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Fenugreek

What is it?

Fenugreek is an herbal medicine used to treat type II diabetes and high cholesterol. It is used on the skin to decrease skin pain and swelling.

Other names for Fenugreek include: Trigonella, Greek Hayseed, and Bockshornsamen.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease

Dosage:

Talk with your caregiver about how much Fenugreek you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Fenugreek. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take Fenugreek without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Blood thinning medicine (examples: warfarin (Coumadin(R)), clopidogrel (Plavix(R)), aspirin, enoxaparin (Lovenox(R)), dalteparin (Fragmin(R)))
  • Medicine for diabetes (examples: metformin (Glucophage(R)), glyburide (DiaBeta(R) Glynase(R)), glipizide (Glucotrol(R)), insulin))

Warnings:

  • Before taking Fenugreek, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not take Fenugreek at the same time as other medications; separate administration by an hour or two

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Diarrhea and gas are the most common side effects
  • Maple syrup smell in your sweat or urine
  • In infants exposed to Fenugreek before birth or after birth through breast milk of a mother using Fenugreek, you may notice a maple syrup odor in their urine

References:

1. Bisset NG, editor: Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals (Wichtl M, editor, German edition). Medpharm, Stuttgart, Germany; 1994.

2. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A et al (eds): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council, Austin, TX; 1998.

3. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD: In Herbal Medicines, A Guide For Health-care professionals. Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, UK; 1996.

4. Brinker F: Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. Eclectic Medical Publications, Sandy, OR; 1998.

5. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R et al (eds): American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; 1997.

6. Al-Habori M & Raman A: Antidiabetic and hypocholesterolaemic effects of fenugreek. Phytother Res 1998; 12: 233-242.

7. Sharma RD, Sarkar A, Hazra DK et al: Toxicological evaluation of fenugreek seeds: a long term feeding experiment in diabetic patients. Phytother Res 1996; 10: 519-520.

8. Topaloglu Ak, Zeller WP, Andresen BD et al: Maternal fenugreek ingestion stimulating maple syrup urine odor in the infant. Ann Med Sci 1996; 5(1): 41-42.


Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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