Fenugreek, an annual herb native to Southern Europe and Asia, is one of the oldest known medicinal herbs and provides a variety of purported health and practical benefits. Now grown in many parts of the world, fenugreek seeds impart a maple-like flavor to baked goods and curries and the plant can be eaten as a vegetable. Several of fenugreek’s health and medicinal uses have been substantiated by scientific research.
It is an excellent sources of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc, manganese, and magnesium. The seeds contains many phytochemical compounds such as choline, trigonelline diosgenin, yamogenin, gitogenin, tigogenin and neotigogens. Together, these compounds attribute for the medicinal properties of fenugreeks.
Fenugreek seeds have a somewhat bitter taste, similar to celery, maple syrup or burnt sugar, and are often used to make medicine. Fenugreek can be taken by mouth or used to form a paste that’s applied to the skin to help heal inflammation. Supplementing fenugreek may cause body secretions, including urine, to smell like maple syrup. This is due to a metabolite called sotolon.
For Nursing Mothers
Fenugreek can help increase the amount of milk that is produced, plus the magnesium and vitamin content of fenugreek may also help improve the quality of the milk. Note: Fenugreek is not recommended during pregnancy.
Research studies show that fenugreek consumption helps to reduce cholesterol level. Fenugreek helps to reduce the level of low density Lipoprotein (LDL) significantly, which can prevent various conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. The seeds can be sprinkled onto prepared food, or they can be consumed with water if they are in capsule form.
Fenugreek’s most well-known compound is 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which works to normalize glucose metabolism. The other compounds, called trigonelline, galactomannan, and trigoneosides, also work together to provide benefits for blood sugar. It appears to slow absorption of sugars in the stomach and stimulate insulin. Eating seeds or using fenugreek flour is the most effective form of fenugreek for blood sugar control. An oral dose of 2-5g of fenugreek seeds can help blood glucose levels for diabetics.
Fenugreek has a high fiber content. This makes it helpful in treating constipation and diarrhea, while also relieving minor indigestion.
The high fiber content can help to suppress appetite by making you feel full.