What is fenugreek?

Fenugreek ( or Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) is an annual herb native to southern Europe and Asia. It is undoubtedly one of the earliest cultivated medicinal plants. Fenugreek is widely grown today in India, North Africa, Argentina, France, and the United States as a food, condiment, dye, medicinal, and forage plant. The plant can grow for a height of up to 0.8 meters and has trifoliate leaves. White flowers appear in early summer and grow into long, slender, yellow-brown pods containing the brown seeds of fenugreek commerce.

Women from many countries have used herbs to increase breast milk production for centuries. Some hospitals and lactation centers in the USA have now proven that herbs can assist in increasing breast milk supply. Although there's not any scientific study conducted on these herbs to show their effectiveness or security, thousands of women have had favorable results.

FENUGREEK SEED: Fenugreek seed is one of the common herbs used in the united states and other nations to increase mother's milk. It also fortifies the milk With additional vitamins and minerals. Fenugreek is used widely in countries like India and Mexico to increase mothers' milk supply, and it's thought to have other health benefits. It's widely used in cooking in these states, too.

See: Fenugreek Health Benefits & Side Effects

What can cause low milk supply in breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding Mothers Causes for Low Milk Supply

There may be various reasons that may lower or reduce the production of breast milk in nursing mothers. Some of the common factors that may affect lactation for moms include:

- anxiety, nervousness, and postpartum depression hamper breast milk production.

- you began breastfeeding your infant late.

- medical conditions like diabetes, higher blood pressure, obesity, hypothyroidism, etc..

-  a premature or preterm baby.

- breast surgery or you're taking medicine that interrupts the milk supply.

- not breastfeeding your baby regularly.

See: Ayurvedic therapy herbs to increase breast milk to increase lactation

Fenugreek Seed for Increasing Milk Supply

Fenugreek and Breastfeeding

Fenugreek seems to be the herb that's most often utilized to increase milk supply. It's been reported to be a superb galactagogue for some moms and has been used for centuries. Studies done to date have had mixed effects. Non-pharmaceutical procedures of increasing milk supply should be attempted first since there can be side effects from both herbal remedies and prescription drugs used to increase milk supply.

Fenugreek seeds contain endocrine precursors that increase milk supply. Scientists don't know for sure how this occurs. Some believe it's possible because breasts are modified sweat glands, and fenugreek stimulates sweat production. It's been found that fenugreek can increase a nursing mother's milk supply within 48 to 72 hours after first taking the herb. Once an adequate amount of milk production is attained, most women can discontinue the fenugreek and take care of the milk supply with sufficient breast stimulation. Many women now take fenugreek in a pill form (soil seeds put in capsules). The pills can be seen at most vitamin and nutrition stores and in many supermarkets and natural food stores. Fenugreek may also be taken in tea form, although tea is thought to be less potent than the pills, and the tea includes a bitter taste, which can be tough to stomach. Fenugreek isn't right for everybody. The herb has generated aggravated asthma symptoms in some women and has reduced blood sugar levels in certain women with diabetes.

See: Role of Fenugreek in the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus in prediabetes.

Fenugreek science for breastfeeding

Active Ingredients: Fenugreek seeds contain protein high in lysine and L-tryptophan and alkaloids (mainly trigonelline). Its steroidal saponins and mucilaginous fiber account for a number of the beneficial effects of fenugreek. The steroidal saponins may inhibit cholesterol absorption and synthesis, whereas the fiber can help lower blood glucose levels. 

The steroidal saponins are responsible for the beneficial effects of fenugreek, including the inhibition of cholesterol absorption and synthesis. The seeds are rich in dietary fiber, which might be the primary reason they can lower glucose levels in diabetes. One study found that fenugreek can help lower blood glucose levels and cholesterol in persons with moderate atherosclerosis and non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Randomized and uncontrolled studies have confirmed fenugreek helps stabilize blood glucose control in patients with insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetes. According to several controlled studies, it helps reduce elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, such as in people with diabetes. Generally, fenugreek doesn't lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, the beneficial kind.

See: Vegetable Pancakes - Bengal Gram & Fenugreek

Benefits for mother & baby

There are many benefits for mothers and babies:

- Stimulates breast milk production in many women.

- Increases milk quantity within 2-3 days. 

- Fortifies mother's milk with calcium, iron, and Vitamins C, A, B1, B2, B3, D, 

- Non-toxic and safe. FDA included fenugreek as a herb generally considered safe. All plant parts are thought to be safe. It's regarded as safe for mother and baby.

- Economical. A bottle of 100 capsules costs about $10 and available at health or natural food stores.

- Other advantages of fenugreek: In other countries, fenugreek is considered to relieve infant colic, ease digestive ailments, calm nerves, and alleviate depression. It may also help improve the mother's milk"let down" reflex by calming nervous tension from stress, anxiousness, and tiredness (not proven by scientific research ). Research shows anemia improvement by increasing red blood cell production and also has shown a decrease in cholesterol.

See: Whole Wheat Naan with Soy, Fenugreek, and Garlic

Side effects & precautions

Potential side effects and precautions

- Do not take fenugreek while pregnant. It can cause uterine contractions.

- Fenugreek ought to be avoided by women with asthma. It may worsen asthma, especially if you are also allergic to peanuts or other legumes.

- Diabetic mothers should use caution. This herb has been proven to lower blood sugar levels in certain patients. Speak with your physician before using fenugreek.

- Some women notice a walnut or maple syrup odor in their urine and sweat. 

- First, gassiness or loose stools may occur for both mom and infant for the first couple of days.

- Mothers who are taking anticoagulant drugs should use fenugreek with caution to decrease the risk of bleeding or bruising.

- breastfed infant milk may smell like maple syrup.

- Sometimes it causes loose stools, which go away when fenugreek is stopped.

- Use of at least 100 grams of fenugreek seeds daily can cause intestinal distress and nausea

- Repeated external use can result in undesirable skin reactions.

Use with care or avoid if you have a history of:

- Asthma: Fenugreek is often used as a natural treatment for asthma. However, inhalation of the powder may lead to allergies and asthma symptoms. 

- Diabetes or hypoglycemia: Fenugreek reduces blood sugar levels, and in the few studies utilizing it as a hypoglycemic, it also reduces blood glucose. Dosages higher than the recommended one (given above) can lead to hypoglycemia in some moms

- Peanut or chickpea allergy: Fenugreek is similar to peanuts and chickpeas, and might cause an allergic reaction in mothers that are allergic to those things. 

Drug interactions

- Fenugreek reduces blood sugar levels, so insulin dosage may need to be adjusted.

- Heparin, Warfarin and other anticoagulants

- Oral drugs or herbs are taken at precisely the same time as fenugreek might have delayed absorption due to the mucilage content of fenugreek. 

- Glipizide along with other antidiabetic medications

- Fenugreek reduces blood sugar levels and might improve the effects of those drugs.

- Insulin

- Ticlopidine and other platelet inhibitors

- The fenugreek plant comprises several coumarin compounds. Although studies haven't shown any problems, it could cause bleeding when combined with these kinds of drugs.

- Fenugreek comprises amine and has the potential to augment the impact of these drugs.

See: Effect of fenugreek seeds on blood glucose and serum lipids in type I diabetes.

Suggested Dosage

Fenugreek Capsules: The efficacy of increasing your milk quantity is dependent on taking the right dosage. Capsules will not be as successful in increasing your milk supply if you skip doses and just take capsules once per day. Take pharmaceutical grade floor fenugreek in capsules. Capsules are favored over the majority form. Grinding in the bulk form isn't recommended since purity, the nation of origin, and pesticide material can't be ensured in bulk. Purchase fenugreek capsules from respectable manufacturers sold in the natural and health food shops. Capsules have a higher potency than the tea form. They are easier to ingest and taste better than tea. 

Fenugreek Tincture: A tincture is an alcohol and water solution which contains the plant's ingredients. The alcohol carries the herbal properties Quickly to the blood, so tinctures are consumed faster than tablets or capsules, which need to go through the digestive process. The little alcohol content functions against bacterial contamination and increases the shelf life of this groundwork.

- Normal tincture dose: One dropper full under your tongue (sublingually) at the beginning of each breastfeeding session or Three times per day according to reply with milk supply.

See: Breast Milk Bath for Babies & Health Benefits

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