The health benefits of fenugreek (trigonella foenum-graecum) are so
many that it's a
great idea to consume these regularly for maintaining good health.
Fenugreek is supposed to have originated in eastern Europe and
Ethiopia. Fenugreek has been used since ancient times as food as well
as medicine by the Egyptians and Asians. Today, it's grown around the
Mediterranean, Argentina, Egypt, France, and all over India.
is an annual herb that grows 1-2 feet tall and has small,
oval leaves, and small pods which contain the seeds. These are small,
hard, and ochre yellow. Fenugreek is very easy to grow in mild
climates. Sow the seeds, place in a sunny area, water regularly, and
watch the herbs grow.
Fenugreek leaves (methi saag, methi,
menthi koora) are a popular
vegetable in India. Fenugreek seeds are an essential ingredient in
curry powder and other masalas used in Indian food, and both the leaves
and seeds have a pronounced aroma. The leaves and seeds have a bitter
taste and hence often used in combination with other spices and
In the US, fenugreek leaves and seeds are available in Indian grocery
stores. The seeds are available whole, crushed, or powdered. Dried
fenugreek leaves, called kasuri methi
are also sold whole or powdered and are used when fresh leaves are not
available or when you want to use them just for flavoring.
Fenugreek and Health
Fenugreek leaves and seeds are supposed to have a cooling effect on the
body, and are often used as a remedy to treat boils, mouth sores, and
sore throats. A paste made from the leaves can also be used for
soothing burns and swellings. A tea made from fenugreek seeds is used
for reducing fevers. A strong gargle made from boiling a couple
tablespoons of seeds in a quart of water and strained, is used as a
home remedy to soothe sore throat.
Ancient herbalists used fenugreek as a digestive aid, and even today
the seeds are eaten with a little yogurt to relieve diarrhea and
flatulence. Fenugreek in any form helps with acid reflux. Fenugreek tea
is also used for treating other stomach
disorders such as peptic ulcers as the seeds become mucilageous (have a
mucus coating) in water and soothe the stomach.
Fenugreek seeds have long been known to promote lactation. In India,
seeds are powdered and made into a gruel and offered to nursing
mothers. The seeds are crushed and fed to cows to increase their supply
In the Middle Ages, fenugreek was used as a hair
tonic and was believed
to cure baldness. Herbalists recommend making a paste of the leaves and
applying over the scalp regularly before shampooing, for long, silky,
and glossy hair, and for curing dandruff. The paste, when applied on
the face, can improve complexion and prevent pimples, acne,
as well as wrinkles.
Fenugreek leaves and seeds are rich in iron and as such very effective
in treating anemia.
The dried leaves (kasuri methi) are rich in protein and are comparable
The seeds are rich in minerals and vitamins such as calcium,
phosphorus, iron, and vitamin C, and also contain some vitamin
Tibetan monks have used fenugreek in all its various forms for
centuries for the anti-inflammatory benefits fenugreeks offers and to
help calm mind and body.
Regular use of fenugreek seeds can help restore the sense of taste and
smell by clearing accumulated mucus and other impurities from the oral
and nasal passages.
Fenugreek tea has been found beneficial in treating resporatory
infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, influenza, and sinusitis.
Fenugreek seeds have been found very effective in treating diabetes.
According to researchers at the National Institute of Nutrition,
Hyderabad, India, fenugreek seeds, when consumed daily along with a
restricted caloric diet (1200-1400 calories per day), have a beneficial
effect, reducing levels of glucose, serum cholesterol, and
triglycerides in diabetic patients. Other studies show that fenugreek
seeds soaked in hot water can be used as an
adjuvant to help control type 2 diabetes.
Buy leaves/herbs that look fresh, and refrigerate to
them from wilting. Fenugreek leaves are best when used in 3-4 days.
Fenugreek seeds stay fresh for 6-7 months when stored in air-tight
Chop off the roots and tougher stems. Use the leaves
and tender part of the stems.
Rinse the leaves multiple times to remove any
dirt/sand; or drop
them in a large bowl of water and let sit for a minute until the dirt
settles to the bottom, and then remove the leaves. Repeat a couple
of times in clean water.
Steam the leaves to retain the vitamins and minerals.
http://www.thorne.com/altmedrev/.fulltext/8/1/20.pdf Foods That Heal,
H. K. Bakhru