What is Organic Fenugreek Seed?

What is Organic Fenugreek Seed?

This is part of our ongoing series to help consumers better understand chemicals, chemistry, and product formulations. We translate the science, bust the myths, and give you an honest assessment, so you can make informed choices for your family!


Organic Fenugreek Seed

What it is:

Fenugreek is an annual plant with white flowers that bloom in early summer and turn into long, slender, yellowish-brown pods containing small brown seeds.  For our purposes here, the seeds are organic: the fenugreek crop has been grown without the use of toxic pesticides or sewage sludge and they’re not genetically engineered or irradiated (among other things).

What it does:

Fenugreek is grown all over the world. It’s one of the oldest medicinal plants on record. The sprouts and leaves are often used as herbs and microgreens, while the seeds are commonly used as a spice. Today, fenugreek is used for its many health-promoting qualities.

Ongoing studies are confirming the scientific legitimacy and safety of fenugreek’s use.

Why we use it:

We’re interested in fenugreek seeds as a galactagogue (a substance that helps support breast milk production) - that’s why they’re in our Lactation Plus supplement. Low milk production is the most frequent cause of breastfeeding frustration and it can be devastating for a mom. After addressing the most common causes (like anemia, stress, hormonal imbalance, etc.), doctors often prescribe medication to address the problem. We believe there should be other, naturally-derived options for more moms out there, so we created a unique botanical lactation support supplement.*

Why we’re featuring it today:

Women from all over the world have been using herbs to enhance their milk supply for all of recorded history (and likely even before). Fenugreek seeds are still commonly used in places like India, North Africa, and the Middle East (all regions where fenugreek was originally cultivated). In 1945, an Egyptian researcher reported that fenugreek seed use was associated with increases in milk production up to 900%. Here in the U.S., a recent case report summarized the anecdotal use of fenugreek seeds by 1,200 women, who all reported an increase in milk supply within 24-72 hours. So, if the numbers are there, what gives?

Conventional medicine has yet to embrace fenugreek as a galactagogue until more scientific studies are conducted. We understand - and would generally agree - but in this case we’re comfortable choosing this ingredient because the body of anecdotal evidence (i.e. personal stories), along with the few studies that have been conducted, have generally shown positive results regarding efficacy and human safety and might be good option for those looking to try and support their breast milk production.*

Of course, you should take supplements with care. Just like pharmaceuticals, herbs, botanicals, and other natural medicines can cause side effects or have associated health risks you should be aware of. Here’s what you should know about fenugreek seeds:

  • Taking fenugreek seeds can make your sweat, breast milk, and urine smell a little like maple syrup. Not a big deal, but in a few cases it has lead physicians to an erroneous diagnosis of “maple syrup–urine disease” (branched-chain hyperaminoaciduria), a rare inherited metabolic disorder. You should consult your physician before taking fenugreek and ensure you’re both aware of this side effect.
  • Fenugreek seeds can result in allergic sensitivities in people with a history of asthma.
  • Some people experience diarrhea when taking fenugreek seeds.
  • Fenugreek can react with several medications – especially those that treat diabetes and blood clotting disorders. Yet another reason to consult your doctor.
  • Fenugreek should not be taken if you’re pregnant because it can cause uterine contractions and some studies have shown harmful effects on the fetus.
  • It’s recommended that the use of fenugreek seeds or any galactagogues should only be considered in situations in which reduced milk production from other treatable causes has been excluded.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Do you have any other questions or comments? Let us know in the comments — we love hearing from our community!


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We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.