Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecum)

Fenugreek, also known as Greek Hay Seed, Menthi and Bird’s Foot, has been used in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Asia as a food and medicine for more than 4,000 years. It was particularly held in high regard among the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans for medicinal and culinary purposes. Medicinally, the plant has traditionally been used to cure digestive problems, wounds, inflammation, kidney problems and for aiding women with breastfeeding. In addition to being used for its medicinal properties, it has been and still is widely used as a spice.

It is an annual plant, meaning it completes its life cycle from germination to seed in one year. Fenugreek is also an erect herb, growing to between 20 and 50 cm. It has leaflets with three leaves and small white or yellow flowers. Its seedpods contain ten to twenty small, flat, yellow-brown and pungent seeds.

Fenugreek is believed to have originated in the western Mediterranean, but is today cultivated worldwide. Both the leaves and the seeds are common ingredients in many cuisines of the Middle East, Asia and Africa, and particularly in India.

The part of the plant that are most commonly used for sexual health benefits, are the seeds. Fenugreek seeds have been found to contain an array of potentially beneficial components, including more than 100 phytochemicals. It is not scientifically concluded which of these components that produce the claimed libido and erection effects, but it is believed that these are something called steroidal saponins.

Furostanol saponins, a subclass of steroidal saponins, are often mentioned as the beneficial ingredients. The most important of these saponins are believed to be protodioscin, diosgenin and dioscin. These are the same components that are found in Tribulus Terrestris, and these two plants are believed to work in very similar ways on sexual functions. To learn more about Tribulus Terrestris on Truelibido, please go here.

Fenugreek, similarly to Tribulus Terrestris, is believed to increase testosterone levels in the body via two key pathways: 1) by protodioscin potentially being a precursor to dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is in turn a precursor to testosterone, and 2) by stimulating the release of luteinizing hormone, which may lead to increased testosterone production. Testosterone is an essential ingredient to for a man’s libido as well as for proper erectile functioning. To learn more about testosterone on Truelibido, please go here.

Protodioscin has been reported to be a precursor to dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), meaning that DHEA can be created from protodioscin (and other components). DHEA is the most abundant circulating steroid hormone in humans and also the precursor to testosterone. The theory is that protodioscin increases DHEA levels which in turn increase testosterone levels.

Also, Fenugreek is believed to stimulate the release of a hormone called luteinizing hormone. Testosterone is produced by cells called leydig cells in the testes, and it is luteinizing hormone which regulates and controls the leydig cells to produce this testosterone. More luteinizing hormone will normally lead to higher testosterone production, and therefore, if Fenugreek is able to increase the levels of luteinizing hormone, this may also lead to an increase in testosterone levels.

However, research is not conclusive about the effects Fenugreek has on testosterone levels. Some studies report that it may increase testosterone levels, while others have shown no statistically relevant effects.

Similarly to Tribulus Terrestris, Fenugreek has also in research studies showed an ability to increase nitric oxide levels. One possible way this occurs is via protodioscin’s claimed ability to make the enzyme nitric oxide synthase more efficient at producing nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide is one of the very important components that need to be present for a man to have an erection. When the penis is flaccid, the smooth muscles in the penis are in a state of contraction. These smooth muscles squeeze around the blood vessels in the penis and therefore do not let blood enter the penis other than for minor amounts for maintenance purposes. Nitric oxide causes the smooth muscles to relax and therefore to give up their tight grip on the blood vessels. When the smooth muscles relax, the blood vessels are opened up and blood is allowed to enter the penis so that an erection can form. Therefore, if protodioscin can make nitric oxide synthase more efficient at producing nitric oxide, this should lead to higher levels of nitric oxide and stronger erections. To learn more about nitric oxide on Truelibido, please go here.

One study reviewed the effects on male libido from a 600 mg Fenugreek supplement (Testofen) combined with 17 mg magnesium, 15 mg zinc and 5 mg vitamin B6, taken daily for 6 weeks. The study was performed on 60 healthy men with no signs of erectile dysfunction. As a result of receiving these active treatment, 82% of the participants reported improvements in libido, 67% reported improvements in recovery time and 63% reported improvements in quality of sexual performance.

It should be noted that the ingredients administered other than Fenugreek (magnesium, zinc and vitamin B6) are the components of ZMA, another powerful supplement also explained on Truelibido. Therefore, it is possible that these ingredients together may have had synergistic effects. To learn more about ZMA on Truelibido, please go here.

Another research study analysed the effects on strength, body composition, and hormonal profiles in resistance-trained men of 500 mg of Fenugreek extract, given daily for 8 weeks. In this study, the Fenugreek extract was tested for its purported abilities as an inhibitor of aromatase and 5-a reductase. Aromatase is an enzyme responsible for a key step in the synthesis of estrogens. 5-a reductase is an enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. By inhibiting these enzymes, the theory is that Fenugreek should make testosterone levels go up.

After 8 weeks, the men had an average increases in total testosterone levels of 7% and in free testosterone levels of 12%. Although the study concluded that 500 mg of daily supplementation of this Fenugreek extract demonstrated that Fenugreek was only able to inhibit aromatase and 5-a reductase activity to some extent, but not completely, it did conclude that Fenugreek significantly increased total and free testosterone levels in the body. The study also concluded that Fenugreek was able to reduce overall body fat.

Gencor Pacific, the manufacturer of Testofen (a Fenugreek extract), performed a study to determine the effects of 600 mg Testofen on free testosterone and body composition, when taken daily for 8 weeks. The study was done on 60 healthy male volunteers aged 18-35 performing regular resistance exercise. The study showed that the subjects in the Testofen group had a 99% increase in free testosterone levels, compared to the control group over 8 weeks. The study also indicated that the Testofen group had a decrease in body fat.

Another study by Gencor Pacific tested the aphrodisiac activity of Testofen on rats. The rats were given 0, 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 mg/kg of body weight of Testofen for 14 days. One group of rats was also given 5 mg/kg of Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra). The study reported that measures such as mounting frequency and intromission frequency increased, while mounting latency and intromission latency decreased for all Testofen groups, in a dose-dependent manner (meaning higher doses lead to larger impact).

Testosterone levels were also higher in the entire test group compared to the group that received no Testofen, also here in a dose dependent manner. The group that was given 25 mg / kg of Testofen, showed comparable results to the group given Sildenafil Citrate across all measures. Muscle mass increase was also observed in the entire test group.

It should be noted that these two studies were commissioned by Gencor Pacific, which was also the manufacturer of the supplement. This can therefore not be regarded as an independent study because Gencor Pacific had a financial interest in Testofen.

In addition to its claimed testosterone increasing properties, Fenugreek has also been claimed to have estrogen-like properties, or the ability to increase estrogen levels. This has however not been conclusively supported by research studies.

In addition to the reported effects on sexual health, Fenugreek is also claimed to reduce glucose levels, particularly after food intake, thereby helping manage diabetes. Fenugreek has also been used to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance.

Fenugreek is also used for digestive problems, upset stomach, constipation, kidney ailments, inflammation of the stomach (gastritis), atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, mouth ulcers, bronchitis, tuberculosis, chronic coughs, certain cancers, arthritis, asthma, sore throat, fevers and skin irritations. Fenugreek is also sometimes reported to increase volume of breast milk in mothers.

Some people have also commented that supplementing Fenugreek may cause body secretions, including urine, to smell like maple syrup.

My Experience

  • Form: At least 40% saponins extract in powder form
  • Dose: One half-topped tablespoon (approximately 7 grams)
  • When: One hour before sexual activity
  • Effect on Libido: Good
  • Effect on Erection: Good
  • Effect on Sensation: Good
  • Taste: OK
  • Verdict: A very nice supplements
  • Noticed Side-Effects: None

At the time I tried Fenugreek, I had already experimented systematically with several other supplements and had seen great results with these. I therefore decided to follow a similar path with Fenugreek as I had with other herbal supplements.

After doing a large amount of research on Fenugreek, I bought a Fenugreek supplement in powder form, extracted to 50% saponins. I also ensured that the supplement had a certificate that stated that it contained amounts of heavy metals and toxins than were below limits set as internationally recommended limits. Supplements can sometimes contain toxins and substances that are not supposed to be in the supplements, and I have always tried to be careful about toxins in my foods in general.

Similarly to what I had done with some of the other herbal supplements, I mixed one half-topped tablespoon of the powder (about 7 grams) with cold water. I stirred until the powder was dissolved, and then drank it. I did this about one hour before sex. In my opinion, the taste was pretty mild and by no means as bad as for instance the taste of Tribulus Terrestris or Tongkat Ali (which taste so bad I normally always make very strange facial expressions when drinking it).

For me, the effects from Fenugreek were good. I would not say amazing, but definitely good. The supplements described in this section have produced three different effects in me. Some have delivered all three at the same time, some two and some only one. Fenugreek has provided me with all three effects.

The first effect is that Fenugreek makes me hornier and makes me lust for sex. About 45 minutes to an hour after I take it, i can can feel an increase in libido and a drive to want to have sex.

Fenugreek also causes my erections to be firmer and harder. After taking this supplement, my erections are normally very solid and hard, and they last pretty much for as long as I want. Because of this, Fenugreek has been very helpful for me in overcoming erectile dysfunction.

In addition, Fenugreek makes sex feel even better. Fenugreek makes the pleasurable sensations I get from sex even more pleasurable, because it is able to amplify and make these sensations even stronger and more intense.

I have also never experienced any side effects from Fenugreek.

Although Fenugreek is great on its own, the effects are even more intense when I have combined it with other supplements, such as l-arginine, pine bark and ZMA. You can learn more about this in the section called The Solution.

Research Studies

Aswar U, Bodhankar SL, Mohan V, Thakurdesai PA. Effect of furostanol glycosides from Trigonella foenum-graecum on the reproductive system of male albino rats. Phytother Res. 2010 Oct; 24(10):1482-8. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.3129.

Bordia A, Verma SK, Srivastava KC. Effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) and fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum L.) on blood lipids, blood sugar and platelet aggregation in patients with coronary artery disease. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1997 May; 56(5):379-84.

Bushey B, Taylor LW, Wilborn CW, Poole C, Foster CA, Campbell B, Kreider RB, Willoughby DS. Fenugreek Extract Supplementation Has No effect on the Hormonal Profile of Resitance-Trained Males. International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Abstract Submissions: Vol. 2: Iss. 1, Article 13.

Constancio EJ, Wilborn CW, Taylor LW, Foster CA, Bushey B, Poole C, Pena E, Jones T, Kreider R. The Effects of a Proprietary Fenugreek Extract on Strength & Body Composition. International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Abstract Submissions. Vol. 2. No. 1. 2009.

Hamden K, Jaouadi B, Carreau S, Aouidet A, El-Fazaa S, Gharbi N, Elfeki A. Potential protective effect on key steroidogenesis and metabolic enzymes and sperm abnormalities by fenugreek steroids in testis and epididymis of surviving diabetic rats. Arch Physiol Biochem. 2010 Jul; 116(3):146-55. DOI: 10.3109/13813455.2010.486405.

Hamden K, Keskes H, Belhaj S, Mnafgui K, Feki A, Allouche N. Inhibitory potential of omega-3 fatty and fenugreek essential oil on key enzymes of carbohydrate-digestion and hypertension in diabetes rats. Lipids Health Dis. 2011 Dec 5; 10:226. DOI: 10.1186/1476-511X-10-226.

Hannan JM, Ali L, Rokeya B, Khaleque J, Akhter M, Flatt PR, Abdel-Wahab YH. Soluble dietary fibre fraction of Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) seed improves glucose homeostasis in animal models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes by delaying carbohydrate digestion and absorption, and enhancing insulin action. Br J Nutr. 2007 Mar; 97(3):514-21.

Hannan JM, Rokeya B, Faruque O, Nahar N, Mosihuzzaman M, Azad Khan AK, Ali L. Effect of soluble dietary fibre fraction of Trigonella foenum graecum on glycemic, insulinemic, lipidemic and platelet aggregation status of Type 2 diabetic model rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Sep; 88(1):73-7.

Helmy HM. Study the Effect of Fenugreek Seeds on Gastric Ulcer in Experimental Rats. World Journal of Dairy & Food Sciences 6 (2): 152-158, 2011.

Kassem A, Al-Aghbari A, AL-Habori M, Al-Mamary M. Evaluation of the potential antifertility effect of fenugreek seeds in male and female rabbits. Contraception. 2006 Mar; 73(3):301-6.

Kenny O, Smyth TJ, Hewage CM, Brunton NP. Antioxidant properties and quantitative UPLC-MS analysis of phenolic compounds from extracts of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seeds and bitter melon (Momordica charantia) fruit. Food Chem. 2013 Dec 15; 141(4):4295-302. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.07.016.

Khosla P, Gupta DD, Nagpal RK. Effect of Trigonella foenum graecum (Fenugreek) on blood glucose in normal and diabetic rats. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1995 Apr; 39(2):173-4.

Maheshvari J, KasiriG. Gencor Pacific, Inc. Testofen – Human Clinical Trial. 2006.

Maheshvari J. Gencor Pacific, Inc. Animal Study on Aphrodisiac Activity of Testofen. 2005.

Mathern JR, Raatz SK, Thomas W, Slavin JL. Effect of fenugreek fiber on satiety, blood glucose and insulin response and energy intake in obese subjects. Phytother Res. 2009 Nov; 23(11):1543-8. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2795.

Moorthy R, Prabhu KM, Murthy PS. Anti-hyperglycemic compound (GII) from fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn.) seeds, its purification and effect in diabetes mellitus. Indian J Exp Biol. 2010 Nov; 48(11):1111-8.

Mortel M, Mehta SD. Systematic review of the efficacy of herbal galactogogues. J Hum Lact. 2013 May; 29(2):154-62. DOI: 10.1177/0890334413477243.

Poole C, Bushey B, Foster C, Campbell B, Willoughby D, Kreider R, Taylor L, Wilborn C. The effects of a commercially available botanical supplement on strength, body composition, power output, and hormonal profiles in resistance-trained males. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 Oct 27; 7:34. DOI: 10.1186/1550-2783-7-34.

Rao A, Steels E, Beccaria G, Inder WJ, Vitetta L. Influence of a Specialized Trigonella foenum-graecum Seed Extract (Libifem), on Testosterone, Estradiol and Sexual Function in Healthy Menstruating Women, a Randomised Placebo Controlled Study. Phytother Res. 2015 Aug; 29(8):1123-30. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.5355.

Sajty M, Jackova L, Merkovska L, Jedlickova L, Fedacko J, Janicko M, Vachalcova M, Singh RB. Fenugreek seeds decrease oxidative stress and blood lipids and increase nitric oxide in patients with hyperlipidemia. Atherosclerosis. 08/2014; 235(2):e113. DOI: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.05.306.

Sreeja S, Anju VS, Sreeja S. In vitro estrogenic activities of fenugreek Trigonella foenum graecum seeds. Indian J Med Res. 2010 Jun; 131:814-9.

Steels E, Rao A, Vitetta L. Physiological Aspects of Male Libido Enhanced by Standardized Trigonella foenum-graecum Extract and Mineral Formulation. Phytother Res. 2011 Sep; 25(9):1294-300. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.3360.

Thirunavukkarasu V, Anuradha CV, Viswanathan P. Protective effect of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) seeds in experimental ethanol toxicity. Phytother Res. 2003 Aug; 17(7):737-43.

Tiran D. The use of fenugreek for breast feeding women. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 2003 Aug; 9(3):155-6.

Ulbricht C, Basch E, Burke D, Cheung L, Ernst E, Giese N, Foppa I, Hammerness P, Hashmi S, Kuo G, Miranda M, Mukherjee S, Smith M, Sollars D, Tanguay-Colucci S, Vijayan N, Weissner W. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L. Leguminosae): an evidence-based systematic review by the natural standard research collaboration. J Herb Pharmacother. 2007; 7(3-4):143-77.

Wankhede S, Mohan V, Thakurdesai P, Beneficial effects of fenugreek glycoside supplementation in male subjects during resistance training: a randomized controlled pilot study, Journal of Sport and Health Science (2015), DOI: 10.1016/j.jshs.2014.09.005.

Wilborn C, Taylor L, Poole C, Foster C, Willoughby D, Kreider R. Effects of a Purported Aromatase and 5 a-Reductase Inhibitor on Hormone Profiles in College-Age Men. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Dec; 20(6):457-65.

Xue WL, Li XS, Zhang J, Liu YH, Wang ZL, Zhang RJ. Effect of Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) extract on blood glucose, blood lipid and hemorheological properties in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007; 16 Suppl 1:422-6.

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