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Fenugreek is a member of the legume family, along with chickpeas, peanuts, and green peas. It has been used as a cooking spice for centuries. It has been used to treat diabetes, constipation, and hyperlipidemia. It is thought to delay gastric emptying, slow carbohydrate absorption, and inhibit glucose transport. The main side effects are gas and diarrhea, which subside after a few days. In pregnant women it may cause uterine contractions which may lead to spontaneous abortion. Allergic like reactions have also been reported. It may inhibit corticosteroid drug activity, such as prednisone, interfere with hormone therapy, and potentiate the activity of MAO inhibitors (seldom used antidepressants, due to the high probability of side effects/drug interactions). It may delay the absorption of other medicines taken at the same time and have additive hypoglycemic activity with secretagoguges. Since it is related chemically to blood thinners, it may react with other medications or herbs that have antiplatelet effects, such as warfarin, ginkgo biloba, ginger, feverfew, and horse chestnut. Research has been done in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but the quality of the research was not well done.

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Complementary and Alternative Medicine Pages:
Main | Concerns | Gymnema Sylvestre | Fenugreek | Bitter Melon | Ginseng | Nopal | Aloe, Bilberry, and Milk Thistle | Chromium | Vanadium | CoQ10 | Nicotinamide | Alpha Lipoic Acid | Gamma Linolenic Acid | Ginkgo Biloba | Garlic | Advice | Additional Reading | References

Laura Shane-McWhorter, PharmD, BCPS, FASCP, CDE, BC-ADM
November 24, 2001

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