Fenugreek benefits caused the herb to be prized by the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians for its use in cuisine and medicinal merits.
Native to southern Eurasia, the enjoyment of fenugreek benefits and the use of the fenugreek herbal spread with the growth and expansion of Western culture.
A thick paste was prepared by early Egyptians by soaking fenugreek seed in water. This resulting fenugreek seed extract paste was used to avoid fevers and to comfort stomach problems.
It was also used to treat diabetics, which is still a common practice today. Also, the formulation is frequently used as an antibiotic or disinfectant.
The name of the species, foenum gracum, is Greek meaning ‘hay from Greece’. The name, Trigonella, is Greek for ‘three sides’ and refers to the flowers of the plant.
The Chinese first recorded having used fenugreek tea during the Sung Dynasty. Since that time, they have used fenugreek seed extract to treat Beri Beri (avitaminosis caused by lack of thiamine), kidney ailments and male problems including impotence. It is also of interest to women and is included in some breastfeeding supplements.
Fenugreek is an important ingredient in curry powder, which makes it valuable for the culinary inclined, especially in India.
The most general enjoyment of fenugreek benefits today is in cooking. It is commonly used to add a maple flavor to sweets and is also used in commercially developed spices.
Fortunately, some of the folk medicine properties have been examined and confirmed. One studied established that an alcohol extract of the seeds could quite possibly be used as an oral hypoglycemic agent because it substantially lowered blood glucose levels in laboratory tests.
Herbalists today seek fenugreek benefits for its expectorant properties. Similar to other mucilaginous herbs, it causes the mucosa of the bowel to step up the production while lessening the viscosity of protective fluid.
This reaction in the digestive system is believed to initiate a sympathetic response in the other mucous membranes of the body, especially the respiratory and urinary systems.
It is an important factor in expectorant and lung healing formulas. It is also used in the treatment of allergies including hay fever and in dissolving dry coughs typically found in humid climates.
The seeds from fenugreek are nutritious and have several chemical constituents. The effective nature if this herb is due to its mucilage content which causes it to expand in water and provides a source of viscous fiber.
The seeds are plentiful in fixed oils that have been compared to cod liver oil because of its choline and vitamin A content. These two can oxidze to create quite a fishy smell.
Fenugreek also has saponins and sapongenins, which are the building blocks of steroid hormones and other related drugs. This herb is being considered for this purpose because it is an annual and the harvest time is less than for wild yam, which has this similar quality.
Lesser known Fenugreek benefits are that it is high in proteins like lysine and tryptophan and has a modest amount of sulfur-containing amino acids. It has energy concentrates of fats and phosphorus as with most other seeds. Fenugreek also has a beneficial amount of iron.
With the variety of common ailments that fenugreek extract can help remedy, it is widely used by herbalists and recognized by the scientific community as a valuable plant.
As with any herb, fenugreek should not be taken by pregnant women except with the advice of a doctor. It is believed that this herb may cause uterine contractions. Always consult your doctor before taking any herb when you are pregnant.
Fenugreek benefits have been enjoyed for centuries and its benefits are still applied today.
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