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Friday, July 1st 2005

Fenugreek has a long history of medical uses in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, and has been used for numerous conditions, including labour induction, aiding digestion, and as a general tonic to improve metabolism and health.

Numerous animal studies and preliminary trials in humans have found that fenugreek can help support healthy blood sugar and serum cholesterol levels in people with diabetes.

Build Milk Supply

Mothers who wish to build their milk supplies may consider using Fenugreek. Fenugreek is a herb that has long been used by healers as a galactogogue (to boost milk supply). Historically, fenugreek is a herb, trigonella foenum-graecum L, and is grown in various countries around the world including Argentina, France, India, North Africa and in the Mediterranean countries. The dried ripe seed of the plant is used, with one active ingredient being diosgenin (the same as in Wild Yam). Fenugreek is used as a ground seed (high in fiber) in capsule form to increase milk production.

The dose is 2-3 capsules (580-610 mg each), taken three times a day. Taking a lesser does may not increase milk supply. Results are often noticed in 1-3 days, although some mothers report no improvement.

If used to build milk supply, Fenugreek can generally be discontinued after milk supply is increased, as long as the mother can regularly breastfeed or pump.


The use of Fenugreek may cause a maple-syrup odour in a mother or baby's sweat.

It can have effects such as lowering blood sugar, and may cause allergy in some sensitive people with a history of asthma. Diabetic or asthmatic or allergic mothers should consult their health professional before using Fenugreek.

Reproduced unabridged from the July - September 2005 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful Before, During and After Pregnancy:

Calcium - Magnesium
Eczema Relief
Mother and Baby
Hi Strength Evening Primrose Oil
Clean Lean Protein Vanilla
Flax Bloom Oil
Floradix Formula 250ml
Fully Active Folate
Gentle Iron
Mineral Power
Multi for Pregnancy
Superior Iron
Pregnancy Support
Prenatal DHA
Whey Protein Vanilla
V-Omega 3 + Vitamin D

Related health information can be found here:

Breast Feeding
Calcium Deficiency
Herbs to avoid during pregnancy
Morning Sickness
Spirulina - nature's richest whole food source
Stretch Marks
Water Retention

Related articles can be found here:

Calm children at last
Healthy eye & brain development for babies
Minerals: Critical for well-being
Nature or Bad Parenting?
The Efamol story

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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