[Effectiveness of phytotherapy in supportive treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus II. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)]

Ceska Slov Farm. 2015 Jun;64(3):67-71.
[Article in Czech]


Fenugreek seeds are known for their characteristic smell of soup seasoning and as an ingredient of Indian curry. Traditionally the seeds are used as macerate for the treatment of diabetes, cough, and flatulence, to increase breast milk secretion, and for anti-inflammatory and aphrodisiac effects. The use is limited by its unpleasant smell and bitter taste which can be modified by adding mint leaves to the macerate. Antidiabetic properties are attributed mainly to galactomannan, 4-hydroxyisoleucin (4-OH-Ile), diosgenin and trigonelline. These substances demonstrate direct antidiabetic properties in clinical studies by increasing insulin secretion (4-OH-Ile), decreasing insulin resistance and glucose resorption from the GIT (galactomannan) and improvement in B-cells regeneration (trigonelline). Besides this main effect, the herb improves blood lipid spectre (4-OH-Ile, diosgenin), and has reno-protective (4-OH-Ile, trigonelline), neuroprotective (trigonelline) and antioxidant (diosgenin, trigonelline) effects. Antidiabetic efficacy of trigonelline is comparable to glibenclamide treatment and more effective than sitagliptine therapy. Given the large body of evidence and promising results in comparison with standard pharmacotherapy, fenugreek active substances have a potential to become a source of new antidiabetic medication.Key words: fenugreek Trigonella foenum-graecum diabetes mellitus type 2 biological activity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glyburide / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / chemistry
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Lipids / blood
  • Phytotherapy / methods
  • Seeds
  • Trigonella / chemistry*


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • Glucose
  • Glyburide