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At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
- "Journal of Ethnopharmacology"; Effects of aqueous extracts of medicinal plants on MNNG-treated rat hepatocytes in primary cultures; M Khader et al; May 2007
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The Benefits of Fenugreek for Arthritis
Fenugreek seeds are used in traditional medicine to treat kidney aliments and colds and to alleviate pain associated with arthritis. Several medical studies suggest that powder derived from the seeds may benefit auto-immune diseases such as arthritis. However, always seek the advice of a physician before starting any new treatment for a medical condition.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Trigonella foenum graecum, commonly known as fenugreek, has been widely cultivated for the culinary and medicinal values of its seeds. Experimentally, it has been demonstrated that the seeds possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective properties. The powder has been subject of medical research to investigate and manage metabolic syndromes associated with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
Arthritis and Auto-immunity
Spirulina & Arthritis
Arthritis describes over 100 conditions involving damage to the joints of the body. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is a result of trauma to the joint, infection, age or immunity-related disorders. Other forms of the disease include rheumatoid, psoriatic and septic arthritis. All are considered autoimmune diseases, where the body’s immune cells destroy its own tissues because of the breakdown of cartilage that normally protects the joints. Fenugreek has been shown to stall auto-immune disorders by acting as a mimic of estrogen, which is know to inhibit this condition. Therefore, fenugreek has been investigated as a possible estrogen replacement in the treatment of arthritis.
- Arthritis describes over 100 conditions involving damage to the joints of the body.
- Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is a result of trauma to the joint, infection, age or immunity-related disorders.
Fenugreek as an Estrogen Mimic
Estrogen-like compounds have been known to inhibit inflammation of tissue by activating pathways that counteract the effects of autoimmunity disorders. The June 2010 edition of the “Indian Journal of Medical Research” included a study that investigated the estrogenic effect of fenugreek to assess its capacity as an alternative to estrogen replacement therapy, which has been shown to treat inflammation associated with arthritis. The researchers found that fenugreek bound to estrogen receptors and acted as estrogen by influencing genetic activities and inducing the expression of estrogen-responsive proteins. The researchers claim to have provided evidence for estrogenic activities of fenugreek seeds as an alternative to estrogen replacement therapy in diseases influenced by estrogen such as arthritis.
- Estrogen-like compounds have been known to inhibit inflammation of tissue by activating pathways that counteract the effects of autoimmunity disorders.
- The June 2010 edition of the “Indian Journal of Medical Research” included a study that investigated the estrogenic effect of fenugreek to assess its capacity as an alternative to estrogen replacement therapy, which has been shown to treat inflammation associated with arthritis.
Estrogen Action against Arthritis
Supplements to Reduce Estrogen
The September 2010 issue of the “Journal of Clinical Immunology” included a study that investigated the pathology of increased concentrations of estrogen metabolites found in rheumatoid arthritis, RA, patients. The researchers used blood samples from RA patients and a healthy population of participants, as a control group, to monitor estrogen-dependent DNA activation. They found increased DNA activity in the RA patients as compared to the controls. The authors concluded that binding of estrogen metabolites to DNA might explain possible roles of estrogen-like compounds and act as an alternative indicator in the diagnosis of the disease.
- The September 2010 issue of the “Journal of Clinical Immunology” included a study that investigated the pathology of increased concentrations of estrogen metabolites found in rheumatoid arthritis, RA, patients.
- The authors concluded that binding of estrogen metabolites to DNA might explain possible roles of estrogen-like compounds and act as an alternative indicator in the diagnosis of the disease.
Conflicting Report on the Therapeutic Effects of Fenugreek
Mutations of chromosomes lead to disruption of molecular processes and are often seen in arthritic conditions. In an article appearing in the May 2007 issue of the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology,” researchers used an aqueous extract of fenugreek traditionally used to treat inflammations and arthritis. Since arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, the toxicological properties and potential antimutagenic effects of fenugreek were investigated. The study showed that treatment with fenugreek extract significantly reduced the percentage of dead cells, but increased the frequency of chromosomal mutations. The authors concluded that aqueous extracts of the herb have neither protective nor antimutagenic activity, but rather a mutagenic potential leading to the development of other disorders.
- Mutations of chromosomes lead to disruption of molecular processes and are often seen in arthritic conditions.
- The study showed that treatment with fenugreek extract significantly reduced the percentage of dead cells, but increased the frequency of chromosomal mutations.
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- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Fenugreek. Updated August 2020.
- Neelakantan N, Narayanan M, de Souza RJ, van Dam RM. Effect of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) intake on glycemia: A meta-analysis of clinical trials. Nutr J. 2014;13:7. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-7
- Gaddam A, Galla C, Thummisetti S, Marikanty RK, Palanisamy UD, Rao PV. Role of fenugreek in the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus in prediabetes. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2015;14:74. doi:10.1186/s40200-015-0208-4
- Turkyılmaz C, Onal E, Hirfanoglu IM, et al. The effect of galactagogue herbal tea on breast milk production and short-term catch-up of birth weight in the first week of life. J Altern Complement Med. 2011;17(2):139-142. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0090
- Sim TF, Hattingh HL, Sherriff J, Tee LB. The use, perceived effectiveness and safety of herbal galactagogues during breastfeeding: A qualitative study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015;12(9):11050-11071. doi:10.3390/ijerph120911050
- Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed). Fenugreek. Updated May 1, 2019.
- Pattanittum P, Kunyanone N, Brown J, et al. Dietary supplements for dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;3(3):CD002124. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD002124.pub2
- Younesy S, Amiraliakbari S, Esmaeili S, Alavimajd H, Nouraei S. Effects of fenugreek seed on the severity and systemic symptoms of dysmenorrhea. J Reprod Infertil. 2014;15(1):41-48.
- Steels E, Rao A, Vitetta L. Physiological aspects of male libido enhanced by standardized Trigonella foenum-graecum extract and mineral formulation. Phytother Res. 2011 Feb 10. doi:10.1002/ptr.3360
- Wankhede S, Mohan V, Thakurdesai P. Beneficial effects of fenugreek glycoside supplementation in male subjects during resistance training: A randomized controlled pilot study [published correction appears in J Sport Health Sci. 2018 Apr;7(2):251]. J Sport Health Sci. 2016;5(2):176-182. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2014.09.005
- Podebrad, F. et al. 4,5‐Dimethyl‐3‐hydroxy‐2[5H]‐furanone (sotolone) — The odour of maple syrup urine disease. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease. Volume22, Issue2, April 1999 Pages 107-114 doi:10.1023/A:1005433516026
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. Spices, fenugreek seed. Updated April 1, 2019.
- American Botanical Council. Herbal medicine: Expanded Commission E: Fenugreek seed.
- Askarpour M, Alami F, Campbell MS, Venkatakrishnan K, Hadi A, Ghaedi E. Effect of fenugreek supplementation on blood lipids and body weight: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Ethnopharmacol. 2020;253:112538. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2019.112538
- Schoen C, Bielfeldt S. Fenugreek+micronutrients: Efficacy of a food supplement against hair loss. Kosmetische Medizin. 2006;27(4).
- Kulkarni M, Hastak V, Jadhav V, Date AA. Fenugreek leaf extract and its gel formulation show activity against Malassezia furfur. Assay Drug Dev Technol. 2020;18(1):45-55. doi:10.1089/adt.2019.918
Sam Lupica began scientific writing in 2007, specializing in physiology, toxicology and reproductive biology. He teaches chemistry and biology, and has published several journal articles in "Aquaculture Research" as well as informational articles in online publications. Lupica is finishing a Ph.D. in medical science and has a Master of Science in physiology and pharmacology from the University of Toledo College of Medicine.