Fenugreek has been used for centuries to treat digestive issues, induce labor, and treat menstrual cramps. It is also a popular flavoring added to certain foods. Recently, it has gained popularity as a possible treatment option for hair loss. Read on to learn if it can reverse hair loss and how to incorporate it into your hair care routine.
The fenugreek plant contains seeds that have been used in cooking certain foods, like curries, and as traditional medicine to treat digestive and menstrual issues for centuries.
Only a few small studies support using fenugreek seeds to treat hair loss. More research is needed.
Because fenugreek seeds have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial compounds and are full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, they may improve the health of the scalp skin and restore the proper hair growth cycle over time with consistent use.
Since side effects, such as rashes or stomach upset, are possible with fenugreek use, talk to your doctor first before adding it to your regimen to be sure it is right for you.
What is fenugreek?
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a leafy green annual plant that is native to areas of southern Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean. It is a small plant with branches containing three leaves and white flowers, similar to a clove. Fenugreek is a legume belonging to the family Fabaceae that includes peas, beans, and lentils.
The seeds and leaves of fenugreek have long been used as a spice and flavoring for Indian cooking to enhance curries. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat menstrual cramps, induce labor, and aid in digestion.
Fenugreek benefits for hair
There are only limited studies on the benefits of fenugreek for hair loss. More research is needed before fenugreek can be considered a viable option, but preliminary results are promising. There is not enough data to determine the optimal dose of fenugreek that may lead to hair growth.
Some of the potential benefits of fenugreek to help hair loss are:
- Source of amino acids/protein. Fenugreek contains amino acids that are building blocks to create proteins. These proteins can help repair damage to the hair.
- Source of vitamins/minerals. Because fenugreek is full of iron and minerals, it can help improve your nutritional status, which will encourage normal hair growth.
- Anti-inflammatory. Fenugreek contains anti-inflammatory compounds that can soothe inflammation caused by psoriasis and dandruff.
- Antioxidant. Fenugreek is an antioxidant that scavenges up free radicals emitted by the sun that can destroy hair and skin, leading to hair loss and wrinkles.
- Antimicrobial. Fenugreek contains saponins that are potent antifungal and antibacterial compounds to help prevent and fight infections like folliculitis on the scalp.
- Hydration. Fenugreek has healthy fats that hydrate and protect hair from damage and promote hair growth.
How to use fenugreek for hair
There are several options available to utilize fenugreek in your hair care routine. It can be used topically by grinding up the seeds. You can mix this fenugreek powder with coconut oil and use it as a hair mask. You can leave it on for 10–45 minutes, then wash it off. Some people mix the powder with their shampoo or conditioner and use it as normal, Or you can buy it in the store already combined with hair products, like shampoo, conditioner, serums, and oils, which is more convenient.
Fenugreek supplements, in the form of capsules or liquids, are probably the easiest way to ingest it and gain the benefits. However, there is no research to determine if topical or oral use of fenugreek is better for your hair. If you do not want to take supplements, you can use fenugreek in your cooking, as they have done for centuries in India.
You can grind the seeds into powder and sprinkle it on your food. Some people eat the seeds raw while others soak the seeds in water and eat them after they are softened. The water that the seeds soaked in can be used as a hair rinse so there is no waste.
How long does fenugreek take to work?
Fenugreek takes time to work. You will not get overnight results. You may begin to see the benefits after three months, but it will likely take more than six months. Consistency and patience are crucial to reaping good results. No studies have compared oral and topical fenugreek to see which will give superior results.
Side effects of fenugreek
Fenugreek is usually considered safe and causes few issues. However, side effects are possible with any product. It is best to check with your doctor to see if it is right for you based on your medical history and hair loss diagnosis.
Various side effects are possible and depend on which formulation of fenugreek you use. When used topically, side effects are rare but include redness, rash, itch, and irritation. Ingestion of fenugreek, either consumed from cooking or supplements, may cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and allergic reactions.
Who should not use fenugreek?
Because of the risk of side effects, some people should not use or consume fenugreek. Patients with sensitive skin should avoid using it topically because it may cause skin issues. If you have sensitive skin but you really want to try it, you could try a test spot first to see if your skin will tolerate it. If you are allergic to legumes, peas, or peanuts, you should not consume or use fenugreek. People who are pregnant or nursing should avoid fenugreek. If you have a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, or liver or kidney disease, you may not be able to use fenugreek. Talk to your doctor first.
Fenugreek is a popular plant with seeds used in traditional medicine and cooking. Even though it has become a popular treatment option for hair loss, there is little research to back up this claim, though preliminary evidence is promising. If you are interested in trying it, talk to your doctor first. It may not be the right option for you, or there may be better alternatives.
- Case Reports in Dermatological Medicine. A Multimodal Hair-Loss Treatment Strategy Using a New Topical Phytoactive Formulation: A Report of Five Cases.
- FASEB Bioadvances. Topical and nutricosmetic products for healthy hair and dermal antiaging using "dual-acting" (2 for 1) plant-based peptides, hormones, and cannabinoids.
- International Journal of Medical Sciences. Efficacy of a Novel Fenugreek Seed Extract (Trigonella foenum-graecum, Furocyst) in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).