Fenugreek seeds, called methi dana in hindi, have long been known as a spice in Indian cuisine. Besides, they are used as an herbal medication in Asia and the Middle East too. And today people around the world still believe that this herb can be good for breastfeeding, high cholesterol, eyesight, diabetes, low levels of testosterone in men, and gallbladder problems. Since this is a commonly used a seasoning, it is generally recognized as safe when used in moderation. However, there are reported that it can cause side effects when taken in large doses. The typical symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea, a “maple syrup” odor in sweat and urine, and the like. And here are the details.
Body and urine odor is perhaps the most known side effects of fenugreek. This maple-syrup odor occurs even when the dose is right. It can be a little bit embarrassing but it is totally harmless. The good news is that a deodorant spray can help mask this sickly sweet smell.
If a person overdoses on fenugreek, he or she is likely to suffer from gastrointestinal problems, including bloating, nausea, gas, pain, diarrhea, or discomfort and stomach cramps. So, how much fenugreek is too much? It seems everyone is different. For example, usually the manufacturers recommend taking 3 capsules (915mg) 3 times a day, but some individuals will still have stomach cramps and diarrhea due to the side effects. In this case, the dose should be reduced to 2 pills (610mg) 3 times a day and the mentioned symptoms usually will disappear. Besides, taking them with a meal can help reduce the risk too.
As a member of the Legume Family, fenugreek can cause allergic reactions just like its cousins peanuts, peas, and chick peas. Of course, the symptoms are quite similar too and the common ones are shortness of breath, swelling, hives, rash, itching, severe dizziness, unconsciousness, and so on. For people who develop allergic reactions to fenugreek itself, it is a good idea to stay from it forever.
It is worth mentioning that fenugreek is one of traditional herbs that induce labor. Since high-dose fenugreek can cause the uterus to frequently contract, apparently it is very likely to increase the risk of premature birth or miscarriage in pregnant women. So, it is a good idea to avoid this herb during pregnancy, or consult a doctor before taking it.
As mentioned above, this spice is good at lowering blood sugar levels. This is the reason why it has been traditionally used as an herbal remedy for diabetes. However, fenugreek may cause hypoglycemia, especially when it is taken together with other medications for lowering blood sugar. Once blood glucose drops below normal levels, the patients tend to experience weakness, anxiety, nausea, sweating, and palpitations.
Besides, it was reported that it ever made some children lose consciousness and aggravated breathing patterns in some men suffering from asthma. These side effects have to be considered although they are rarely seen.
Thanks to its amazing flavor and health benefits, fenugreek is often regarded as a tonic without any side effects. For that reason, it is often abused and overused to get the desired benefits as soon as possible. However, this idea is totally wrong and taking too much of it can still cause severe adverse consequences.
Due to the side effect of fenugreek consumption, a considerable degree of caution should be taken in the use of this spice. Of course, the key is in the dose. Since fenugreek supplements are more popular today, the recommended daily doses are 5 to 30 grams per day in capsule form and 1 gram per day in the form of concentrated extracts.