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Fenugreek Benefits for Hair Growth: Insights From a Doctor

Knox Beasley, MD

Reviewed by Knox Beasley, MD

Written by Grace Gallagher

Published 09/25/2020

Updated 04/29/2024

A particular ingredient might be useful both in curry and on your hair. Is fenugreek good for hair? Maybe! Besides being an edible herb, there are fenugreek benefits for hair growth — at least, according to some corners of the internet.

You probably found this specific corner of the internet (hi, hello) because you were wondering if fenugreek is good for hair. The answer isn’t totally black and white, but we’re here to help you wade through the (somewhat limited) research on fenugreek benefits for hair and beyond.

Here’s the abridged version: While fenugreek may offer some benefits for certain aspects of your health, there isn’t much evidence to suggest it’s an effective hair growth agent or that it treats or slows down the progression of androgenetic alopecia (the clinical name for male pattern baldness). But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a try.

Keep reading to learn about fenugreek and hair, how to use fenugreek on your hair, plus other hair loss treatments you may want to consider if you’re starting to notice hair loss.

Here’s a rundown of what we know about fenugreek and its potential hair benefits.

  • It’s an herb. Fenugreek is a clover-like herb that grows throughout the Mediterranean. It’s commonly used in food recipes and is a popular ingredient in certain soaps, cosmetics and other personal-care products.

  • It might offer health benefits. Like many other substances used in alternative medicine, fenugreek is often promoted as a cure-all that can stimulate hair growth, assist with weight loss, relieve constipation, get rid of dandruff, lower cholesterol and even make managing diabetes easier.

  • Research is lacking. While there’s some low-quality evidence that fenugreek may offer health benefits, most claims about its effectiveness (including for hair loss) aren’t backed up by reputable scientific research.

  • The current studies aren’t great. The few studies on fenugreek for hair and skin tend to have quality issues, like being carried out solely on animals or using self-reporting techniques, which can affect the reliability of the findings.

  • Other treatments might work better. If you’re losing hair, you’ll almost always get superior results from an FDA-approved treatment for hair loss than relying on an unregulated supplement like fenugreek.

Before we get into fenugreek hair benefits (or lack thereof), let’s roll it back to the basics.

Fenugreek is an herb native to the Mediterranean region. It grows throughout Western Asia and the south of Europe.

With its versatile, complex flavor (sometimes described as burnt sugar), it has a long history as a spice and flavoring ingredient in foods, beverages and tobacco products.

If you’ve had curry, you’ve likely had fenugreek. In traditional Indian and Ayurvedic practices, it’s also known as methi or methi seeds.

Fenugreek seeds are rich in essential nutrients, including fiber, choline and omega-3 fatty acids like linolenic acid. They also have a substantial vitamin content — we’re talking vitamins A, B1, B2, B9 (folic acid), C and niacin (B3).

What’s more, fenugreek herb contains antioxidants and amino acids. It’s been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties in animal studies, meaning it might help minimize pain, swelling and redness.

The plant is definitely healthy to eat, but is there a link between fenugreek and hair growth? Possibly — read on for insight.

Google “fenugreek and hair,” and you’ll find numerous articles assuring you that consuming even a small amount of fenugreek (especially in supplement form) can lead to thicker hair, a healthy scalp and luscious locks.

However, we have some kind of bummer news: There’s currently no high-quality evidence suggesting that fenugreek can help you achieve the hair of your dreams. Sorry.

Before we get into the specifics of fenugreek and hair (plus home remedies containing the herb), let’s go over why hair loss develops in the first place.

Understanding the Causes of Hair Loss

Hair can fall out for many reasons, but male pattern baldness is by far the most common form of hair loss in men.

This type of hair loss happens because of a combination of genetic factors and the damaging effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male sex hormone.

DHT is produced within your body as a byproduct of testosterone. It’s important in your early life for sexual development, but as an adult, the hormone can attach to receptors in your scalp and cause hair follicles to miniaturize (shrink).

Over time, the hair follicles affected by DHT — usually those at the hairline and around the crown of the scalp — stop producing new hairs. This results in the signs of hair loss many guys start to notice in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

How Hair Loss Treatments Target the Causes

Most medications and other products for treating hair loss work in one of three ways:

  • Preventing DHT production. Some, like the oral hair loss medication finasteride, work by stopping your body from producing DHT in the first place. This can help minimize hair follicle damage, prevent hair thinning and allow for healthy hair growth.

  • Targeting DHT on the scalp. Others, such as our hair thickening shampoo, use ingredients like saw palmetto to target DHT on the scalp and prevent thinned or damaged hair.

  • Boosting blood flow to the area. Some treatments, like the topical hair loss medication minoxidil, work by improving blood flow to hair follicles, which may provide extra nutrients for hair growth.

Fenugreek’s Effect on DHT 

So, does fenugreek do any of these things? Currently, there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that DIY fenugreek hair masks or supplements containing fenugreek reduce DHT levels, protect hair follicles from DHT locally or stimulate blood flow to the scalp for better hair health.

Put simply, fenugreek doesn’t seem to have the same effects as other proven treatments for hair loss.

Research on Fenugreek Benefits for Hair

One study of fenugreek and hair loss in humans was published in the journal Kosmetische Medizin in 2006. It included 30 men and 30 women experiencing mild to moderate hair loss and found “favorable effects.” 

Those effects, however, were self-reported and retrospective, meaning participants were asked about the condition of their hair before and after fenugreek treatment. It’s hard to say for sure, but there could be confirmation bias (i.e., people thought their hair looked better because they expected fenugreek for hair to be effective).

Since the study didn’t use objective measurements typically used in higher-quality research, it’s best to view the findings as a potentially helpful hint that fenugreek might offer potential — not as a guarantee that it’s effective.

A more recent 2021 study on a topical blend containing fenugreek found “meaningful improvement” in people who used the product. But (and this is a large but) the study was only done on five people, and it’s impossible to know which of the botanics, if any, was responsible for hair growth.

When it comes to hair loss, you’d likely be better off trying solutions that have solid science backing their hair-growth claims. 

While still limited, research suggesting that fenugreek helps get rid of dandruff is a little more compelling than what’s available on fenugreek and hair growth.

Some research suggests that fenugreek may offer certain benefits for skin that could be indirectly related to hair care — especially considering that your scalp is, well…skin.

For example, one study published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules in 2017 found that a gel made of fenugreek seeds aided in wound healing in rats.

Theoretically, this might mean the seeds could help with scratches or scarring caused by scratching an itchy scalp, which can damage the hair follicle. But again, the study didn’t focus on that specifically.

Although this finding is interesting, it’s also important to keep in mind that the effects demonstrated by supplements and medications in animal studies don’t necessarily carry over to humans.

Another review of several studies noted that fenugreek seed extract has antibacterial, antifungal and anti-dandruff activity, but more research is needed. Also, one of the studies found other natural remedies, like lemon juice and henna extract, to be more effective against dandruff than fenugreek.

A surer bet for fighting dandruff? Adding our dandruff detox shampoo to your hair care routine.

The scientific evidence for fenugreek’s supposed ability to prevent hair loss and help with hair growth isn’t very strong. Still, fenugreek contain healthy substances that might offer benefits for overall health and wellness.

Some of the purported benefits of fenugreek are that it’s antibacterial and antifungal, meaning it can control the growth of bacteria and fungi. This brings us back to dandruff, which is caused by fungus.

Proponents of fenugreek also claim that it’s a lactation aid, a tool to lower cholesterol, a blood sugar regulator, a hormone regulator and a digestive stimulant.

Unfortunately, evidence proving these benefits is currently scant. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) plainly states that there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support the use of fenugreek for “any health condition.”

Fenugreek and Diabetes

However, the NCCIH acknowledges that a small number of low-quality studies have suggested that fenugreek may lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes or prediabetes.

One 2017 study looked at 60 people with type 2 diabetes. Participants got either 10 milligrams of fenugreek seeds steeped in hot water or no treatment. By month five, the fenugreek group showed a “significant reduction” in blood glucose levels.

While this study is interesting, it’s small in size and doesn’t provide any info about the potential blood sugar benefits of fenugreek for people without diabetes.

A few studies involving animals have also suggested that fenugreek could help combat cholesterol irregularities.

After eight weeks of fenugreek supplementation, rats had lowered LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol (often called “bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides and increased HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol (or “good” cholesterol). However, these findings haven’t been replicated in humans.

Fenugreek and Sexual Health

It seems wild, but fenugreek may be an aphrodisiac food, meaning it could amp up your sex drive.

In one study, 60 men with erectile dysfunction (ED) reported improved libido (sex drive) and orgasms after taking a fenugreek-containing supplement. It’s hard to say that the fenugreek was responsible, though, because the supplement also contained zinc.

Although a few studies suggest that fenugreek might offer certain health benefits, the small amount of research available isn’t very high-quality.

Fenugreek may also boost testosterone levels, according to some studies. More research is needed, but a 2020 meta-analysis found that fenugreek increased serum testosterone levels.

Are you tired of hearing that research on fenugreek is limited? Well, we do have a reasonable amount of scientific evidence about the potential risks associated with its use.

Fenugreek appears safe for human consumption in the amounts used in cooking — meaning a plate of methi chicken isn’t likely to harm you. But consuming large amounts of the herb might increase your risk of certain health issues.

Potential adverse effects associated with fenugreek consumption include:

  • Diarrhea, nausea and gastrointestinal issues

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness

  • Allergic reactions

Large doses of fenugreek may also increase your risk of developing very low blood sugar levels or liver toxicity.

Experts advise against using fenugreek supplements while pregnant, as it’s associated with an increased risk of birth defects. Currently, there’s only limited data about the safety of fenugreek supplements while breastfeeding.

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There are several ways to use fenugreek. You can either buy a fenugreek supplement and add it to your daily routine or apply it to your hair and scalp in the form of a fenugreek and water mix.

To use a fenugreek supplement, follow the directions on the product’s label. Make sure to only take the recommended dose, as taking an excessive amount of fenugreek could increase your risk of experiencing side effects.

Here’s how to make and use a fenugreek and water hair mask:

  • Soak two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in water overnight (remember it’s fenugreek seeds for hair growth, not the leaves). 

  • Leave the mix in a cool location to soak. 

  • The next morning, grind the seeds into the water to create a fenugreek paste to apply to your hair roots.

  • Carefully apply the fenugreek mixture to your scalp and the roots of your hair.

  • Leave it in for 10 to 20 minutes.

  • Rinse your hair to remove the fenugreek mask before washing thoroughly with your preferred shampoo.

While a fenugreek mask may not help restore hair loss or stop hair fall-out, the nourishing ingredients can help restore softness and hydration in dry hair.

Here’s how to use a fenugreek hair mask as a nourishing treatment:

  • Apply it to your hair and scalp.

  • Let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes.

  • Rinse thoroughly, ideally with a volumizing shampoo that’ll give your hair a fuller appearance (it may take a double rinse to get the oil out).

If you don’t want to wait overnight while the seeds soak, you can also use fenugreek seeds to make a powder, then mix the fenugreek powder with your favorite moisturizing hair oil like olive oil or coconut oil. 

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Evidence of fenugreek offering any benefit against hair loss isn’t very strong. That said, there are several options available for preventing hair loss and promoting regrowth if you’re starting to deal with male pattern baldness.

Currently, the most effective treatments for hair loss are the oral medication finasteride and the topical medication minoxidil.

Finasteride

Finasteride is a prescription medication that, as mentioned earlier, works by preventing your body from converting testosterone into DHT. This reduces DHT levels and shields your hair follicles against the process of miniaturization that causes hair loss. 

When used daily, finasteride can reduce DHT levels by roughly 70 percent and either slow down, stop or reverse the effects of male pattern baldness.

We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who’ll determine if a prescription is appropriate.

Minoxidil

Minoxidil is an over-the-counter topical medication that works by moving your hair follicles into the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle, during which your hair grows to its full length and thickness.

It’s also linked to increased blood circulation, which may improve hair growth and scalp health. We offer minoxidil solution (a liquid) and minoxidil foam online. 

Finasteride and Minoxidil Together

Research suggests that finasteride and minoxidil both work well at improving hair growth when used independently, but they’re particularly effective when used together. 

For instance, a study published in the journal Dermatologic Therapy found that 94.1 percent of men with male pattern baldness showed improvements after using finasteride and minoxidil for a year.

In contrast, 80.5 percent of balding men who used finasteride on its own and 59 percent of men who only used minoxidil saw improvements. 

Want to try both? Kill two birds with one stone — or whatever’s the less aggro version of that — with our topical finasteride & minoxidil spray.

You can also buy finasteride and minoxidil together in our Hair Power Pack. The set comes with other proven solutions for promoting fuller, thicker and healthier hair too. 

Hair loss treatments, delivered

If fenugreek for hair growth sounds too good to be true, that’s because it probably is — but if used responsibly, it’s not going to hurt, either.

 Here are a few main takeaways on fenugreek benefits for hair loss:

  • Right now, there isn’t much high-quality scientific evidence suggesting that fenugreek stops male pattern baldness, speeds up hair growth or offers any real benefits for maintaining thicker and healthier hair. 

  • There’s only a small amount of evidence to support fenugreek’s other supposed benefits, such as lowering cholesterol levels or regulating hormone production.

  • If you’re starting to develop hair issues — like a receding hairline or a bald patch around your crown — you’ll get the best results by sticking to evidence-based treatments for thinning hair like finasteride or minoxidil.

Looking for other products for hair loss and thinning hair? We offer a full selection of hair loss treatments online, including minoxidil, finasteride and hair care products for healthier, more lustrous hair. Get started today.

11 Sources

  1. Fenugreek. (2020, August). Retrieved from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/fenugreek
  2. Ahmad, A., Alghamdi, S.S., Mahmood, K. & Afzal, M. (2016, March). Fenugreek a multipurpose crop: Potentialities and improvements. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences. 23 (2), 300-310. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4894452/
  3. Ho, C.H., Sood, T. & Zito, P.M. (2021, November 15). Androgenetic Alopecia. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430924/
  4. Zito, P.M., Bistas, K.G. & Syed, K. (2022, May 8). Finasteride. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513329/
  5. Badri, T., Nessel, T.A. & Kumar, D.D. (2021, December 19). Minoxidil. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
  6. Ktari, N., et al. (2017, February). Antioxidant and hemolytic activities, and effects in rat cutaneous wound healing of a novel polysaccharide from fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seeds. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 95, 625-634. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27914964/
  7. Schulz, C., Bielfeldt, S. & Reimann, J. (2006, April). Fenugreek+micronutrients: Efficacy of a food supplement against hair loss. Kosmetische Medizin. 27 (4). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/251923543_Fenugreekmicronutrients_Efficacy_of_a_food_supplement_against_hair_loss
  8. Ranade, M. & Mudgalkar, N. (2017). A simple dietary addition of fenugreek seed leads to the reduction in blood glucose levels: A parallel group, randomized single-blind trial. Ayu. 38 (1-2), 24-27. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954247/
  9. Bruce-Keller, A.J., et al. (2020). Fenugreek Counters the Effects of High Fat Diet on Gut Microbiota in Mice: Links to Metabolic Benefit. Scientific Reports. 10 (1), 1245. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6985225/
  10. Badri, T., Nessel, T.A. & Kumar, D.D. (2021, December 19). Minoxidil. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
  11. Hu, R., et al. (2015). Combined treatment with oral finasteride and topical minoxidil in male androgenetic alopecia: a randomized and comparative study in Chinese patients. Dermatologic Therapy. 28 (5), 303-308. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/dth.12246
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Knox Beasley, MD

Dr. Knox Beasley is a board certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss. He completed his undergraduate studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and subsequently attended medical school at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. 

Dr. Beasley first began doing telemedicine during his dermatology residency in 2013 with the military, helping to diagnose dermatologic conditions in soldiers all over the world. 

Dr. Beasley is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Originally from Nashville, TN, Dr. Beasley currently lives in North Carolina and enjoys spending time outdoors (with sunscreen of course) with his wife and two children in his spare time. 

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