Fenugreek, an abundant herb grown and produced in South Asia, is known to have many nutritional, medicinal and culinary benefits. It is a humble herb that looks like a giant clover with tiny white flowers and tiny yellow seeds. While people around the world, mostly in India and China, still prefer to eat its seeds raw or roasted, they are now commercialized and popularized in the West as fenugreek pills, capsules supplements, and herbal teas.
Fenugreek, also referred to as Greek Hay, Bird’s Foot and Trigonella foenum-graecum, is popularly used by lactating mothers to increase production of breast milk, as recommended by lactation aide experts. In fact, before modern medicine acknowledged this ability of the herb, it has long been used as galactagogue in a number of countries including India, China and Egypt.
According to a paper reported by Swafford (2000), “The use of fenugreek significantly increased volume of breastmilk.” Another researcher states, “We have been recommending fenugreek for six years whenever a mother’s milk production is determined to be low.” According to mothers who have used the herb, they have noticed much improvement in their ability to produce milk in just 24 to 72 hours after having begun to take the herb, although some may need a few weeks to see results.
Mothers are suggested to take 2 to 4 pills, thrice a day for a total of 6 to 12 in a day.
What truly makes fenugreek pills acceptable is that they are safe. Nursing mothers may find it risky taking any kind of supplement other than those prescribed by their doctors. Although it is indeed correct and advised to see a doctor before taking any supplements, so far it has been discovered that fenugreek is safe and does not have any adverse effects to both mother and baby. So far the only observed side effects are minor ones, which include diarrhea and intestinal distress. The Food and Drug Administration of the United States reports that fenugreek is safe for lactating mothers when used in moderation.
Ultimately, though, pregnant women should avoid ingesting the herb since fenugreek is a uterine stimulant, and so could induce premature labor.
Also, fenugreek is regularly consumed as food, which is perhaps why it is safe and nutritional. It is commonly used to prepare artificial maple syrup and delicious curry pastes and powders. It is one of the leading spices in Asia and is so important in that cuisine that, in fact, most Asian delicacies won’t taste right without the herb. Fenugreek seeds are typically eaten raw, roasted, sprouted or as salad. They taste bittersweet and smell powerfully aromatic.
Today, fenugreek is an accepted herb supplement around the world that is used to stimulate breast milk production, lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, enlarge or enhance female breasts, improve libido, and act as a bodybuilding supplement.
Fenugreek pills, tablets, capsules or supplements contain only ground seeds and are commercialized in most health food stores, groceries (spice section) and online. Pills normally contain 500 to 600 mg, and a bottle has 100 capsules and costs about $6 to $8. Fenugreek is also sold as teas or actual herbs or teas.