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This monograph is intended to serve as a guide to industry for the preparation of Product Licence Applications (PLAs) and labels for natural health product market authorization. It is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the medicinal ingredient.



August 28, 2018

Proper name(s), Common name(s), Source material(s)

Table 1. Proper name(s), Common name(s), Source material(s)
Proper name(s) Common name(s) Source material(s)
Proper name(s) Part(s) Preparation
Trigonella foenum-graecum
  • Fenugreek
  • Common fenugreek
  • Greek-clover
  • Greek hay
  • Hu lu ba
Trigonella foenum-graecum Seed Dried

References: USDA 2018; Common name: McGuffin et al. 2000; Source material: Bradley 2006, Blumenthal et al. 2000.

Route of Administration


Dosage Form(s)

Acceptable dosage forms for the age category listed in this monograph and specified route of administration are indicated in the Compendium of Monographs Guidance Document.

Use(s) or Purpose(s)

(Traditionally) used in Herbal Medicine to help heal minor skin wounds, burns, irritations and local inflammations (Bradley 2006; Blumenthal et al. 2000; Meyer 1993; Mills 1985; Felter and Lloyd 1983; Wren 1907).


Claims for traditional use must include the term "Herbal Medicine", "Traditional Chinese Medicine", or "Ayurveda".



Adults 18 years and older


Methods of preparation: Dry, Powder, Non-Standardised Extracts (Dry extract, Tincture, Fluid extract, Decoction, Infusion)

50 grams dried seed (Bradley 2006; Blumenthal et al. 2000)

Direction(s) for use

Duration(s) of Use

No statement is required.

Risk Information

Caution(s) and warning(s)

Consult a health care practitioner/health care provider/health care professional/doctor/physician if symptoms persist or worsen.


No statement is required.

Known adverse reaction(s)

No statement is required.

Non-medicinal ingredients

Must be chosen from the current Natural Health Products Ingredients Database (NHPID) and must meet the limitations outlined in the database.


References Cited

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinkmann J, editors. 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications.

Bradley PR, editor. 2006. British Herbal Compendium: A Handbook of Scientific Information on Widely Used Plant Drugs, Volume 2. Bournemouth (UK): British Herbal Medicine Association.

Felter HW, Lloyd JU. 1983. King’s American Dispensatory, Volume 1, 18th edition. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications; [Reprint of 1898 original].

McGuffin M, Kartesz JT, Leung AY, Tucker AO, editors. 2000. Herbs of Commerce, 2nd edition. Silver Spring (MD): American Herbal Products Association.

Meyer JE. 1993. The Herbalist. Glenwood (IL): Meyerbooks.

Mills S. 1985. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. Wellingborough (UK): Thorsons Publishers Ltd.

USDA 2018: United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) [online database]. Trigonella foenum-graecum L. Beltsville (MD): National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. [Accessed 2018 June 15]. Available from: https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=40421

Wren RC. 1907. Potter's Cyclopedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations. London (UK): Potter and Clark.

References Reviewed

API 1999: The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, 1st edition, Part I, Volume II. Delhi (IN): The Controller of Publications; [Reprint of 1990 publication].

Barnes J, Anderson LA, Philipson JD. 2002. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals, 2nd edition. London (UK): The Pharmaceutical Press.

Barnes J, Anderson LA, Philipson JD. 2007. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals, 3rd edition. London (UK): The Pharmaceutical Press.

Bartram T. 1998. Bartram's Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London (UK): Robinson Publishing Ltd.

BHP 1996: British Herbal Medicine Association (BHMA) Scientific Committee. 1996. British Herbal Pharmacopoeia 1996. Bournemouth (UK): British Herbal Medicine Association.

in patients with coronary artery disease. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids 56(5):379-384.

Bradley PR, editor. 1992. British Herbal Compendium: A Handbook of Scientific Information on Widely Used Plant Drugs, Volume 1. Bournemouth (UK): British Herbal Medicine Association.

Choudhary D, Chandra D, Choudhary S, Kale RK. 2001. Modulation of glyoxalase, glutathione S-transferase and antioxidant enzymes in the liver, spleen and erythrocytes of mice by dietary administration of fenugreek seeds. Food and Chemical Toxicology 39(10):989-997.

Ellingwood F. 1983. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications [Reprint of 1919 original].

Felter HW. 1983. The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications [Reprint of 1922 original].

Genet S, Kale RK, Baquer NZ. 2002. Alterations in antioxidant enzymes and oxidative damage in experimental diabetic rat tissues: Effect of vanadate and fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum). Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 236(1-2):7-12.

Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, editors. 1998. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition. Montvale (NJ): Medical Economics Company.

Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, editors. 2004. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 3rd edition. Montvale (NJ): Thompson PDR.

Gupta A, Gupta R, Lal B. 2001. Effect of Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) seeds on glycaemic control and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a double blind placebo controlled study. The Journal of the Associated Physicians of India 49:1057-1061.

Kaviarasan S, Vijayalakshmi K, Anuradha CV. 2004. Polyphenol-rich extract of fenugreek seeds protect erythrocytes from oxidative damage. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 59(4):143-147.

Korman SH, Cohen E., Preminger A. 2001. Pseudo-maple syrup urine disease due to maternal prenatal ingestion of fenugreek. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 37(4):403-404.

Mills S, Bone K. 2000. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Toronto (ON): Churchill Livingstone

Ravikumar P, Anuradha CV. 1999. Effect of fenugreek seeds on blood lipid peroxidation and antioxidants in diabetic rats. Phytotherapy Research 13(3):197-201.

Sharma RD. 1986. Effect of fenugreek seeds and leaves on blood glucose and serum insulin responses in human subjects. Nutrition Research 6(12):1353-1364.

Sharma RD and Raghuram TC. 1991. Short Communication: Hypolipidaemic effect of fenugreek seeds: A clinical study. Phytotherapy Research 5(3):145-147.

Sharma RD, Raghuram TC, Rao NS. 1990. Effect of Fenugreek seeds on blood glucose and serum lipids in Type I diabetes. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 44(4):301-306.

Sharma RD, Sarkar A, Hazra DK, Misra B, Singh JB, Maheshwara BB, Sharma SK. 1996. Short Communication: Hypolipidaemic Effect of Fenugreek Seeds: a Chronic Study in Non-insulin Dependant Diabetic Patients. Phytotherapy Research 10(4):332-334.

Srinivasan K. 2006. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graceum): a review of health beneficial physiological effects. Food Reviews International 22(2):203-224.

Thirunavukkarasu V, Anuradha CV, Viswanathan P. 2003. Protective effect of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) seeds in experimental ethanol toxicity. Phytotherapy Research 17(7):737-743.

Yalçin SS., Tekinalp G, Ozalp I. 1999. Peculiar odor of traditional food and maple syrup urine disease. Pediatrics International 41(1):108-109.