Based on the following information (which is a classmates post you need to respond to), are you willing to recommend this herb or supplement to your patients. If no, explain why? If you decide to recommend this herb or supplement, what will you teach your patient about this herb or supplement?
You will be graded based on the quality of your response, quality of the writing, and inclusion of the required research paper.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an herb that has a diverse number of uses. It can be used as a dietary supplement or in spices and condiments, and can also be used in the making of cosmetics. Fenugreek has also been used in the management of some medical conditions. In the past, Fenugreek has been used in managing some digestive issues and to assist in childbirth induction as it is known to cause uterine contractions.
Currently, Fenugreek is more commonly used to assist with glucose control in patients that have Type 2 Diabetes. Because of the similar effect to oxytocin, it can also stimulate breast milk production in the post-natal woman. Because Fenugreek can be prepared in many forms, such as, powder, pill, extract, tea and cream, it has been used as a topical agent in the treatment of eczema. Because Fenugreek acts similarly to estrogen, it should be used with caution by women who have a diagnosis of hormone sensitive cancers.
Common side effects of fenugreek include: urine, breast milk or perspiration that has the scent of maple. Fenugreek can also cause asthma exacerbations and diarrhea (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2016). Although Fenugreek is commonly used to assist with the things listed above, more research is needed to substantiate the positive effects and outcomes in most of those areas.
No major drug interactions are listed when used in conjunction with Fenugreek, although, Fenugreek may reduce the effectiveness of verteporfin when taken together and is considered a moderate interaction (Drug Interactions Between Fenugreek and Veteporfin, 2017).
A study was done to determine if herbal tea containing fenugreek would stimulate milk production and assist in infants’ weight gain if consumed by the post-natal mother (Turkyılmaz, et al., 2011). Fenugreek is known to act as a galactagogue, which is said to enhances milk supply and production in the lactating mother. The link between infant weight gain or loss is directly associated with breastfeeding patterns and many studies have indicated such with a decrease in weight of more than 7% being indicative of a breastfeeding issue.
This study was performed on 66 healthy (no maternal history of smoking etc, and infants with high Apgars) couplets that were randomly selected and placed in one of three groups. The control, placebo and experimental groups each contained 22 couplets. The Experimental group was told to consume three glasses of herbal tea containing fenugreek, daily.
The placebo was given herbal tea containing apple and encouraged to drink the same three cups daily. The control group was only given advice on non-specific things. All mothers and infants in all groups were seen by the same nurse, pediatrician and physician and all infants were weighed utilizing the same scale.
Also, all mothers used a breast pump for 15 minutes to measure the volume of breast milk by the third day post-delivery. The results indicated that breast milk volume was substantially higher in the experimental groups in comparison to those of the control and placebo and infants in the experimental group also had lower weight loss and regained their birthweight in a shorter amount of time.
Although the researchers agree that a limitation may have been the small group sizes, the results are promising none the less and the use of herbal tea with fenugreek can be used in for positive results in increased breast milk volume and production when used shortly after birth.
In conclusion, according to the above research study, fenugreek seems to play a beneficial role in Breastfeeding. Because it has only few side effects such as causing uterine contractions, I think it would be helpful to use this supplement in post-natal women as the contractions can also assist in helping the uterus contract to its pre-pregnancy state and may assist in limiting post-natal bleeding.
I would recommend the use of fenugreek to my patients but would encourage this be done in addition to regular lactation support.
Drug Interactions Between Fenugreek and Veteporfin. (2017, August 2). Retrieved from Drugs.com: https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/fenugreek-with-verteporfin-2554-0-2298-0.html
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2016, November). Retrieved from National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health; National Institues of Health: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/fenugreek
Turkyılmaz, C., Onal, E., Hirfanoglu, I. M., Turan, O., Koc, E., Ergenekon, E., &Atalay, Y. (2011). The Effect of Galactagogue Herbal Tea on Breast Milk Production and Short-Term Catch-Up of Birth Weight in the First Week of Life. THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE, 139-142.