Doctor's Note

This reminds me of the whole beet juice saga on improving athletic performance. My ten-part video series began with Doping With Beet Juice, and ended with So Should We Drink Beet Juice or Not? Other plants with apparently remarkable benefits include amla (see, for example, Amla Versus Diabetes); saffron (Saffron for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s); the tea plant (Dietary Brain Wave Alteration); and, humble broccoli (Broccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem Cells). More on the power of plants in general in Power Plants, and spices like fenugreek, in particular, in Antioxidants in a Pinch. See what a whole diet of plants can do to prostate cancer growth at Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay.

For further context, check out my associated blog posts: Increasing Muscle Strength with Fenugreek and Cinnamon for Diabetes.

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  • Thanks God tomorrow is Friday! I can’t wait to know the downsides

  • Jeff K

    Fenugreek is also easy to sprout. It’s too hard and crunchy otherwise. How else would you prepare it?

    • I just use powdered fenugreek.

      • LynnCS

        How much do you use, etc.

      • MikeZP

        Dear dr what about mycotoxins in ground seeds,
        can you help us in better understanding the existence of mycotoxins in spices of herbs?

      • sf_jeff

        I think there might be an error in the video. It says that fenugreek allowed athletes to leg-press an extra 100 pounds vs placebo. The results in the background seem to point to an extra 50 pounds vs placebo and 100 pounds vs before training.

        • NatureLover

          Hi, the chart is in kg, not lbs. Dr Greger is pointing out the difference between fenugreek supplement and placebo at the end of the trial period, 419-364 kg = 55 kg, or 121 lbs. more weight on the leg press for fenugreek vs placebo.

    • yassine el

      , you can soak it over night in cold and mineral water, its taste great

  • Michael

    I read that Fenugreek is also effective in lowering Trglycerides which is a type of Cholesterol, according to Sloan- Kettering.

  • POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT! Actually it’s usually touted as an upside: fenugreek as a galactagogue, to increase breastmilk production… but if you don’t need it: oversupply. Ouch. This vegan family avoids it in food, never mind the supplements.

    • sona

      how if it is used by youngsters in grind power form with water in morning, thn also will it side affect breast? should in discountinue using it?
      plz reply

  • theslaw

    Do you know of any studies on successful toenail fungus treatments? Also, which vegan foods tend to cause sinus congestion, mucus, etc.? What causes red scaly skin on the cheeks and what can be done about it?


    • Cory

      Hopefully your toenail fungus has improved since your post but if it hasn’t, apple cider vinegar works great. My wife had a case of fungus since she was a child and it was pretty bad. After soaking her feet for 20 minutes every day in diluted apple cider vinegar, her feet were 100% fungus free in about 1 year. It was the first time in her life that she felt comfortable wearing sandals. Her case was pretty severe so if it is minor you may see results in a shorter time frame.

    • Mark L

      Applying Vick’s Vapor Rub (or generic) to your toenails and covering them with a sock, kills fungus quickly.

  • Sachith Algama

    So how much Fenugreek should we eat to get the benefits mentioned in weight lifting?

    • Darryl

      The study used a standardized extract:

      500 mg of Fenugreek (Torabolic ™ Trigonella Foenum-Graecum) (standardized for 70% Trigimannose)

      The term “Trigimannose” appears nowhere else in the literature, but from the name its obviously one of the mannose polysaccarides found in Trigonella. If Trigimannose is the tetramannose this patent claims muscle building benefits from, then the 350 mg Trigimannose in each capsule would be equivalent to consuming 10.93 grams, or 1 Tbsp, of whole fenugreek seed (assuming there’s no other elements in the whole seed that interfere with digestion or the anabolic effect).

      • Eric

        Darryl, could you provide the source you used determine that 350mg of the compound is equivalent to 10.9 g, or 1 Tbsp of whole fenugreek seed?

        FYI I also found a mistake in the above.. It’s 2 capsule of Torobolic = 350 not 1 capsule as you say above.

        According to the label of Torobolic (the supplement used in the study), the recommended dose is 2 capsules/daily. The total dose (both capsules together) contain a total of 350mg of 70% Trigaminose (the active ingredient aka extract). Hence both capsules together contain 350mg trigaminose, so one capsule contains 175mg.

      • Eric

        FYI I also found a mistake in the above info. It’s actually 2 capsules of Torabolic = 350 Trigimannose not 1 capsule as said in the above post.

        Darryl, could you please provide the source you used determine that 350mg of Trigimannose is equivalent to 10.9 g, or 1 Tbsp of whole fenugreek seed? I’m interested in finding a different source of fenugreek than Torabolic but getting the same dose as used in the study. (The reason I don’t want to use Torobolic, is that it contains the artificial coloring titanium dioxide).

        According to the label of Torobolic (the supplement used in the study Dr. Greger does on Fenugreek), the recommended dose is 2 capsules/daily. The total dose (both capsules together) contain a total of 350mg of 70% Trigimannose (the active ingredient aka extract). Hence if two capsules contain 350mg trigaminose, then one capsule contains 175mg.

        • Darryl

          It’s been a while, but the trigimannose concentration in whole fenugreek is part of the the linked patent. The conversion to volume measurement used serving sizes from nutritiondata.

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    I love when you find the fitness benefits of foods. I’m always trying to find how to boost fitness for Vegans. Powerful info!

  • Justin

    “This work was funded by Indus Biotech” – bottom of page 8. Indus Biotech are the makers of the supplement Torabolic used in this study. Should be mentioned for full disclosure.

  • Jan McDonald

    ‘Just Do It App’ for ingesting fennel: Take a bite of banana. Chew it a bit. Add 1/8 or more teaspoon fennel seed. Mix – do not chew – and swallow. Repeat until 1 teaspoon is gone :)

  • Hi Dr. G,
    much should I be taking every day to build strength and muscle mass? I
    have been doing about a tablespoon of ground seeds. Enough? Too much?
    noticed today that my arm pits didn’t smell bad even after a sweaty
    workout (I had forgotten to put on deodorant too!) I like that side
    effect. Also like the cancer fighting part!


  • Austin Vegan

    After viewing this video, I began drinking fenugreek tea daily (1 tablespoon organic fenugreek seeds in water) and eating the seeds at the end of the day. I’ve experienced benefits not even mentioned in the video, but in further research found the following on the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine website:

    Contraindications: Fenugreek acts as an estrogenic receptor modulator and was shown to stimulate breast cancer cells in vitro (26). Patients with hormonal-sensitive cancers should avoid this product.
    How does this contraindication measure up with the data on fenugreek’s effect on prostate cancer cells? I don’t want to discontinue my fenugreek consumption, but I also don’t want to encourage breast cancer.
    Thanks so much for all your tremendous work in promoting plant-based diets and nutritional research!

    • Roger Bose

      hey, you mention benefits not mentioned in the video – not mentioned by you either! come on, spill the beans…..

  • Not sure if i’m on the up and up with this video. As one person stated “This work was funded by Indus Biotech” – bottom of page 8. Indus Biotech are the makers of the supplement Torabolic used in this study. Should be mentioned for full disclosure” I did a google search on Indus Biotech Torabolic, below will be the first link in the search. I was excited to watch this video, seeing as i’m all but vegan now and prefer it that way and i also go to the gym 5 days a week, i’ve noticed i’ve lost a little strength and some size, so any way to gain some of what i lost back i would be interested in, but not after what i found in the google search. I can’t take something, let alone believe in it, that MET-Rx is pushing, ie Torabolic. I’d call myself one of your biggest fans Dr. but i’m not agreeing with you on this one

  • How about sprouting fenugreek? Does it have the same benefits?

  • Joe

    Not to try to cause any disinformation here but: Been taking fenugreek for 2 weeks since this video came out… I’m most
    always 204 lbs when working out… weighed myself 5 weeks ago – 204
    lbs… weighed myself 2 days ago 210.5 then i looked up some side
    effects and apparently it is used as a appetite enhancer… and people
    use it to gain weight… may help the skin vegans but I’m naturally
    muscley and get fat easily. so I have to be careful with stuff like
    this… in those 2 weeks didn;t notice any strength improvement at the

    • Kathryn McMorrow

      Okay, then you didn’t need dietary encouragements.

  • zohar

    Which form of consumption is more optimal; whole seeds? or grounded to powder?

  • Where do you find this in powder form?

    • Ben

      I buy a package of the whole seeds and then grind them up in a coffee grinder. The same way I do with flax seeds. You could grind up a whole weeks worth and store in the freezer or refrigerator. Then use as needed during the week.

  • truth seeker

    I’ve also heard it can be used as a natural breast enhancement, seems possible as it contributes to the production of milk, but how true is this information?
    Thank you for your response

  • Darryl

    If increasing strength, lowering fasting blood glucose, HDL, and VLDL, and inhibiting cancer weren’t enough, perhaps this will capture your attention:

    Steels, Elizabeth, Amanda Rao, and Luis Vitetta. “Physiological aspects of male libido enhanced by standardized Trigonella foenum graecum (fenugreek) extract and mineral formulation.” Phytotherapy Research 25.9 (2011): 1294-1300.

  • Greg Comlish

    Where in the study are you getting an extra hundred pounds on the Leg Press? On the table from the video the gains in leg press strength for fenugreek and placebo are:

    Fenugreek: (419 – 334) = 85 lbs (25% increase)
    Placebo: (364 – 316) = 48 lbs (15% increase)

    That looks to me like Fenugreek gave an extra 37 lbs on the Leg Press which is within the margin of error. Am I missing something?

    • Carlo

      I didn’t analyze the data, but wouldn’t be surprised to find dubious claims. The study was about a proprietary extract, and funded by the producing company: Indus Biotech.

      Up to now, as far as I know, these results have not been replicated.

    • Kathryn McMorrow

      You go, Greg!

    • Kevin

      You are correct. And let’s not forget that the specific supplement used in this study and funding this study, Torobolic, contained a known ergogenic supplement. This trashy study didn’t control for CREATINE, hence Dr. Greger should delete it. It is worse than anything Atkins ever marketed.

      • NatureLover

        Hi Kevin, I just replied to Greg Comlish, what do you think? Thanks.

    • NatureLover

      Hi, the chart is in kg, not lbs. Dr Greger is pointing out the difference between fenugreek supplement and placebo at the end of the trial period, 419-364 kg = 55 kg, or 121 lbs. more weight on the leg press for fenugreek vs placebo.

      • Greg Comlish

        That’s not accurate. 419-364 kg doesn’t give you the difference between the fenugreek group and the control group. 419 -364 is the difference between the fenugreek group at the end of the experiment minus the fenugreek group at the start. The control group, which was also lifting weights, went to 364 from 316. Therefore the fenugreek group increased their 1 rep max on the leg press by 37 kg (81 lbs) more than the control group. At first glance that seems okay, but the margin of error was at least 63 kg.

        • NatureLover

          Hi Greg, I think you maybe looked at a wrong number above, this is just clarifying for the record. I am looking at the numbers you correctly transcribed in your original comment (taken from 0:33 in the video) that show that the fenugreek group at the start is 334 kg, not 364 kg.

          I’m just trying to explain what Dr. Greger was referring to when he said “[the supplement] allowed these men to leg press an extra hundred pounds, compared to placebo” – he’s referring to the end of the study period, by my calculations, 121 pounds. I’m just trying to say, he’s not making that up from nowhere.

          You correctly point out a different (and I would agree, a more telling) measure, the difference in the improvements was 81 pounds greater for the fenugreek supplement group.

          Regarding whether the results are indicative of anything – you’re right that the spread in results for both groups was great. (I think this was due to differences in strength among study subjects, and would be expected due to the diversity of the subjects. It appears it is not due to error such one might see with outlier datapoints.) The finding is highly statistically significant, suggesting that there were few if any outlier datapoints to detract from the significance of the finding for the leg press. The results showed statistical significance for that finding at the p < 0.001 level (likelihood of the weight increase being due to the supplement and not to any other factor is 999 out of 1000). To me, 81 lbs additional on your 1rm (apparently less if you're starting out weaker, more if you're starting out stronger) than you would have had otherwise, is huge.

          Please let me know if I've made a mistake somewhere, I make math errors sometimes, thanks!

  • dave

    marketing at it finest?

  • guest 49

    Does fenugreek help you lose weight by drinking it as a hot tea?

  • Guest

    Will you please address these two contradicting studies? One concludes that Fenugreek promotes breast cancer cells and the other concludes that it kills breast cancer cells. and

  • David

    The next time you make a vegetable stir fry, sprinkle in some fenugreek powder as it cooks. It adds a subtle and delicious flavor. It’s like a secret ingredient for tasty stir fry!

  • JustVisiting

    We sprout fenugreek seeds, adding them to salads, stir fry, sandwiches, and smoothies. It is an everyday food for us. We also, use it medicinally, along with marshmallow, and thyme, with respiratory illness.

  • sai



    fenugreek seeds powder – 1 spoon
    butter milk – 1 glass

    mix the above and drink.

    uses – stomachache will be cured.



    fenugreek seeds – 1 part
    wheat flour – 1 part

    mix the above ,grind well and apply on the boils.

    uses – boils will be cured.



    fenugreek seeds – 10 gm
    indian asparagus powder – 10 gm
    milk – 1 cup

    mix all the above and take once a day.

    uses – improves milk in the breast feeding mothers

  • moomoo

    I have soaked the seeds in water and then drink the juice. I also have grown the resulting sprouts in pots. They’re really tasty alone or in salads! I get the seeds from Mountain Rose herb company.

  • Kevin

    Some serious red flags here. First off, as others posted below, this study was funded by makers of a specific supplement. second, and more important by far, is the fact that the supplement has CREATINE in it. CREATINE is a proven strength enhancer. To give placebo vs CREATINE is not a very reliable study model. How’d you let this one slip by, Dr. Greger?! This is more like Dr. oz, not you, and you should delete this post in its entirety.

    • NatureLover

      There is a Torobolic ™ fenugreek supplement without creatine in it, though it seems less widely marketed than the one with creatine. I saw it through on online image search for Torobolic. Seems like the study used just the simple product without creatine…”Daily supplementation of 500 mg of the commercially available fenugreek supplement (Torabolic(tm)),” specifically, “The independent variable was the nutritional supplement Trigonella foenum-graecum.”

  • anthony porta

    Dr. Greger, Did the study mention the mechanism of how Fenugreek increased upper and lower body strength and composition? I suspect fenugreek catalyzes our ability to synthesize endogenous growth hormone at faster rate? … would really like to know the mechanism, do a Video for the NERDS! :)

  • angie

    I have taken amla and see no difference. Same with fenugreek. They say you have to take so much saffron to curb alzh., that few could afford it.

  • Ed Lamb

    I have used fenugreek, dried form in capsules, successfully to gently and effectively dry up nasal passages. A couple with a glass of water. Head colds disappear within a few hours. Less effective with allergy drippy noses.

  • W Craig

    As a “Guest” noted farther below in this thread a few years ago…

    The following is from the entry for fenugreek at the website of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) – see

    “Fenugreek acts as an estrogen receptor modulator and was shown to stimulate breast cancer cells in vitro (26). Patients with hormonal-sensitive cancers should avoid this product.”

    (26) – 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.

    The entry also remarks “[f]enugreek has anticancer properties but human studies are needed.”

    I’m curious how this should affect our regard for fenugreek.

    NOTE: Nearly this same comment is posted in the thread below the video for “What about gurmar, jamun, bitter melon, and fenugreek?” –

  • Smaran Harihar

    Dr Greger, Fenugreek leaves, also called “Methi”, is very common in Indian diets. Any research findings on them?