is a food
product that has the effect of increasing milk
production. It is an ancient
and historical herb
used in many parts of the world. Did you ever eat pancakes with "maple" syrup, well that was probably fenugreek (unless you paid top dollar for true maple sugar syrup). Fenugreek is used for making artificial maple
When used to increase human milk production fenugreek is eaten in large enough amounts that it may cause the woman's body odor to take on a maple like scent. In cultures used to eating fenugreek it is viewed more as a food than a medicine. Note the "ladoos" mentioned by sneff above or as I heard one Indian grandmother instruct her Americanized daughter, "eat it ground with almonds by the spoonful". Another Indian mom had a jar full of fenugreek, coconut and spices that her grandmother instructed her to eat a spoonful of after each meal. In North America however we are not used to the taste of fenugreek and most women who take the seed as a lactogogue (a substance used to increase milk production) prefer it to be in a capsule form. Because fenugreek capsules are simply a ground up seed placed into a capsule quite a few capsules must be taken to get an adequate "dose". Typically 2 - 3 capsules are taken 3 - 4 times a day for a couple of weeks to give the milk supply a boost. The active ingredients of fenugreek are also available in a tincture form and this is felt to be a very effective method to take them by most herbalists. Sometimes tinctures are of one herb and sometimes a combination of herbs. Teas, on the other hand, are not felt to be very effective as too little of the active ingredients are able to be extracted.
I am not an herbalist, so I refer, when needed, to a local, respected herbal shop. If you have need of this product I strongly recommend consulting with real life experts to choose an appropriate product for your own use and to manage the lactation problems that may be occurring. Fenugreek alone will not solve lactation problems but can be used very effectively with other proper management techniques.
Two further cautions. First, fenugreek is known to lower blood sugar. This can be a therapeutic effect but in cases of actual diabetes fenugreek should only be taken with the collaboration of the physician in charge of managing the mother's diabetes. Less insulin or more food may be called for. Second, allergies can exist and if they do asthma symptoms may worsen. Again, involve your doctor and research the botanical names of the plants you may be allergic to, if they are in the same family as fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) proper caution should be exercised.
One reference from the web that goes into great detail about the medicinal effects is:
and a reference about the culinary use of the seed is: