A member of the legume family, the fenugreek plant has an innocuous appearance, but it packs a potent punch for women of all ages. Whether you’re worried about maintaining adequate milk production to nurse your new baby or concerned about hot flashes during menopause, this herb could be a natural solution to your female health concerns. Consider growing your own little patch of fenugreek in your herb garden or look for 500, 580 or 610 mg capsules of the crushed seeds at your local natural health center. However, avoid using fenugreek during pregnancy, as it may stimulate uterine contractions.
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Increased Milk Production
Judith Brown, a nutrition expert and professor emeritus of the University of Minnesota's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and author of “Nutrition through the Life Cycle,” reports that fenugreek is an herb commonly used to stimulate milk production in women. Milk production generally increases within one to three days of starting the supplement. In order to use this herb as a galactagogue, most women take the herb in capsule form several times daily, consuming approximately 3,500 grams total each day for milk production to increase. You should typically be able to stop taking the herb once you achieve the desired level of milk production. Talk to your doctor or a certified lactation consultant to determine the best dosage levels for your specific nursing situation.
Natural Breast Augmentation
If you like the idea of becoming a bit more curvaceous but don’t want to get artificial breast implants, talk to your doctor about the possibility of using fenugreek to enlarge your breasts naturally. According to Phyllis Belch, certified nutritional consultant and author of “Prescription for Herbal Healing,” fenugreek increases your bust size by changing certain liver enzymes, which slows your body’s ability to break down estrogen. You might try mixing crushed fenugreek seeds with a bit of vegetable oil and applying it topically, but Dr. James Duke, retired USDA botanist and author of “The Green Pharmacy,” advises that you first consider sipping some strong tea, using a ratio of 2 cups of water to 1 cup of fenugreek sprouts. Drink up to two cups of fenugreek tea daily.
Relief from Hot Flashes and Menstrual Cramps
Diosgenin, a naturally occurring compound in fenugreek that mimics the estrogen your body produces, accounts for the herb’s ability to minimize the effects of hot flashes and menstrual cramps, according to Michael Castleman, author of “The New Healing Herbs.” Try this natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy by steeping up to 2 tsp. of the crushed fenugreek seeds in a cup of boiling water for approximately 10 minutes, adding sweetener as necessary, since the herb has a particularly bitter taste. Castleman recommends that you consume the herbal tea up to three times daily to lessen your menopause or menstruation problems.
- “Nutrition through the Life Cycle”; Judith Brown; 2007
- “Prescription for Herbal Healing”; Phyllis Belch, CNC; 2002
- “The New Healing Herbs”; Michael Castleman; 2001
- “The Green Pharmacy:” Dr. James Duke; 1998