Balance Your Blood Sugar, Hormones, and More with Fenugreek

| Sep 22, 2016

fenugreek-benefits

You’ve probably already noticed that many of the most popular spices are good for more than just flavoring food dishes. In past articles, we’ve discussed how turmeric, saffron, clove, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, and oregano are all healing powerhouses.

Another spice that deserves to be added to this list is fenugreek, an herb with such potent healing properties that it’s often used as a supplement too.

Ancient practitioners of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine used fenugreek to treat a wide variety of health problems, including skin conditions, digestion issues, fatigue, and sluggish metabolism

As is the case with most healing spices, fenugreek—or Trigonella foenum-graecum—has been used as a medicinal agent for thousands of years. Spice trade was a huge economic engine of the ancient world, not just because spices taste good, but because they were revered as powerful medicines.

Ancient practitioners of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine used fenugreek to treat a wide variety of health problems, including skin conditions, digestion issues, fatigue, and sluggish metabolism. It was even used to induce labor.[1]

These applications provide a glimpse into fenugreek’s profound hormone and metabolism balancing abilities. When put to the test by modern researchers, this humble herb more than lived up to its medicinal reputation.

Hormone support for men and women

Endocrine disruption is one of the most prevalent factors underlying many of society’s greatest health issues. Hormones govern a staggering number of processes throughout the body—when they’re thrown out of balance by stress, environmental toxins, and other destabilizing factors, the whole system suffers.

The applications described below are examples of specific ways in which fenugreek heals the body by balancing the endocrine system. It’s important to note, though, that these benefits are symptoms of a greater healing of underlying hormonal processes—healing that leads to overall health, vitality, and longevity (this is why the ancients considered fenugreek a potent tonic for general health).

Increases breast milk production. Insufficient breast milk production is one common effect of endocrine dysfunction. It’s a tragic and widespread issue that adversely affects not only mothers but also nursing children, whose growth and development can be hampered without the optimal nutrition provided by natural breast milk (many available baby formulas are toxic and should not be given to developing children).

Researchers discovered that fenugreek significantly increased milk production compared to placebo,[2] and in some cases even more than doubled it.[3] And best of all, this benefit comes without the cost of any side effects (a constant danger for mothers who take prescription drugs for hormone balance and milk production).

Fenugreek has the amazing ability to provide endocrine support for both women and men

Boosts male testosterone levels and sexual function. Unlike estrogenic supplements for female hormone support (which have an estrogen-specific mechanism and wouldn’t be helpful for men), fenugreek has the amazing ability to provide endocrine support for both women and men.

Studies have demonstrated that it’s an incredible ally for men suffering from low testosterone and low libido. In one study, researchers found that giving men 600 milligrams of fenugreek per day for six weeks increased strength and improved sexual function by boosting testosterone levels.[4]

The boost was even more remarkable for men in a study that combined daily fenugreek supplementation with four weight lifting sessions per week. This group also experienced the added benefit of fat reduction, thanks in part to fenugreek’s metabolism-balancing properties.[5]

Take care of diabetes, cholesterol, and more

Metabolic function—whether in the form of blood sugar metabolism, digestive metabolism, or mitochondrial (energy) metabolism—is also at the heart of many prevalent health problems. Researchers have been pleasantly surprised, though, to find that fenugreek offers great promise in this field, as well.

A must-have for diabetics. Perhaps the most widespread of all metabolic dysfunctions is diabetes. Luckily, studies have demonstrated that fenugreek works remarkably well for improving various markers of blood sugar metabolism. It even improves overall carbohydrate tolerance for non-diabetics, type 1 diabetics, and type 2 diabetics.[6]

One study reported a 54% improvement in 24-hour urinary blood sugar clearance in type 1 diabetics (meaning blood sugar metabolism was boosted),[7] another showed that fenugreek reduced blood sugar levels by 13.4% within four hours,[8] and yet another revealed that fenugreek was better at reducing fasting blood sugar levels than a variety of other well-known diabetes-healing herbs, including milk thistle and cinnamon.[9]

Cholesterol, heartburn, and beyond. Compared to other healing herbs (like turmeric), there have been relatively few studies conducted on fenugreek—but it seems that the more researchers dig, the more healing benefits they find.

There’s evidence that fenugreek improves cholesterol, lowers triglycerides (one of the leading risk factors for heart disease), and even relieves frequent heartburn as effectively as antacids (without the digestion-disrupting effects of this more conventional treatment).

And because fenugreek balances the metabolism, appetite control seems to be an accompanying effect—those who consume it regularly seem to reduce their fat intake significantly.[10]

Some researchers even believe fenugreek to be anti-inflammatory—which would open the herb up to a whole new world of healing potential (given that inflammation is a root cause of nearly every disease). Research has barely been conducted on its traditional applications for skin conditions and digestive issues, so there’s bound to be more and more positive reports about this healing spice in the future.

If you want to try out fenugreek for yourself, start off with 500 milligrams per day and work up to 1,000 milligrams after a few weeks if it agrees with your body. Do your homework to ensure that you’re using the dosage that’s suited to your issue, and always talk to your doctor first if you’re taking other medications.

 


References

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12611558

[2] http://www.pediatricsciences.com/article/view/1050000487

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21261516

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21312304

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21116018

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16379570

[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2194788

[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11370345

[9] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21843614

[10] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19353539

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Category: Body, Featured, Healthy Living, Natural Health

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