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Many ancient populations, including the Mayans, Egyptians and Chinese, discovered the benefits of using herbs medicinally. Saw palmetto, fenugreek and wild yam are three herbs that have been used to treat various ailments for centuries. As with any type of medication affecting your body chemistry, you should be cautious about using herbal supplements without medical supervision. Consult your doctor about the indication for each herb and its proper dosage, as they all cause side effects.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Saw Palmetto Side Effects
Saw palmetto is a low-growing species of palm tree whose berries are used to treat urinary and prostate problems, including benign prostatic hypertrophy, in men. Saw palmetto should only be used under your doctor's supervision because similar symptoms can also be caused by prostate cancer. However, MayoClinic.com states that there have been reports of more serious side effects occurring, such as:
- erectile dysfunction
- low sex drive
- chest pain
- high blood pressure 1
Women who are pregnant or taking any medication containing female hormones, including oral contraceptives, shouldn't take or handle saw palmetto. Don't take saw palmetto if you take blood thinners or have a blood clotting disorder.
- Saw palmetto is a low-growing species of palm tree whose berries are used to treat urinary and prostate problems, including benign prostatic hypertrophy, in men.
- However, MayoClinic.com states that there have been reports of more serious side effects occurring, such as: * erectile dysfunction
* low sex drive
* chest pain
* high blood pressure 1 Women who are pregnant or taking any medication containing female hormones, including oral contraceptives, shouldn't take or handle saw palmetto.
Fenugreek Side Effects
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Fenugreek is used as a culinary spice as well as an herbal remedy. It is used to lower blood glucose levels, decrease kidney stone formation and relieve constipation. In higher doses, fenugreek can stimulate the uterus to contract, so don't take fenugreek if you are pregnant. Fenugreek can cause low blood sugar, so it should only be used under medical supervision, especially if you are diabetic. Other side effects include a maple syrup odor in your urine or sweat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and excess gas. Do not take fenugreek if you take blood thinners or have a blood clotting disorder or kidney disease.
- Fenugreek is used as a culinary spice as well as an herbal remedy.
- In higher doses, fenugreek can stimulate the uterus to contract, so don't take fenugreek if you are pregnant.
Wild Yam Side Effects
Wild yam root, also referred to as Mexican yam or Dioscorea, is most often used to treat women's problems, such as painful menstruation and symptoms of menopause. If you have a history of depression, hormone imbalance or hormone-sensitive cancer, such as breast cancer, do not use wild yam. While it is regarded as a relatively safe herb, AltMD advises that large doses can be toxic, producing symptoms of nausea. Wild yam may also lower cholesterol levels, so don't take it along with other cholesterol-lowering medications.
- Wild yam root, also referred to as Mexican yam or Dioscorea, is most often used to treat women's problems, such as painful menstruation and symptoms of menopause.
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Saw palmetto, fenugreek and wild yam are all herbal remedies, which are derived from plants and are capable of causing an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction occurs when your body overreacts to an irritating substance by releasing antibodies to combat and remove it. Signs of a mild allergic reaction include itching, hives and a red, peeling skin rash. A stronger allergic reaction produces wheezing, difficulty breathing and swelling of the mouth and throat.
- Saw palmetto, fenugreek and wild yam are all herbal remedies, which are derived from plants and are capable of causing an allergic reaction.
- Signs of a mild allergic reaction include itching, hives and a red, peeling skin rash.
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- MayoClinic.com; Allergies; January 2011
- 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
Kathryn Meininger began writing and publishing poetry in 1967. She was co-founder and editor of the professional magazine "Footsteps" and began writing articles online in 2010. She earned a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from William Paterson University.