Fenugreek Seed

Common Name: Fenugreek is part of the Fabaceae family and is closely related to the bean and pea family. Fenugreek has a number of medicinal and culinary properties and has therefore been valued since ancient times. It has been used by ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. The leaves are frequently used as fenugreek herbs while the seeds are used as a spice.

Occurrence And Parts Used:

Fenugreek leaves are widely used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Fenugreek has a strong aroma and imparts a distinct flavor to curries and sauces. The fresh leaves are usually eaten as greens while the dried leaves can be added as a condiment to season dishes. Medicinally, fenugreek leaves have an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic effect on the body.

Fenugreek seeds are commonly used in the preparation of pickles and pastes. The seeds are also used in confectionery and syrups such as maple and vanilla. In the Middle East, fenugreek seeds are roasted and used to make fenugreek coffee, a popular beverage. In the Indian sub-continent, a mixture of fenugreek seeds with water is applied to the hair as a conditioner. Fenugreek seeds are commonly used against bad breath as a mouth freshener.

Administered As: Fenugreek seeds are usually ground and kept in boiling water to make fenugreek tea. The tea is completely organic and has a natural sweet flavour to it, although a sweetener can be added to it. These seeds are known as a safe way to stimulate the flow of breast milk in mothers after birth. The seeds can be crushed and administered as capsules as well to pregnant women.

Medicinal Uses: Traditional Chinese herbalists have used fenugreek extract to cure kidney problems and ancient Indian medicine recommends the same for conditions affecting the male reproductive tract. These extracts are also available in the form of fenugreek capsules.

Benefits: Fenugreek has been proven to aid the digestion process and slow down the rate of absorption of sugars into the bloodstream. In addition, fenugreek is known to lower cholesterol levels as well. Fenugreek also contains a substantial amount of fibre, and thus acts as an effective laxative. It is a neuromuscular stimulant, helping to reinforce the bone structure and muscular tissues. Using fenugreek externally on the body may relieve surface aches and pains. Moreover, organic fenugreek is an effective nutritional supplement.

Side Effects: Sometimes, fenugreek can produce allergic reactions such as rash and wheezing. Women are also warned to not consume too much fenugreek during pregnancy as it promotes menstruation. If consumed excessively, fenugreek can have side-effects such as bloody stools and heartburn.