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Fenugreek and Fertility
This week I am writing to dispel a myth. Fenugreek is not useful for fertility, unless you count treatment of halitosis as a fertility aid!
Fenugreek is a plant native to India, North Africa and the Mediterranean. It is very tall, about 30 inches, and the seeds are what people use for various maladies. The name means "Greek hay" because it was once used to improve the scent of spoiled hay. It has been used to treat halitosis, stomach aches, bloating, burns, and to increase breast milk production. That last use is probably its most important.
The seeds are very bitter, so generally, they are ground up, and the powder is encapsulated. Some people will make it into a tea as well. In spite of its bitterness, fenugreek is also commonly used as a spice for curry, chutneys and even for imitation maple syrup. It has a lot of fiber, too.
If you are pregnant, do not use fenugreek. It can cause uterine muscle contractions, and for that reason, it has historically been used to stimulate labor. Unless you are at term or past, that would not be a good idea.
What it is good for and safe for is to increase milk production in lactating women. What sort of cruel joke is it that a woman cannot produce enough milk to feed her baby? But it happens, and to increase milk production, there are a few options, fenugreek being one of them. Another one that works is eating oats in some form.
In addition to that primary medicinal use, fenugreek has a use as a breast enhancer. Because it contains a type of phytoestrogen that promotes breast development, it is commonly found in any product promoted for breast enhancement. Does it work? I don't know. I think, though, that if it were really effective, we would have heard a lot more about that. I can't imagine that it would help a woman increase her breast size all that dramatically.
Now, remember that I said that fenugreek is used to scent stale hay? That's important because cows will turn up their noses at stale hay. But if we're talking about dairy cows, spiking their stale hay with fenugreek will not only convince them to eat it, but it will also increase their milk production. That's a very useful product!
Again, though, if you are pregnant, avoid concentrated fenugreek. If it's in your curry, that's most likely safe because that wouldn't contain very much.
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