Herbs and Helpers ®

Herbal Services and Solutions | Herbalist | Supplier | Herbs

   Oct 05

Fenugreek – Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum), native to southern Europe and Asia, is an erect annual herb with white flowers and hard, yellowish brown and angular seeds. Known as methi in Hindi, it is a popular ingredient in many North Indian dishes.

Fenugreek Nutrition

Fenugreek seeds and leaves are strongly aromatic and flavorful. Seeds are bitter in taste but lose their bitterness if roasted slightly. They are rich in vitamins such as thiamin, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins A, B6, and C, and are a storehouse of minerals such as copper, potassium, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc, manganese, and magnesium. Fenugreek leaves are a rich source of vitamin K as well.

Health Benefits of Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds are rich source of trigonelline, lysine and l-tryptophan. The seeds also contain a large amount of saponins and fibers that could account for many health benefits of fenugreek.

• Increases Breast Milk – Fenugreek is used as a galactagogue by nursing mothers to increase inadequate breast milk supply. This is evidenced by a study which found that consumption of herbal tea containing fenugreek seeds enhanced breast milk production in mothers and facilitated infant birth weight regain in early postnatal days.

• Reduces Cholesterol – Fenugreek contains saponins that help reduce the body’s absorption of cholesterol from fatty foods. Some studies also indicate saponins to have a role to play in reducing the body’s production of cholesterol, especially the LDL levels. For example, Reddy and Srinivasan from the Central Food Technological Research Institute, CSIR, Mysore, India, found that fenugreek helped regress existing cholesterol gallstones in mice. Further, they claimed that fenugreek could significantly reduce cholesterol concentration.

• Prevents Diabetes – An unusual amino acid (4HO-Ile), so far found only in fenugreek, has possible anti-diabetic properties such as enhancing insulin secretion under hyperglycemic conditions, and increasing insulin sensitivity. Iranian researchers from Qom University of Medical Science suggest the potential of 4HO-Ile as an adjunct to diabetes treatment for type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes.

• Protects from Cancer – Studies have shown that the fibers in fenugreek help prevent certain cancers. For example, researchers at Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, found that fenugreek has estrogenic effects and could be a possible alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Other studies have shown that saponins and mucilage in fenugreek bind to toxins in the food and flush them out, thus protecting the mucus membrane of the colon from cancers.

• Maintains healthy Testosterone Levels – An Australian study reported significant positive effect of fenugreek on physiological aspects of male libido and also found that it may assist to maintain normal healthy testosterone levels. The study recruited 60 healthy males aged between 25 and 52, without erectile dysfunction and randomized to 2 tablets per day of 600mg Testofen (Fenugreek extract and mineral formulation) or placebo for 6 weeks. The researchers found that Testofen significantly increased sexual arousal and orgasm in the study men.

• Aids Digestion – Fenugreek is said to be an effective heartburn or acid reflux remedy because the mucilage in fenugreek seeds assists in soothing gastrointestinal inflammation, and coating the stomach and intestinal lining. According to a study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, a 2-week intake of a fenugreek fiber product taken 30 minutes before two meals /day, by subjects with frequent heartburn, diminished heartburn severity. The researchers found that the effects were similar to that of ranitidine at 75mg, twice a day.

• Helps with Weight Loss – Fenugreek complements diet and exercise for weight loss. This thermogenic herb aids weight loss by suppressing appetite, increasing energy in the short term, and potentially modulating carbohydrate metabolism.

Fenugreek Natural Remedies

Fenugreek is widely known for its culinary properties and also as traditional remedy for a number of conditions.

• Fenugreek seeds are rich in vitamin E and are added as preservatives in pickles.

• Dried leaves of the fenugreek are used for flavoring meat, fish and vegetable dishes.

• Herbal tea made with fenugreek, lemon and honey (check below for recipe) is traditionally used as remedy for fevers.

• A paste made from fresh fenugreek leaves applied regularly to scalp before bath helps hair growth, improves hair complexion, and reduces dandruff.

• Fenugreek is used traditionally as remedy for eczema, burns, abscesses, and gout.

• Fenugreek stimulates uterine contractions and induces childbirth.

• Fenugreek extract has been suggested to assist in balancing women’s hormones as also to enlarge breasts..

• Always take the advice of your doctor before using fenugreek for any medical condition.

Fenugreek Side Effects • In large doses, fenugreek may cause birth-defects because of its teratogenic potential. It would be prudent to avoid fenugreek supplementation during pregnancy.

• Fenugreek seeds can cause internal bleeding.

• Skin irritation and allergy has also been reported with fenugreek. Severe allergy symptoms include chest pain, facial swelling, and difficulty breathing or swallowing.

• Diarrhea, indigestion, heartburn, gas, bloating and urine odor are other possible side effects of fenugreek.

Fenugreek Recipes

Fenugreek Seed Tea

1. Lightly crush a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds.

2. Soak them in a cup of freshly boiled water and steep it for 1 to 3 hours. (The longer you steep, higher the benefits).

3. Strain the tea, add honey and lemon to taste and drink it hot or cold. You can add tea leaves or other herbs too for different flavor.

Methi Moong Dal Subzi

1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan.

2. Add half a teaspoon cumin seeds and when they splutter add one chopped onion, 2 cloves of garlic crushed, and green chilies. Sauté for a minute.

3. Add a pinch of turmeric powder, 2 cups of chopped fenugreek leaves and salt to taste. Cook for a few minutes. Fenugreek leaves cook very quickly.

4. Add quarter cup of soaked moong dal (split green gram) and half a cup of hot water.

5. Sprinkle a teaspoon of besan (Bengal gram flour), mix well, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, till the moong dal is cooked.

6. Serve hot with roti or rice.

Read more: Fenugreek – Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects | Medindia http://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/fenugreek.htm#ixzz2gpJyEUa7

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.