Fenugreek as spice
Fenugreek as Medicinal Herb
Fenugreek Side effects
Fenugreek or Methi also known as Trigonella foenum-graecum, Greek hay seed,
bird's foot. and Fenigreek, is an herb that is commonly found growing in the Mediterranean region of the world. While
the seeds and leaves are primarily used as a culinary spice, it is also
used to treat a variety of health problems in India, China, Egypt, Italy, and South Asia.
Fenugreek has been found to help increase libido and lessen the effect of hot flashes and mood
fluctuations that are common symptoms of menopause and PMS. In India and
China it has also been used to treat arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, improve digestion, maintain a healthy metabolism, increase libido and
male potency, cure skin problems (wounds, rashes and boils), treat sore throat, and cure acid reflux.
Hindi - Methi
English - Greek hay seed
Latin - Trigonella foenum-graecum L.
Family Name- Fabaceae
Sanskrit - Methe
Tamil - Vendayam or Venthiyam
Kannada - Menthya
Telgu - Mentulu or Menthulu
Malayalam- Ventayan, Uluva
Marathi - Methe
Russian : Pazhitnik
Japanese : Koroha
Chinese : K'u - Tou
French : Fenugrec
German : Bockshorklee
Arabic : Hulba
Fenugreek seed is the ripe fruit of an annual herb. This robust herb has
light green leaves, is 30-60 cm tall and produces slender, beaked pods, 10-15 cm long, each pod contains 10-20 small hard yellowish brown seeds,
which are smooth and oblong, about 3mm long, each grooved across one corner, giving them a hooked appearance.
Fenugreek seeds have been found to contain protein, vitamin C, niacin,
potassium, and diosgenin (which is a compound that has properties similar to estrogen). Other active constituents in fenugreek are
alkaloids, lysine and L-tryptophan, as well as steroidal saponins (diosgenin, yamogenin,
tigogenin, and neotigogenin).
Fenugreek is a cold season crop and is fairly tolerant to frost and very low
temperature. It is best suited to tracts of moderate to low rainfall and is sown in all types of soil but perform better in loam and clayey loam
with proper drainage. It can also be grown on black cotton soils.
Charred fenugreek seeds have been recovered from Tell Halal, Iraq
, (radiocarbon dating to 4000 BC) and Bronze Age levels of Lachish , as well as desiccated seeds from the tomb of Tutankhamen Cato the Elder
lists fenugreek with clover and vetch as crops grown to feed cattle .
Fenugreek as spice
Fenugreek or Methi
is frequently used in kitchen for the preparation of pickles, curry powders
and pastes, and is often encountered in the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent. The young leaves and sprouts of fenugreek are eaten as
greens, and the fresh or dried leaves are used to flavor other dishes. In India Fenugreek or Methi is used in a variety of dishes and
sweets as Methi Paratha, Methi Laddu, Methi vegetables and seets.
It is one of the three ingredients of idli and dosa
in South India. It is also one of the ingredients in the making of khakhra, a type of bread. It is used in injera/taita, a type of bread
unique to Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. In Yemen it is the main condiment and an ingredient added to the national dish called
saltah. Fenugreek, or Şambélilé in Persian, is also one of four herbs used for the Iranian recipe Ghormeh Sabzi.
In Egypt, fenugreek seeds are prepared as tea, by being boiled then sweetened. This is a popular winter drink served in coffee shops. In
other parts of the Middle East fenugreek is used in a variety of sweet confections. A cake desert known as Helba is served in the islamic world
is a tasty treat during islamic holdiays. This is a semolina cake covered in sugar or maple-like syrup, then sprinkled with fenugreek
seeds on top.
Fenugreek as Medicinal Herb
Fenugreek or Methi
seeds are used in colic flatulence, dysentery, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, chronic cough and enlargement of liver and spleen, rickets, gout and
diabetes. It is also used as a carminative, tonic, and aphrodisiac.Fenugreek oil is used in the manufacture of hair tonics.
Diabetes or hypoglycemia:
Fenugreek reduces blood glucose levels, and in the few studies using it as a hypoglycemic, also reduces blood
Asthma: Fenugreek is often cited as a natural remedy for asthma.
Abnormal menstrual cycles: Fenugreek is considered to be an emmenagogue
(promotes menstrual flow). Per [White], it may cause breakthrough menstrual bleeding. Use it as per Doctor's advice
Migraines: Fenugreek is often cited as a natural remedy for migraines.
Blood pressure problems or heart disease: Fenugreek is commonly reported
to lower blood pressure and LDL blood cholesterol levels. Remedy for Fever
Reduce fever: Fenugreek herb has been known to help reduce fever when taken with
lemon and honey, since it nourishes the body during an illness.
Heartburn and Acid Reflux: Fenugreek seeds contain a lot of mucilage, which helps sooth
gastrointestinal inflammation by coating the lining of the stomach and intestine.
Health Benefits of Fenugreek Seeds are
*Helps Treat Diabetes & Reduce Cholesterol :
Fenugreek proves to be a very good agent in reducing bad cholesterol from the body.
*Aids Digestion : Fenugreek helps in maintaining a good metabolism and prevents constipation. It purifies blood and helps in flushing out the
harmful toxins. It helps in dissolving excess mucus, thereby making the digestive organ refreshed and clean.
* Memory boost: Fenugreek seeds are useful in improving memory power too.
* Prevents Hair Loss : Fenugreek has very potent seeds, which help treat balding, thinning of hair and hair fall. To create the hair
tonic, boil the fenugreek seeds, soak them in coconut oil, overnight. The next morning, massage your head
with this potion for five minutes, concentrating on the balding areas. Repeat it every day and in a few months, you will see the difference.
* Helps In Losing Weight : This herb is very effective in losing weight.
With the assistance of proper diet and exercise, fenugreek can work wonder on your body. The fiber in fenugreek fills the stomach, even when
consumed in a little amount. Soak a few fenugreek seeds in water and chew them in the morning, on an empty stomach.
* Antidote For Skin Problems : Fenugreek seeds prove to be an excellent
beauty product. They help prevent wrinkles, blackheads, pimples, dryness and rashes. Apply a paste of fresh fenugreek leaves, mixed with water,
over the face and keep it for twenty minutes. Then wash it with warm water. You can even wash your face with water, boiled with fenugreek
seeds. It can also be applied on the inflamed body parts and as a cosmetic product.
* Good For Beauty & Health : Fenugreek helps attain hormonal balance in
women and therefore, helps in enlargement of breasts. It is an essential ingredient of many breast enhancer medicines and is widely used in
commercial preparation. Also, it helps increase the lactation in breast feeding women. It can even reduce labor pain and induce child birth in a
woman. Moreover, it reduces the menstrual discomfort and eases menstrual cramps.
* Prevents Dandruff & Strengthens Hair : Fenugreek help prevent hair
loss and keeps the dandruff away. If applied on the hair, it makes it shiny and black. You can either make a conditioning
potion by grinding its seeds and directly applying it to head or integrate it in your diet.
* Breast Enlargement: Fenugreek is often used in many teas and other products that help
balance women's hormones and/or enlarge the breasts.
* Aid Milk Production in Lactating Women: Fenugreek has been known to increase milk production in lactating women.
Research has even shown that milk production can increase by over 500
percent within 24 to 72 hours after consuming this herb.
Fenugreek Side effects
Fenugreek is generally considered to be safe when used moderately,
there have been reports of a few minor side-effects. Nausea is one common side effect, while other people have reported gastrointestinal
discomfort (diarrhea and/or gas). Also, when using this herb topically
on the skin, it is important to watch out for skin irritations and rashes.
Fenugreek use during pregnancy is not recommended, since it has the potential to induce labor. If you are pregnant and wish to take it, you
should do so only after consultation with your doctor.
Fenugreek is used both as a food and food additive as well as in
medicines. Fresh tender pods, leaves and shoots are eaten as curried vegetable. As a spice, it flavours food. Powder of dried leaves is also
used for garnishing and flavouring variety of food. Fenugreek extract is used as a flavouring agent of imitation maple syrup. It is one of the
principle constituent of curry powder. The prices of Fenugreek
seed, powder and extract is determined by market demand.
According to a new study in Australia, the herb fenugreek significantly
improved male libido. The research, performed by the Centre for Integrative Clinical and Molecular Medicine, showed that men who took a
fenugreek extract twice daily saw significant improvements in their love
life. The study looked at the effects of a fenugreek- based preparation on the libido of men aged 25 to 52. The men took the extract
twice a day for six weeks, while another group had a placebo pill. Within six weeks of starting the trial, men who took the fenugreek had
increases in their libido scores of more than 25 percent. The men who
took the placebo saw either no increase or a decrease. Researchers are unclear how the herb, which is used in curry and other
dishes, works to improve libido. Fenugreek does contain some compounds that may effect hormone levels. The compounds, known as saponins, may be
responsible for an increase in the production of sex hormones.
Male horniness is not the only place where the herb is alleged to have
positive effects. Some new mothers take fenugreek to increase the volume
of breast milk they produce. Other people swear that fenugreek reduces inflammation and wards off arthritis. Still other research shows that
the herb can reduce cholesterol levels and perhaps help folks with type-1 and type-2 diabetes manage their symptoms.
In recent research, fenugreek seeds were experimentally shown to protect
against cancers of the breast (Amin et al., 2005) and colon (Raju et al., 2006). The hepatoprotective properties of fenugreek seeds have also
been reported in experimental models (Raju and Bird, 2006; Kaviarasan et al., 2006; Thirunavukarrasu et al., 2003).