Toxicological properties of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum)

Food Chem Toxicol. 2016 Oct:96:145-54. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2016.08.003. Epub 2016 Aug 4.


Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum), used as traditional medicine and natural additive food, has been shown to exert significant antiatherogenic, antidiabetic, antianorexic, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antihyperlipidemic, galactogogue and anti-inflammatory effects in several human and animal models. Besides, several medicinal pharmaceutical and nutraceutical properties, fenugreek have toxic effects as well. The aim of this review is discuss the cumulative evidence, which suggests that consumption of fenugreek induced some serious toxicological side effects. In this review, many teratogenic effects of fenugreek, from congenital malformations to death, were reported in human, rodent, rabbit, and chick. Moreover, results obtained in rats, mice and rabbits show a testicular toxicity and anti-fertility effects in male associated with oxidative stress and DNA damage, as well as anti-fertility, antiimplantation and abortifacient activity in females related to saponin compound of fenugreek which suggest that fenugreek is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Indeed, the consumption of fenugreek should be avoided for persons having peanut and chickpeas allergy because of possible cross-reactivity as well as chronic asthma. Accumulating evidence suggest also that fenugreek may have neurodevelopmental, neurobehavioral and neuropathological side effects. It is suggested that future studies would be conducted to identify molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the fenugreek toxicological properties.

Keywords: Allergenicity; Anti-fertility effect; Antigenicity; Clinical toxicity; Fenugreek; Genotoxicity; LD50; Neurotoxicity; Teratogenicity; Toxicity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Pregnancy
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Trigonella / toxicity*