreek [101]. Dyspepsia
and mild abdominal distention have been
reported in studies using large doses of the
seeds [32]. Mild central nervous stimulation,
rapid respiration and tremors were observed
following high doses of the aqueous extract
of fenugreek [102, 103].
Interactions with other drugs
Caution in using fenugreek with some drugs
should be warranted. Because of its
coumarin constituents, it may potentially
enhance the effect of anticoagulant drugs
[104]. Also, due to its high content of fiber
which is mucilaginous and has high
viscosity in the gut, fenugreek may decrease
or delay absorption of concomitant oral
medications [105]. Since fenugreek was
reported to reduce potassium level in some
healthy subjects [26], it may precipitate
hypokalemia when used with some diuretics,
laxatives or other hypokalemic agents.
Because of its hypoglycemic effects,
fenugreek may have additive hypoglycemic
activity when used with other anti-diabetic
medication [106]. Although, some herbalists
advocate its use during prolonged labor, use
of fenugreek during pregnancy should be
avoided because it has documented uterine
stimulant effects. In addition, Maple syrup
urine disease, a disorder of branched-chain
amino acid catabolism that results in
abnormal accumulations of the amino acids
and their metabolites, was suspected in a
healthy infant born to a mother who ingested
a paste prepared from fenugreek seeds early
in labo [107].
Natural products have been a major source
of new drugs. Herbs have gained more
attention in medicine due to the rising
popular concern about their safety.
However, the long-term safety for use as
herbal medicinal products has not been
established; fenugreek an herb that may hold
promise in this regard. Depending on human
and animal studies, fenugreek had been
considered by many researchers as a
potential medicinal herb particularly as an
anti-diabetic, hypolipidemic and an anti-
oxidant agent. It has an influence on
immune functions, anticancer properties,
antimicrobial, gastro and cardioprotective
effects, anti-arthritic and vascular protective
effect. However, many of its effects are
subjected to lack of clinical trials
confirmation. Furthermore, fenugreek can
cause undesired effects and it is also
reported to interact with many drugs.
Therefore, detailed clinical studies are
needed to strengthen these findings and to
evaluate the pharmacological properties and
effects of fenugreek.
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... In ancient Rome, it was used to aid labour and delivery. 11 Even today, Egyptian women use this plant as Hilba tea to alleviate menstrual pains and sedate tummy problems. 12 In China, seeds of fenugreek are used as a tonic in treatment for weakness and oedema of the legs. ...
... In India, it is used as a condiment and as medicine for lactic stimulation, and as treatments of indigestion and baldness. 11 In Iran leaves of fenugreek have been used to alleviate cold, cough, splenomegaly, hepatitis, backache, and bladder cooling reflex while seeds are used as a local emollient, a poultice for local inflammation, and as a demulcent to alleviate pain in joints (arthralgia). Infusion of fenugreek mixed with honey is recommended to treat asthma and internal oedemas. ...
... Numerous studies have demonstrated that hydroxyl isoleucine reduces insulin resistance brought on by obesity. It reduced the activity of a catalyst that changes tumor necrotic factor from mTNF to sTNF [19]. Additionally, fenugreek's ber content reduces appetite, which is enhanced in obese experimental units. ...
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Lifestyle decisions, food habits, stress, environmental variables, and synthetic substances are all contributing to the rapid advancement of human diseases. It has been demonstrated that the herb fenugreek is effective in treating conditions like cancer, high cholesterol, diabetes, and inflammation. Fenugreek extracts and powders have been successfully used in the culinary and pharmaceutical industries because of its therapeutic properties. This review aim was to emphasize the significant nutritional advantages and therapeutic uses of fenugreek as a strong treatment for a range of diseases.
... The production of fenugreek has been widely spread from Iran to Northern India ( Al-Asadi, 2014 ). Fenugreek which is one of the oldest plants explored for its medicinal values belongs to the family Fabaceae, which is originated in central Asia around 4000 BCE. ...
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According to the data provided by International Federation of Diabetes, 537 million adults of 20-79 age group are living with diabetes. The most frequent form found in patients are type 2 diabetes which accounts for more than 90-95% of cases. The current medical approaches involved in the treatment of diabetes mostly depend upon insulin injection and oral antidiabetic agents. Despite their effectiveness, the harmful side effects, limitation of synthetic drugs, shortage, lack of equitable distribution, unaffordability are some of the notable challenges in these approaches. In this direction, there are varieties of medicinal compounds derived from plants which are being meritoriously used for curing the different human problems and are recognized for their constructive impacts. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum Linn) is one of the stimulating plants with magnificent medicinal properties which have greatly enticed the researchers to work on its encouraging biological and pharmaceutical properties. It is well-recognized for its hypoglycemic influence in diabetic animals as well as human models under studies. Chemical composition of fenugreek is the key factor responsible for its promising biological properties and medicinal virtues which generally includes proteins, mucilaginous soluble fiber, dietary fibers, steroidal saponins, essential oil, fatty acids and many more. Gentianine, trigonelline, choline, carpaine, 4- hydroxyisoleucine, diosgenin, yamogenin, and many other are generally found as minor components but also branded for their substantial biological properties and impacts. Hypoglycemic activities are due to dietary fibers as suggested by several studies. Along with different physiological positive effects of fenugreek, the hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic properties of this spice have weighty place for the present and future studies. The aim of this review is to comprehensively analyze the efficacy of fenugreek from the point of these two properties namely, hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic properties and appraises the results of clinical trials of various animals and human models. Analytical insights on fenugreeks’ pharmacological assessment provide striking information which demonstrates the fenugreek and its different parts as a treasured medicinal spice.
... fenugreek mucilage [21]. ...
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Trigonella foenum graceum has a place in the fabaceae family fenugreek. It is composed of a variety of alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, free fatty acids and lipids, vitamins, minerals mucilage and fibres. Trigonella foenum graceum have hepatoprotective activity, antioxidant activity, mast cell stabilizing activity, anticancer activity, antibacterial activity, cardioprotective effect and antigenotoxic activity. Traditional medicine in India and other parts of the globe has used Trigonella foenum graceum as carminative, lactation stimulant, laxative, antidiabetic effect, hypocholesterolemic influence, antioxidant potency, digestive stimulant action and hepatoprotective effect.
... Fenugreek was reported to possess gastro protecting result, antimicrobial activities, anticancer effect, employed in treatment of arthritis, reducing weight, increasing milk production and may regulate gland disease. (Jasim, 2014). ...
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In the present research, spherical silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) of 33-75 nm size have been synthesized using AgNO3 solution and aqueous extract of Fenugreek plant seeds as a reducing agent. The principle is based on the reduction of AgNO3 by the extract of fenugreek seeds. The nanoparticles were characterized and investigated by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The size and shape of the nanoparticles were found to be sensitive to the quantity of the extract. Silver nanoparticles are broad-spectrum antibacterial agents and the internalization of nanoparticles within cells could occur via processes including phagocytosis, fluid-phase endocytosis and receptor mediated endocytosis. This approach is not only of a green rapid synthesis kind and considered as a better alternative to chemical synthesis, but also found to be effective for large scale synthesis of silver nanoparticles.
... They don't have the same side effects as chemical medications, and they don't have an alternative. People employ medicinal plants to cure and improve their general health problems in 80 percent of cases [1]. Fenugreek is an annual herb that is grown in various parts of the world. ...
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Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) is a medicinal herb and a green leafy vegetable used all over the world. It is mostly grown in India, Africa, Egypt, Pakistan, and other parts of the world. Vitamins, minerals, proteins, alkaloids, flavonoids, fibers, gums, and volatile chemicals are all found in abundance in fenugreek. It's been employed as a preservative in foods including pickles, chips, and bakery goods. Fenugreek has anti-cancer, anti-obesity, cardiac protective, gastroprotective, antifungal – antimicrobial properties, cholesterol-lowering agent, anti-diabetic, anti-carcinogenic, and helps in lowering blood sugar levels, improving sexual function, and galactogogue functions, among other therapeutic pharmacological effects. The purpose of this page is to examine the many investigations, papers, and publications that look into fenugreek's therapeutic pharmacological effects, health advantages, and chemical ingredients.
Women need specialized options for the management of women-related conditions, because of the physiological differences during the life cycle changes. The seeds and leaves of fenugreek are being used as traditional medicine sources in many countries worldwide. The present chapter reviewed available published traditional and modern scientific evidence on fenugreek or its constituent in the management of the female-specific disorder. The chapter covers the present evidence of efficacy and safety of fenugreek in animal and human clinical studies in female-specific conditions for use as a galactagogue, lactational aid in breastfeeding mothers, a libido enhancer, a management option for polycystic ovary syndrome, post-menopausal problems (dysmenorrhea, cognitive decline, and osteoporosis) and cancers.
Recently naturally acquired excipients with wider scope compared to synthetic excipients are widely used in novel drug delivery systems which directly or indirectly influence the extent and/or rate of drug release and absorption with reduced toxicity. In this regimen, gums obtained from natural sources which are inert, nontoxic, less expensive, biodegradable, biocompatible, etc., hold their role as excipients in novel drug delivery systems (tablets/nanoformulations/transdermal patches/gels). They have notable applications in pharmaceutical products as binders, disintegrants, suspending agents, emulsifiers, etc. Gums specifically as gelling or matrix-forming agents suit the requirement in novel drug delivery systems are one of the interesting fields of emerging research. Here the proposed book chapter will focus on the properties and characterization techniques of natural gums with a specific role as pharmaceutical excipient along with its relevance towards pharmaceutical applications in the development of novel pharmaceutical formulations.
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OBJECTIVE The present study was undertaken with an objective to examine the effects of fenugreek on a) Weight gain induced by high fat diet and its reduction by adding different doses (0.3% and 1%) of fenugreek seed extract and b) Organ weights METHODS 24 female ddY mice of 5 weeks old were selected for the study and were randomly assigned to 4 groups A, B, C and D and were fed with the following diet ad libitum for 22 days: A-High fat diet, BLow fat diet, C-High fat diet with fenugreek 0.3% and D-High fat diet with fenugreek 1%. Total body weights of each animal from all groups were measured on every 4 th day. Animals were sacrificed on the 22 nd day and organ weights were measured. RESULTS During the study stepwise gain in body weight was seen with both control groups (A and B) which is statistically significant, and a gradual decrease in body weight was seen in both the fenugreek-administered groups(C and D). Greater decrease in body weight was seen with higher concentration fenugreek (1%), which was statistically significant. Except for adipose tissue weight in female mice under study, weights of other organs were not significantly different. Significant increase in adipose tissue weight was seen in both the control groups A and B and significant decrease in adipose tissue weight was seen in test groups C and D.
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Herbal drugs are playing an important role in health care programmes worldwide, especially in developing countries. This is primarily due to the general belief that herbal drugs are without any side effects besides being cheap and locally available. The article gives an account of 21 medicinal plant species which are being used, on large scale, for treatment of particular diseases, reported to be having serious side effects. Medicinal plants, before being allowed to be used as drugs, should also be tested for side effects, if any.
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Background Having considered how bioavailable aluminium (Al) may affect ecological systems and animals living there, especially cattle, and in search for a preventive dietary treatment against Al toxicity, we aimed to test the protective role of fenugreek seeds against chronic liver injury induced by aluminum chloride (AlCl3) in Wistar rats. Results Five months of AlCl3 oral exposure (500 mg/kg bw i.g for one month then 1600 ppm via drinking water) caused liver atrophy, an inhibition of aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT) and glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), an enhancement of both lipid peroxidation and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity and an increase of total protein level in liver. Moreover, histopathological and histochemical examinations revealed moderate alterations in the hepatic parenchyma in addition to a disrupted iron metabolism. Co-administration of fenugreek seed powder (FSP) at 5% in pellet diet during two months succeeded to antagonize the harmful effects of AlCl3 by restoring all tested parameters. Conclusion This study highlighted the hepatotoxicity of AlCl3 through biochemical and histological parameters in one hand and the hepatoprotective role of fenugreek seeds on the other hand. Thus this work could be a pilot study which will encourage farmers to use fenugreek seeds as a detoxifying diet supplement for domestic animals.
The aqeous suspension and extract of the seed of Trigonella foenum graceum was investigated for wound healing properties in excision, incision and dead space wound models in rats. Results indicate that the suspension and extract promoted significant wound healing activity. The histological studies also support the results.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.), plant is widely distributed throughout the world and which belongs to the family Fabacecae. The yields can be significant increase in quantity and quality through the suitable management of cultivation, irrigation and harvesting. The plant contains active constituents such as alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids, Saponins etc. It is an old medicinal plant. It has been commonly used as a traditional food and medicine. Fenugreek is known to have hypoglycemic, and hypocholesterolaemic, effects, Anti-inflammatory effects. Recent research has identified fenugreek as a valuable medicinal plant with potential for curing diseases and also as a source for preparing raw materials of pharmaceutical industry, like in steroidal hormones. Since fenugreek is a self-pollinated crop, a mutation breeding method can be used to generate mutants with a determinate growth habit. Irradiation and chemical mutagens can be used to produce point mutations in fenugreek. This review gives view mainly on the biological activities of some of the fenugreek compounds isolated, pharmacological actions of the fenugreek extracts, clinical studies and genetic, bredding and biotechnological studies.
The aim of the study was to screen the medicinal and antibacterial activities of methanol and acetone extracts of the two spices Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum L.) and Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) available in Bangladesh. Crude extract of the spices with methanol and acetone were screened for antibacterial activities against four Gram negative pathogenic bacteria -Pseudomonas spp., Escherichia coli, Shigella dysentiriae and Salmonella typhi. The in vitro antibacterial activity was performed by agar well diffusion method. Methanol extract of Fenugreek and Coriander revealed an elevated antimicrobial activity against Pseudomonas spp. whereas acetone extract of spices exhibited highest activity against Escherichia coli. Acetone extract of Fenugreek and Coriander showed no activity against Salmonella typhi. The results obtained in the present study suggest that the methanol extract of Trigonella foenum Linn. and Coriandrum sativum Linn. revealed a significant scope to develop a novel broad spectrum of antibacterial herbal formulation.
Spices in India have paramount importance which is widely used as medicines. In the present randomized clinical trial, the study group supplemented with an oral medicinal dosage of powdered fenugreek seeds daily, for three consecutive months showed a significant rise in the levels of blood hemoglobin, in comparison with the study group who were not supplemented with it. This clinical trial proved that, the fenugreek seeds rich in proteins with essential amino acids, Iron, Ascorbate and Folate content, have restorative and nutritive properties. The daily use of fenugreek seeds as dietary supplement is safe. It has good beneficial effects to raise blood hemoglobin by easy means. This might further help to prevent and cure anemia and maintain good healthy life for longer duration.
Six species of edible Irish seaweeds; Laminaria digitata, Laminaria saccharina, Himanthalia elongata, Palmaria palmata, Chondrus crispus and Enteromorpha spirulina were screened for potential bioactivity. Extraction of secondary metabolites was carried out using different solvents to determine antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of the dried extracts. The total phenolic contents of dried methanolic extracts were significantly different (p < 0.05). H. elongata exhibited highest phenolic content at 151.3 mg GAE/g of seaweed extract and also had the highest DPPH scavenging activity (p < 0.05) with a 50% inhibition (EC50) level at 0.125μg/ml of extract. H. elongata also had the highest total tannin and total flavonoid contents (p < 0.05) of 38.34 mg CE/g and 42.5 mg QE/g, respectively. Antimicrobial activity was determined using a microtitre method which allowed detection of bacterial growth inhibition at low levels. All methanolic seaweed extracts inhibited the food spoilage and food pathogenic bacteria tested; Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella abony, Enterococcus faecalis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, except C. crispus extracts. It was found that dried methanolic extracts of red and green seaweeds had significantly lower antimicrobial activity than the brown species; H. elongata had the highest antimicrobial activity with up to 100% inhibition. In the studied work, the antimicrobial activity of red and green seaweed extracts significantly increased when ethanol and acetone were used as extraction solvents (p < 0.05). Inhibition of E. faecalis with C. crispus extracts increased from 39.28 to 100% when ethanol and acetone were applied as solvents.
The objective of this study is to evaluate disease modifying efficacy and safety of a standardized extract of Trigonella foenum-graecum L, Fenugreek (IBHB) (family Fabaceae) as a nutritional adjuvant to Levo-dopa (L-Dopa) in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. We conducted double-blind placebo-controlled proof of concept clinical study of IBHB capsules (300 mg, twice daily) with matching placebo for 6 months of period in 50 patients of PD stabilized on L-Dopa therapy. The efficacy outcome measures were the scores of Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS - total and its subsections), and Hoehn and Yahr (H&Y) staging at baseline and end of 6-months treatment duration. Safety evaluation included haematology, biochemistry, urinalysis parameters and adverse event monitoring. Total UPDRS scores in IBHB treatment (0.098%) showed slower rise as opposed to steep rise (13.36%) shown by placebo. Further, Clinically Important Difference for total UPDRS scores and scores of motor subsection of UPDRS was found to be 5.3 and 4.8, respectively, in favour of IBHB treatment. Similar improvement was shown by IBHB in terms of H&Y staging as compared with placebo. IBHB was found to have excellent safety and tolerability profile. In conclusion, IBHB can be useful adjuvant treatment with L-Dopa in management of PD patients. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.