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What is Fenugreek Oil?

By Synthia L. Rose
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Fenugreek oil is a waxy liquid pressed or distilled from the seeds of the trigonella foenum gracecum plant. Used for centuries across Asia and in the Mediterranean area, this essential oil is rich in phytic acid, saponins, and trigonelline. These nutrients, along with antioxidants, endow this oil with the power to fight viruses, cancer tumors, and free radicals which lead to aging.

Useful for diabetics, fenugreek oil has been cited in medical studies as a supplement that can lower blood sugar; this is its most common use. The herbal oil increases insulin receptors and encourages better metabolizing of glucose. Functioning of the pancreas, the primary organ responsible for insulin secretion, becomes more efficient with fenugreek supplementation, most studies show. The oil, however, can be dangerous in large amounts for some people, because it can cause glucose levels to dip so low that hypoglycemia results.

Another primary boon of fenugreek oil is that it acts as a phytoestrogen, mimicking the female hormone that regulates ovulation, lactation, and overall female sexual development. The faux estrogen in fenugreek has been known to create rounder, fuller breasts and to increase milk production in women who are lactating. New moms intent on breastfeeding often begin supplementation of fenugreek oil immediately after giving birth to ensure ample nourishment for newborns. Doctors generally advise women not to start taking fenugreek while pregnant, because the herbal oil can cause contractions in the uterus which could possibly lead to miscarriage or premature labor.

Applied topically, this essential oil can kill microorganisms, stimulate circulation, and reduce swelling; these qualities have led to many people using fenugreek oil in home remedies for acne, boils, and numbness. Taken internally, fenugreek can lower hypertension and cholesterol, making it a tonic for the heart. It can also be used as a diuretic to relieve water retention. In addition, the oil has a reputation of soothing the nervous system and stopping muscle spasms.

Strong in its pure and concentrated form, fenugreek oil is often sold in oil blends which use carrier oils like olive oil and sesame oil to dilute it; occasionally, other essential oils like cinnamon oil are added. Users typically apply the oil mixture with an eye dropper. The standard dosage is five to seven drops delivered sublingually. For convenience, undiluted fenugreek oil is also sold in capsules containing daily doses of 500 mg to 1,200 mg. Some tea drinkers pierce the capsules to add fenugreek oil to white or green tea.

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Discussion Comments
By irontoenail — On Jun 15, 2011

Fenugreek is used as a flavoring for fake maple syrup, which seems kind of odd because it doesn't taste anything like maple syrup. But, when you roast it, it smells a little bit like it apparently and while it isn't sweet, it can lend a tiny bit of flavor to sugar so that it tastes like maple.

If you have trouble finding fenugreek seeds in your town, try the local Indian or Asian store, as the seeds are used in traditional Chinese medicine as well as Indian cooking.

By pleonasm — On Jun 13, 2011

You might also want to consider using fenugreek seeds in cooking, rather than buying the oil. Or you could use them to make fenugreek tea. This is supposed to be good for arthritis if you drink it daily.

Fenugreek is an ingredient in a lot of delicious Indian curries, so it is definitely worth trying in your food to see if you like it. I find it is easier to incorporate something into my daily life if I find recipes that include it and which I enjoy.

Of course, if you become pregnant, you will have to make sure not to eat too much fenugreek.

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