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What is fenugreek gum?
Fenugreek gum (Lat. fenum Graecum = Greek hay) is a soluble fiber extracted from the seeds of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), a legume plant grown worldwide, mainly in India . It is an indigestible carbohydrate, a complex polysaccharide made of galactose and mannose (galactomannan).
Fenugreek as a Food Additive
Fenugreek gum may be added as a thickener, stabilizer and emulsifier to commercial baked goods, dressings, beverages, frozen products, pre-prepared soups, curries.
Fenugreek Supplements: Insufficient Evidence of Health Benefits
Fenugreek supplements in the form of tablets ad capsules are available.
There is insufficient evidence about fenugreek effects in prevention or treatment of high glucose levels in diabetes mellitus [4,5], high cholesterol levels, stimulating milk flow in breastfeeding women [4,6], baldness, exercise performance, heartburn, poor appetite, weight loss, stomach upset, constipation, bronchitis, hardening of arteries (arteriosclerosis), gout, erectile dysfunction in men or fever . Fenugreek has no proven anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer or antioxidant effect .
Fenugreek Safety: Side Effects, Dangers
Fenugreek gum is currently not Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Fenugreek can be fermented by beneficial intestinal bacteria to gases, so, if taken in excess, it may cause abdominal bloating, pain, excessive gas (flatulence) or diarrhea . Fenugreek extract may cause hypoglycemia, and stimulate uterine contractions, so pregnant women should avoid it [1,7]. It may increase the effect of a blood-thinning drug warfarin . Individuals allergic to soy or other legumes may be also allergic to fenugreek . Toxic effects are not known.
Fenugreek and Cooking
Fenugreek gum as a commercial product (seed powder) may contain proteins and has a distinctive odor and bitter taste and contains about 1 kilocalorie per gram. Purified fenugreek gum is a pure galactomannan without taste and smell.