Scientists have identified several fenugreek extract benefits through scientific studies. Fenugreek is an annual plant that is used in making medicine. This plant is native to Asia and southern Europe. It has white flowers with yellowish brown, hard, angular seeds. In Hindi, it is called methi and it is among the popular ingredients of most dishes in North India. Among the benefits of fenugreek extracts that have been identified through scientific studies include aiding in digestion, controlling type II diabetes, acting as an anti-cancer agent and reducing cholesterol. However, fenugreek extract has side effects that you should be wary of. They include stomach upset, diarrhea, gas, bloating, nasal congestion, facial swelling, maple syrup smell in urine and allergic reaction.
Use fenugreek extract to enhance digestion
Fenugreek extract is one of the most effective acid flux or heartburn remedies. According to a study that was published by the Phytotherapy Research journal, taking fenugreek extract 30 minutes before meals reduces the severity of frequent heartburn. The researchers in this study established that fenugreek extract has effects that are similar to those of ranitidine taken at a dosage of 75mgs twice per day. The scientific mechanism behind this effect of fenugreek extract is the presence of mucilage which fights gastrointestinal inflammation. Mucilage does this by coating the intestines’ and stomach lining.
Take fenugreek extract to control type II diabetes
Taking fenugreek extract can be an efficient way of controlling type II diabetes. According to a study that was published in the Association of Physicians of India Journal, the scientific mechanism behind this activity of fenugreek extract is its ability to diminish glucose levels in the blood. This is because fenugreek extract has an unusual type of amino acid (4HO-Ile) that has anti-diabetic properties. This amino acid enhances the secretion of insulin under the hyperglycemic conditions while enhancing insulin sensitivity.
Take fenugreek extract as an anti-cancer agent
A scientific study that was published by the Cancer Biology and Therapy Journal shows that fenugreek acts as an anti-cancer agent. The scientific mechanism behind this activity is the presence of fibers that help in preventing certain cancers. The researchers also established that fenugreek causes estrogenic effects that can be used as an alternative for hormone replacement therapy. Additionally, fenugreek has mucilage and saponins which bind toxins before they are flushed out of the body. This provides protection to the colon’s mucus membrane against cancers.
Use fenugreek extract to reduce cholesterol
According to a study by the Central Food Technology Research Institute, fenugreek can be used to reduce bad cholesterol in the body. The scientific mechanism behind this activity of fenugreek extract is the presence of saponins which help in reducing the amount of cholesterol that the body absorbs from the ingested fatty foods. The study also established that fenugreek helps in dealing with the existing gallstones of cholesterol in the body.
Potential side effects
Although there are many fenugreek extract benefits, there are side effects too. They include lowering blood sugar level, stomach upset, diarrhea, gas, bloating, nasal congestion, facial swelling, maple syrup smell in urine and allergic reaction.
How to avoid fenugreek extract side effects
To avoid these side effects, talk to your healthcare provider before taking fenugreek extract or its supplement. Also take the extract as prescribed by the physician. Breast-feeding and pregnant women should not take fenugreek extract because it can lead to early contractions. Children should also not take fenugreek extract. For diabetic people, blood sugar should be monitored because fenugreek extract can lead to hypoglycemia or low level of blood sugar.
- Journal of Phytotherapy Research: A Review on the medicinal uses of fenugreek plant
- Association of Physicians of India Journal: Study on the therapeutic effects of powdered fenugreek consumption on serum lipid in Type II diabetes patients
- Cancer biology and therapy journal: Naturally occurring and edible spice use as an anti-cancer agent
- Central Food Technological Research Institute: Dietary onion and fenugreek attenuate the formation of cholesterol gallstones in lithogenic diet-fed mice