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Fenugreek Seed - Health Benefits of Fenugreek

Botanical Name: Trigonella foenumgraecum

Family Name : Leguminosae

Fenugreek , also called methi , is a crop plant grown as a potherb and for the spice made from its seeds . Fenugreek plant is erect, strongly scented, robust, 1-2 ft. high plant. It grows annually. Leaves compound; 3/4-1 inch long; stipules entire, leaflets 3, lanceolate, or oborate, toothed. Flowers axillary, 1-2 sessile, yellow. Pods 2-3 inches long, thin pointed, 1020 seeded, seeds emitting a peculiar odour, brownish yellow, having an oblique furrow along a part of their length.

The major use of fenugreek is in curry powders, figuring in many mixtures, especially vindaloo and the hot curries of Sri Lanka. It is an ingredient of Panch phoron, the Indian five-spice mixture. In homemade powders, the amount used can be controlled, but in cheap bought powders it often overpowers.

Origin and Distribution

Native of Europe and Ethiopia. For centuries it has grown wild in India, the Mediterranean and North Africa. where it is mainly cultivated. A limited crop grows in France. It was used by the ancient Egyptians to combat fever and grown in classical times as cattle fodder. Fenugreek is a cool season crop & it grows all over India and Pakistan.

Properties of fenugreek

Cooling, carminative, tonic, aphrodisiac, anti-dysenteric, aromatic, diuretic, nutritive, emollient, astringent, aperient and lactagogue.

Forms of Use :- As vegetable, juice, poultice.

Food Value of fenugreek

It is used as methi saag and its seeds are used as a condiment and for flavor. Its leaf contains maximum number of amino acids, constituents of protein.

Fenugreek analysis provides following composition :-

Moisture 86.0%
Protein 4.4%
Fibre 1.0%
Carbohydrate 6.0%
Phosphorus 50 mg
Fat 1%
Calcium 400 mg
Vitamin C 50 mg
Iron 17 mg

Medicinal Uses & benefits

  1. Leaves are aromatic, cooling and aperient.
  2. Leaves paste applied on hair before bath enhances their lustre, life and length.
  3. Leaves are highly useful in indigestion, flatulence and in liver disorders.
  4. Leaves contain enough iron that helps in forming blood, especially useful in anemia.
  5. Leaves and seeds are lactagogue which increases the flow of milk.
  6. Due to their cooling properties, a poultice of the leaves can be applied with advantage in external and internal swellings and burns.
  7. The seeds help restore a deadened sense of taste or smell. The loss of sense of taste occurs due to improper functioning of the salivary glands.
  8. Tea prepared from seeds reduces fever. It also works in malarial fever.
  9. Tea prepared from the seeds is also useful in stomach, intestine & allied ailments viz. inflammation, bowels, kidneys, peptic ulcer (where it forms protective coating against ulcers).
  10. Fenugreek seed is widely used as a galactagogue (milk producing agent) by nursing mothers to increase inadequate breast milk supply.
  11. It is good for respiratory tract infections viz. bronchitis, influenza, sinusitis, catarrh, pneumonia. Tea of seeds will help in these cases (four cups daily).
  12. Its seeds are effective in controlling diabetes (25 to 100 grams daily).

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