Fenugreek is an important and one of the oldest medicinal plants on record. It is native to the Mediterranean, India, China, Northern Africa and Ukraine. It is one of the oldest medicinal plants we know of, because there is recorded information that dates back to ancient Egypt when it was mentioned as a plant to induce childbirth as well as an embalming agent. Its use spread throughout the Arab world, Greece and then eventually spread to China and India.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) commonly known as methi, is a self-pollinating, leguminous crop. Cultivated Fenugreek (Trigonella corniculata L.), also known as Kasuri methi, is a small annual herb Dried leaves of this plant are used in Indian cooking as kasuri methi.
Fenugreek has a food based tradition, used to supplement wheat and maize flour for making bread, and as a condiment. Historical and theoretical uses are many and the list is long, but literature shows its use as a: abortifacient, appetite stimulant, for baldness, boils, breast enhancement, bronchitis, cellulites, constipation, cough, diarrhea, eczema, flatulence, galactagogue, hepatitic disease, hernia, indigestion, leg ulcers, menopausal symptoms, myalgia, postmenopausal vaginal dryness, hyperglycemia, tuberculosis and wound healing.
Active Constituents: The leaves and seeds of the fenugreek plant are used as powders and extracts for medicine use. Fenugreek seeds contain 45-60% carbohydrates, most of which is a mucilaginous fiber which is 30% soluble and 20% insoluble fiber. It also contains about 20-30% proteins that are high in lysine and tryptophan, a small amount of oils (5-10%), a small amount of pyridine alkaloids (mostly trigonelline), and a few flavonoids, free amino acids, sapogenins, vitamins and volatile oils.
Health benefits of Fenugreek:
Benefits on Blood Sugar levels:
Fenugreek seeds (trigonella foenum graecum) are high in soluble fibre, which helps lower blood sugar by slowing down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. This suggests they may be effective in treating people with diabetes.
Multiple studies have been carried out to investigate the potential anti-diabetic benefits of fenugreek. Of these, several clinical trials showed that fenugreek seeds can improve most metabolic symptoms associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in humans by lowering blood glucose levels and improving glucose tolerance.
Fenugreek contains an amino acid called 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which appears to increase the body’s production of insulin when blood sugar levels are high .Higher insulin production may decrease the amounts of sugar that stay in the blood for many individuals.
It is also thought that the saponins in fenugreek seeds are transformed in the gastrointestinal tract into sapogenins and this is responsible for the lipid lowering effects. The seeds contain compounds that inhibit both cholesterol absorption in the intestines and cholesterol production by the liver.
Fenugreek is a mild bulk-forming laxative that’s best suited for long-term use in people with constipation. Bulk-forming laxatives like fenugreek have a high fiber and mucilage content that expand when they come in contact with water. As the volume in the bowel increases, a reflex muscular contraction occurs, stimulating a bowel movement. Fenugreek, a mild laxative is best suited for long-term use in people with constipation.
Remedy to aid milk production in Lactating women:
Fenugreek has been known to increase milk production in lactating women. Fenugreek is considered to be the most popular and utilized herbal galactagogue(substance that increases milk formation) in the world. Fenugreek has phytoestrogens and diosgenin constituents that increase milk flow.
Natural cure for 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. Therefore, for an effective remedy against heartburn or Acid Reflux, simply sprinkle 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds onto your food. Another option is to take one teaspoon of seeds and swallow them with water or juice before any meal.
Beauty benefits of Fenugreek:
Fenugreek for Skin:
Fenugreek seeds are known to have excellent anti-bacterial , anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It is therefore effective in reducing skin inflammation caused by wounds, eczema, burns and accelerate the healing procedure. It flushes the toxins accumulated underneath the epidermis layer and erases the irregularity of the skin. It also fades acne scars beyond visionary measures Being rich in niacin or vitamin B3, fenugreek can repair already damaged skin cells and regenerate new ones effectively. As a result it reduces wrinkles, age spots and fine lines. Fenugreek seeds destroy the free radicals in our body hence it is a natural anti-ageing remedy. Fenugreek powder can be used as a great homemade facial scrub or mask. Its regular use can lead to a naturally glowing skin by removing dead cells and diminishing blackheads and reduce the oiliness of our skin and make it free from acne. A face pack prepared out of methi seeds by using methi paste, methisoaked water, gram flour, and curd exfoliates the skin and removes dark circles. It also tones and cleanses the skin while simultaneously treating sun damages.
Fenugreek for Hair:
Fenugreek powder is the most effective solutions for dandruff. Soak the fenugreek seeds overnight to soften them. Grind them in the morning to make a paste. You can also add curd to the paste for even better results. After your paste is ready, apply it to your scalp and massage the roots of your hair. Wash off your hair after 30 minutes, and say goodbye to dandruff.
Fenugreek is a natural treatment for frequent hair fall. As it is rich in plenty of protein and nicotinic acid, it stimulates growth of hair to a large extent. The seeds are extremely helpful in strengthening hair roots and reconstructing the damaged hair follicles, hence inclusion of fenugreek seeds in your diet makes your hair healthy.
Fenugreek contains an emulsifying element called ‘lecithin’ that conditions hair, retains its natural shade and makes it shiny.
How to consume Fenugreek indaily diet:
As a spice: Fenugreek is a common Indian spice and can be used both as a seed and as a powder. The seeds can be used as a tadka in vegetables like cabbage, lady finger, beans, and green vegetables and in curries. Powdered fenugreek can be added to all dry vegetables and curries, used to flavour soups and dals, and sprinkled on salads and breads.
n flour: Grains like wheat flour, gram flour, ragi flour can be enriched with fenugreek powder to improve their fibre content and to improve their digestibility. It can be added to the batter of pancakes and idlis , or in the dough used to roll out chapatti and bread.
Fenugreek leaves are as staple vegetable and can be cooked into a regular allomethi. Methi leaves can be added to dough for Indian bread and for savouries or steamed snacks .Methi leaves can be used with other vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, beans and peppers to make delicious and nutritious soups.
Methi seeds can be soaked overnight and consumed with water on an empty stomach in the morning. Early morning intake of Fenugreek can has various health benefits such as lower sugar levels, lower cholesterols, better digestion and relief from constipation. It also improves skin tone and reduces hair fall.
Recommended dosage of Fenugreek:
A highly safe natural remedy, fenugreek can be used liberally for its health benefits. Normal individuals can eat 3-5 g of the seed (upto a teaspoon).Fenugreek may cause a severe an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to green peas, peanuts, chickpeas or soybeans. If you’re allergic to fenugreek avoid its consumption. In addition, fenugreek may lower blood sugar levels and should be used with caution by people with diabetes. As a diabetic, it’s important to check your blood sugar carefully, especially if you’re using fenugreek, to ensure it doesn’t fall to severely low, or induce hypoglycemia