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Review of antidiabetic effects of trigonella foenum-graecum

Siyana Ilieva, Kristiyana Kaleva, Ahmed Ahmed, Aylin Kerim, Rositsa Chamova


Introduction: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), one of the major metabolic disorders, is character­ized by insulin resistance that results in inability of somatic cells to utilize glucose properly. Along with traditional medicine, phytotherapy suggests alternative properties in treating T2DM. More than 200 species of plants possess antidiabetic effects. One of these plants is Trigonella foenum-grae­cum (TFG), known as Fenugreek.

Materials and methods: The aim of this review is discussion of the antidiabetic potential of TFG. A documentary approach is used. A targeted thematic analysis of scientific publications available in Clinical Key and Medline is presented. The keywords used to collect the data were: `fenugreek diabe­tes mellitus` (6 articles); `galactomannan diabetes mellitus` (2 articles) and `fenugreek diabetes in vitro and in vivo studies` (2 articles).

Results: Pharmacological trials present that the antidiabetic effects of TFG are mainly due to the chemical components galactomannan, 4- hydroxyisoleucin (4-OHle), diosgenin and trigonelline. 4- OHle decreases the levels of Tumor necrosis factor-α, that results in increased expression of Glucose transporter type 4 ( GLUT4) and improvement in insulin sensitivity. Galactomannan decreases insu­lin resistance and reduces glucose resorption in gastrointestinal tract. Trigonelline improves β-cell regeneration which leads to more adequate insulin secretion, whereas Diosgenin has anti-oxidant ac­tivity. In vivo studies with streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats, which are treated with low, middle and high dose of TFG, show that by increasing the dosage of TFG there is a decrease of blood glucose levels and glycated haemoglobin. In vitro studies with human and rat pancreatic β-cells present that 4-OHle exert hypoglycaemic effect by stimulating glucose-dependant insulin secretion from β-cells, as well as by inhibiting the activity of α-amylase and sucrose.

Conclusion: In the future, these biochemical effects could be used as an important tool for the stan­dardisation of TFG as an official antidiabetic drug.


trigonella foenum-graecum; diabetes mellitus; phytotherapy



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