Trigonella foenum-graecum L. (Fabaceae/Leguminosae)
Buceras foenum-graecum (L.) All., Foenum-graecum offi cinale Moench, F. offi
cinale Moench var. cultum Alef., F. sativum Med., Folliculigera graveolens Pasq.,
Tels foenum-graecum (L.) Kuntze, Trigonella foenum-graecum L. subsp. culta (Alef.)
Gams, T. graeca St Lag. and T. jemenensis(Serp.) Sinsk.
Alholvabockshorn, bahubeeja, bahupatrika, bhaji, Bockshornklee, bothinee, boukeros,
bukkehorn, chamliz, chanbalid, chanbalila, chanbalit, chandrika, chilebe, deepanee,
el halbah, fariqua, feenugreek, fenacho, fenigrek, fenogreco, fenogreco, fénugrec,
fenugreek, fenugriego, fi eno-greco, foenugreek, fumugrec, gandhaphala, goat’s
horn, Greek hay, halba, halbet, hay trigonella, helba, henogriego, hilba, hinojogriego,
hoolbah, hula- pa, hulba, huluba, hulupa, jyoti, kelabat, kelabet, klabet, koroha,
kozieradka pospolita, Kuhhornklee, kunchika, l-helba, maithi, maithy, mathi,
menle, mentepale, menthiam, menthi, menti-kuroa, methi, methika, methiky, methini,
methra, methuka, methisak, mentikoora, mentulu, methun, ethy, mitha, monte soffu,
munichhada, pe-nam-ta-zi, penan-ta, peetabeeja, samli, schöne Margret,
schöne Marie, senegré, shamlit, shamlid, shamlitz, shanbalileh,
shandalid, thenthya, tifi das, tilis, uluhaal, uluva, vendayam, venthiam, ventayam
Annual aromatic herb, up to 60 cm high with a well developed taproot and much
branched roots. Stem solitary or basally branched, terete, slightly pubescent,
green to purple. Leaves petiolate, alternate, trifoliolate; stipules triangular,
small, adnate to the petiole. Rachis short. Leaflets obovate or oblong, 1.5–4.0
cm long, 0.5–2.0 cm wide, upper part of margin denticulate. Flowers whitish,
solitary, axillary, subsessile, 12–15 mm long. Calyx campanulate, fi nely
pubescent, tube 4.5 mm long, with fi ve lobes. Pistil with sessile ovary, glabrous
style and capitate stigma. Fruits straight to occasionally sickle-shaped, linear
pods, glabrous, with fi ne longitudinal veins, terminating in a beak 2–3
cm long. Seeds oblong-rhomboidal, 3– 5 mm long and 2–3 mm wide,
with a deep furrow dividing each into two unequal lobes, with rounded corners,
rather smooth, brownish
Plant material used
dried ripe seeds
To be established in accordance with national requirements.
Major chemical constituents
Semen Trigonellae Foenugraeci is rich in mucilage (25–45%) and contains
a small amount of essential oil (0.01%) and a variety of secondary metabolites,
including protoalkaloids, trigonelline (up to 0.37%), choline (0.05%); saponins
(0.6–1.7%) derived from diosgenin, yamogenin, tigogenin and other compounds;
sterols including ß-sitosterol; and flavonoids, among which are orientin,
isoorientin and isovitexin
Uses supported by clinical data
As an adjunct for the management of hypercholesterolaemia, and hyperglycaemia
in cases of diabetes mellitus. Prevention and treatment of mountain sickness.
Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established
Internally for loss of appetite, and externally as a poultice for local inflammations.
Treatment of pain, and weakness and oedema of the legs
Uses described in traditional medicine
As an aphrodisiac, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, emollient, galactagogue
and tonic. Treatment of abdominal colic, bronchitis, diarrhoea, eczema, gout,
indigestion, dropsy, fever, impotence, chronic cough, liver disorders, wounds
and the common cold.
Proven pharmacological activity
Antihypercholesterolaemic, Antihyperglycaemic, Anti-implantation, Antioxidant
Allergic reactions to the seeds following ingestion or inhalation have been
reported. These reactions range from rhinorrhoea, wheezing, fainting and facial
angioedema. A 5-week-old infant had a 10-minute episode of unconsciousness after
drinking a tea prepared from the seeds; however, upon medical examination, all
tests were normal
Semen Trigonellae Foenugraeci is contraindicated in cases of allergy to the
plant material. Owing to its stimulatory effects on the uterus, the seeds should
not be used during pregnancy
No information available.
Owing to its effect on blood glucose levels in diabetic patients, Semen Trigonellae
Foenugraeci should only be used in conjunction with oral antihyperglycaemic
agents or insulin under the supervision of a health-care professional.
Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
An aqueous and a chloroform/methanol extract of the seeds were not mutagenic
in the Salmonella/microsome assay using S. typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100.
The extracts were also not mutagenic in pig kidney cells or in trophoblastic
Pregnancy: non-teratogenic effects
No information available on general precautions or on precautions concerning
drug and laboratory test interactions; teratogenic effects in pregnancy; nursing
mothers; or paediatric use.
Dried seeds, extracts, fluid extracts and tinctures. Store in a tightly sealed
container away from heat and light.
(Unless otherwise indicated)
Average daily dose. Internal use, cut or crushed seed, 6 g, or equivalent of
preparations; infusion, 0.5 g of cut seed macerated in 150 ml cold water for
3 hours, several cups; fluidextract 1:1 (g/ml), 6 ml; tincture 1:5 (g/ml), 30
ml; native extract 3–4:1 (w/w), 1.5–2 g. External use: bath additive,
50 g of powdered seed mixed with 250 ml water, added to a hot bath; poultice,
semi-solid paste prepared from 50 g of powdered seed per litre of hot water,