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All about: fenugreek

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Generic Name: fenugreek (FEH new greek)
Brand Names:

What is fenugreek?

The use of fenugreek in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

Fenugreek is also known as Trigonella foenum-graecum, Greek hay seed, and bird's foot.

Fenugreek is a commonly used flavoring agent and food product. Fenugreek is also available as an herbal supplement. The information contained in this leaflet refers to the use of fenugreek as an herbal supplement. When used as a food product, the benefits and potential side effects of fenugreek may be less pronounced than when it is used as an herbal supplement.

Fenugreek has been used orally for loss of appetite and stomach complaints. Fenugreek has also been used topically (on the skin) to treat inflammation, boils, wounds, and eczema.

Fenugreek has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of fenugreek may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Fenugreek may also have uses other than those listed in this product guide.

What is the most important information I should know about fenugreek?

Fenugreek is a commonly used flavoring agent and food product. Fenugreek is also available as an herbal supplement. The information contained in this leaflet refers to the use of fenugreek as an herbal supplement. When used as a food product, the benefits and potential side effects of fenugreek may be less pronounced than when it is used as an herbal supplement.

Do not take fenugreek without first talking to your doctor if you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder or diabetes, or if you are taking any medicines to prevent or treat a blood clotting disorder or diabetes. Fenugreek has been reported to affect blood clotting and blood sugar levels.

Fenugreek has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of fenugreek may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before using fenugreek?

Do not take fenugreek without first talking to your doctor if you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder or diabetes, or if you are taking any medicines to prevent or treat a blood clotting disorder or diabetes. Fenugreek has been reported to affect blood clotting and blood sugar levels.

Also, talk to your doctor before taking fenugreek if you have any other medical conditions, if you take medicines or herbal/health supplements other than those previously listed, or if you suffer from allergies (especially to plants). Fenugreek may not be recommended in some situations.

Do not take fenugreek supplements without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. It is not known whether fenugreek will harm an unborn baby. The amount of fenugreek customarily used in foods is not reported to be problematic. Do not take fenugreek without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. It is also not known whether fenugreek will harm a nursing infant. The amount of fenugreek customarily used in foods is not reported to be problematic. There is no information available regarding the use of fenugreek supplements by children. Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without first talking to the child's doctor.

How should I take fenugreek?

The use of fenugreek in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

If you choose to take fenugreek, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Standardized extracts, tinctures, and solid formulations of herbal/health supplements may provide a more reliable dose of the product.

Take the pill forms of fenugreek with a full glass of water.

To ensure the correct dose, measure the liquid forms of fenugreek with a dropper or a dose-measuring spoon or cup.

Some forms of fenugreek can be brewed to form a tea for drinking.

Topical forms of fenugreek are intended for external use only. Do not use different formulations (e.g., tablets, topical formulations, teas, tinctures, and others) of fenugreek at the same time, unless specifically directed to do so by a health care professional. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose of fenugreek.

Store fenugreek as directed on the package. In general, fenugreek should be protected from light and moisture.

What happens if I miss a dose?

No information is available regarding a missed dose of fenugreek. Consult your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider if you require further information.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a fenugreek overdose have not been reported.

What should I avoid while taking fenugreek?

There are no known restrictions on food, beverages, or activity while taking fenugreek, unless otherwise directed by your health care provider.

Fenugreek side effects

Although uncommon, allergic reactions to fenugreek have been reported. Stop taking fenugreek and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives.

Fenugreek may change the color and smell of the urine. Although this is not harmful, your doctor may question this change in color or odor since it may be similar to that caused by the metabolic disorder "maple syrup urine disease".

Other less serious side effects have not been reported with the use of fenugreek, although they are possible. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect fenugreek?

Do not take fenugreek without first talking to your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:
  • a medicine to control blood sugar levels such as insulin, glipizide (Glucotrol), glyburide (Glynase, Diabeta, Micronase), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), tolbutamide (Orinase), tolazamide (Tolinase), troglitazone (Rezulin), rosiglitazone (Avandia), repaglinide (Prandin), metformin (Glucophage), and others;

  • warfarin (Coumadin);

  • aspirin;

  • a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, others), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, Naprelan, Anaprox, others), ketoprofen (Orudis KT, Orudis), indomethacin (Indocin), etodolac (Lodine), nabumetone (Relafen), oxaprozin (Daypro), piroxicam (Feldene), sulindac (Clinoril), tolmetin (Tolectin), and others;

  • ardeparin (Normiflo);

  • dalteparin (Fragmin);

  • danaparoid (Orgaran);

  • enoxaparin (Lovenox);

  • heparin; or

  • a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor including isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), or phenelzine (Nardil).

You may not be able to take fenugreek, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring while taking fenugreek if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

Also, do not take any other medicine at the same time as fenugreek. Due to the high fiber content of fenugreek, it may affect the absorption of other medicines.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with fenugreek or affect your condition. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines or other herbal/health supplements.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider may have more information about fenugreek.

  • Consultation with a licensed health care professional is advisable before using any herbal/health supplement. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous. Remember, keep this and all other prescription drug products, over-the-counter drug products, and herbal/health supplements out of the reach of children.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.03. Revision Date: 2/13/04 4:08:28 PM.

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