What is Fenugreek and what are the benefits of fenugreek? Fenugreek is a plant used as a spice and herb. The plant is common in the Mediterranean region, and its medicinal use is widely applied in South Asia, Egypt, China, India and Greece (Neelakantan et al.).
The leaves are used as herbs, seeds are used as spices whereas sprouts and microgreens are used as vegetables/in salads.
Fenugreek is used as a spice in the Indian subcontinent. The plant belongs to family Fabaceae. Fenugreek has a distinctive sweet smell brought about by sotolon chemical. However, its taste is very bitter.
The plant has many constituents such as diosgenin, protein, alkaloids, vitamin C, lysine, niacin, L-tryptophan, potassium and steroidal saponins (“Spices, Fenugreek Seed Nutrition Facts & Calories”).
Uses and Dosage of Fenugreek
A Benefit of Fenugreek is that it is used as a remedy in homes for balancing cholesterol (Reddy and Srinivasan 684-693). Taking 2 ounces of fenugreek seed daily significantly reduces cholesterol levels and risk of heart attack. The seeds are sprinkled onto prepared food (powdered form) or consumed with water (capsule form). Fenugreek is also used for lowering blood sugar levels and treating diabetes (Srinivasan 203-224).
Consuming 500 mg of fenugreek seed twice per day reduces blood sugar levels significantly. Additionally, Fenugreek is used as an herbal cure for skin inflammation. Grinding fenugreek into powder, mixing with warm water and applying it to the affected skin acts as a poultice for burns, gout, eczema and abscesses. Fenugreek is also used as a natural cure for heartburn and acid reflux. The seeds contain mucilage that aids in soothing gastrointestinal inflammation by coating the lining of the stomach and intestine (Neelakantan et al.).
Sprinkling one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds on prepared food acts as a remedy for heartburn or Acid reflux (Srinivasan 203-224). Fenugreek is also used as a home remedy for fever. When taken with honey and lemon during an illness, it nourishes the body hence aiding in reducing fever.
Fenugreek is also used for breast enlargement. It is used in teas and other products in helping balance women’s hormones and enlarges breasts by consuming 3g of Fenugreek seed daily. Fenugreek is also used as a remedy to ease childbirth.
In pregnant women, Fenugreek stimulates uterine contractions and helps in inducing childbirth. Fenugreek is also used by lactating women as a remedy to aid milk production. Consuming one capsule/ 500 mg of fenugreek seed thrice per day increases milk production. Also, Fenugreek is used in beverages and tobacco as a flavouring agent. Fenugreek extracts are also used in the manufacturing of cosmetics and soaps.
Health Benefits of Fenugreek
Studies and researches have revealed that Fenugreek lowers cholesterol levels, blood glucose and may be used to treat type 1 and 2 diabetes (Neelakantan et al.). Fenugreek is also helpful in treating reproductive disorders, hormonal disorders, reducing menstrual pain and inducing labour. Additionally, it is used to improve digestion, cure acid reflux, maintain a healthy metabolism and treat arthritis, especially in China and India (Srinivasan 203-224).
Fenugreek seeds are beneficial in increasing libido and minimising the effect of hot flushes owing to its estrogen-like properties. Fenugreek is also beneficial in preventing obesity, atherosclerosis and high blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. It is also beneficial in countering the problems of male infertility and erectile dysfunction (ED). Fenugreek has healthy benefits when used as a poultice for muscle pain, inflammation, lymphadenitis, gout, eczema and leg ulcers.
Is Fenugreek Good for You?
Fenugreek is good and appropriate for me. This is by taking into consideration the massive benefits amassed from its consumption. Not only does it help in curing diseases, but also aids in prevents others. It also helps in maintaining a healthy metabolism and reducing cholesterol level.
Fenugreek is also good for me due to its sweet smell which makes prepared food to be tasty and also aids in hiding the taste of other medicine. The plant have also been under research and no serious side effects have been pointed out especially when it is consumed with moderation.
What are the Side Effects of Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is safe when consumed in the right dosage or used moderately. Some minor side-effects have been associated with it due to over-usage or prevailing individual condition of the user. One of the main side effects is nausea, bloating, gastrointestinal discomfort, and diarrhea (“Fenugreek | NCCIH”). Rashes and skin irritations have also been reported when applying the herb on the skin.
During pregnancy, using Fenugreek induces labour (“Fenugreek | NCCIH”). It should, therefore, be used with caution as it might tend to bring up issues if no consultation is done with the doctor. Due to the Fenugreeks fibre’s property of being mucilaginous, it interferes with absorption of oral medications. It should be consumed 2 hours before or after these medications to counter the effect.
Reddy, R.L.R. and K. Srinivasan. “Dietary Fenugreek Seed Regresses Pre-established Cholesterol Gallstones In Mice”. Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 87.9 (2009): 684-693. Web. 16 July 2016.
Srinivasan, K. “Fenugreek ( Trigonella Foenum-Graecum ): A Review Of Health Beneficial Physiological Effects”. Food Reviews International 22.2 (2006): 203-224. Web. 16 July 2016.
Neelakantan, Nithya et al. “Effect Of Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecuml.) Intake On Glycemia: A Meta-Analysis Of Clinical Trials”. Nutrition Journal 13.1 (2014): n. pag. Web. 16 July 2016.
“Spices, Fenugreek Seed Nutrition Facts & Calories”. Nutritiondata.self.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 July 2016 “Fenugreek | NCCIH”. NCCIH. N.p., 2007. Web. 16 July 2016.