Ever heard of Fenugreek? No, it’s not a kind of yogurt. I’m talking about fenugreek for breastfeeding. It’s a galactagogue – which is just a fancy way of saying it increases milk supply. Yeah, it really does!
People have used it all over the world since ancient times. And you know what? It’s still very popular for nursing moms. Let me introduce you to the wonder of fenugreek!
All about fenugreek
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) is an herb. It’s native to Asia and Europe – and is grown all over the world today. It’s one of the oldest known medicinal plants. In fact, ancient Egyptians recorded using it and so did Hippocrates. He’s a Greek physician who’s known as the father of modern medicine. People use fenugreek in just about every imaginable way:
- in ointments
- pill form
- in food manufacturing
- even eaten whole!
Origin and history
Since Fenugreek is native to Asia and the southern parts of Europe, that’s been the center of historical use. Hippocrates used fenugreek as an herbal medicine to soothe and to speed the healing of a variety of health issues – most notably wounds and anxiety.
The ancient Egyptians used it to ease menstrual pain.
The Chinese use fenugreek to ease nausea.
It’s a common spice in Asian and Indian cuisines.
Women all over the world have been using fenugreek for breastfeeding for the last several hundred years because it increases milk supply.
Through the years, fenugreek earned a reputation as an aphrodisiac, expectorant, soothing herb, promoter of breast growth, wound healer, and respiratory aid. Talk about your multi-tasker!
Use in the United States
Interestingly, fenugreek is used commercially to add that maple flavor to artificial maple syrup. You read that right. It tastes like maple!
But by far, the most common use of fenugreek in the United States is for boosting milk supply. Some mothers (and lactation consultants) swear by it! It’s been used worldwide for centuries for this purpose. There’s a reason for that. It just works.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, fenugreek is on the GRAS list. Which means it’s Generally Recognized As Safe. Most people have no reported issues with fenugreek. However, a few people should avoid it, and I’ll cover that in a few moments.
Fenugreek can stimulate uterine contractions and bring on preterm labor, so it is NOT recommended for women who are pregnant.
You could experience a few side effects using fenugreek. These might be pleasant or unpleasant, depending on your own preferences and body.
- Your urine and sweat may smell like maple syrup (I haven’t decided if that’s good or bad. On one hand, you smell like pancakes. On the other hand… you smell like pancakes.)
- You might sweat more
- Lower insulin level
- Possible hypoglycemia
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Bigger breasts – And not just from increased milk supply, as you might think! Fenugreek actually promotes the growth of breast cells thanks to a hormone precursor called diosgenin.
- Possible allergic reaction – Use with caution if you’re allergic to peanuts, chickpeas, or legumes. There’s a risk of cross-contamination.
But why should I use fenugreek?
If you suspect your milk supply is low, you can use fenugreek to increase it. It’s kind of a sure bet.
BUT.. before you spend money trying to increase your milk supply with fenugreek, read my article about increasing your milk supply quickly. It gives great advice for tactics to quickly boost your milk supply before using herbal supplements.
If you’ve tried adjusting your nursing methods and you still want to increase your milk supply, then fenugreek is definitely worth looking at.
It works! Women have been swearing by fenugreek for centuries.
It’s cheap! You can get a bottle of fenugreek capsules for as little as $6. (I’d stick with a good brand of fenugreek though to be sure it’s a good quality.)
It’s easy to get! You can order it online or find it in most health food stores.
Who should NOT use fenugreek
As awesome as fenugreek is, there are people who should ABSOLUTELY NOT USE IT:
- If you’re pregnant – it can cause preterm labor
- If you’re taking a blood thinner – it can also thin blood
Other people need to EXERCISE CAUTION using fenugreek:
- If you have diabetes, understand that this can also lower blood sugar. So be careful!
- Even though it’s known as a treatment for asthma, a few people reported worsening asthma symptoms while using fenugreek.
- If you have an allergy to peanuts, legumes, or chickpeas – there’s a risk of cross-contamination.
Yeah, but is it worth buying?
If you worry about your milk supply, I definitely recommend fenugreek for breastfeeding. I mean, this stuff is a powerhouse of health benefits AND it boosts milk supply?!?! That’s kind of a no-brainer in my opinion.
Get fenugreek shipped to you. It’s fast, easy, and most importantly inexpensive!
It can ease your menstrual pain, kill nausea, increase milk supply, boost your sex drive, add valuable nutrients to your diet, lower your blood pressure AND blood sugar levels. Just don’t forget it may make your sweat smell like maple syrup.
Of course, there may be worse things than smelling like pancakes…
Have you ever used fenugreek for breastfeeding? How well did it work for you? Comment below and tell me about it!
*As an Amazon Associate I do earn a small commission from products you purchase through my site, but it doesn’t affect the price you pay. I will NEVER recommend any product unless I think you’ll love it!
Bonyata K. Fenugreek seed for increasing milk supply. https://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/herbs/fenugreek/ (accessed October 25, 2018)
Fenugreek http://www.greekmedicine.net/A_Greek_and_Unani_Herbal/herb.php?id=11 (accessed October 25, 2018)
Fenugreek http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search2/r?dbs+lactmed:@term+@DOCNO+870 (accessed October 25, 2018)
Fenugreek Use While Breastfeeding https://www.drugs.com/breastfeeding/fenugreek.html#moreResources (accessed October 25, 2018)
Huggins K. Fenugreek: One Remedy for Low Milk Production http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/fenuhugg.shtml (accessed October 25, 2018)