Fenugreek is a strongly-scented, bitter-tasting herb, native to Ethiopia. It belongs to the family of gabaceae and is botanically named Trigonellafoenum-graecum. The name Fenugreek comes from the Latin word “Greek Hay”. It is used extensively to flavor ethnic dishes of the Middle East and Asian cuisine. Some of the common names of fenugreek are methi, Greek-hay, Greek-clover and bird’s foot.
Fenugreek: Health Benefits
This popular spice has been cherished since antiquity for its medicinal properties. Since fenugreek is a food substance, it can be safely consumed on its own or can be added to food along with other spices. Some of the popular fenugreek benefits include:
Fenugreek seed is a potent herbal remedy to bring down the blood sugar levels in the body. The amino-acid-hydroxy Isoleucine in fenugreek facilitates insulin secretion in the pancreas to control blood sugar. In an Indian study, the diabetic patients were given fenugreek powder for ten days. The patients showed significant reduction in Type-one and Type-two diabetes. The fibre content in fenugreek also controls blood sugar spikes and improves glucose tolerance. Therefore, it is recommended to consume 500 milligrams of fenugreek twice daily to treat Type-two Diabetes.
Recent studies have concluded that fenugreek may help to lower elevated cholesterol and triglyceride, without lowering the beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HPL) in the body. Studies have revealed that the people who took 56 grams of fenugreek seed daily had significantly lower levels of cholesterol in the body after twenty-four weeks of consumption. Therefore, two ounces of fenugreek seeds throughout the day is recommended.
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Fenugreek seeds, when eaten, release mucilage, which creates a soothing effect on the digestive organs. This mucilage forms a protective coating on the stomach and intestine lining, reducing gastric inflammation. The high amounts of fibre in fenugreek may be useful to treat constipation and other digestive problems. The non-starch polysaccharides in fenugreek augment bowel movements and assist in smooth digestion. Add one teaspoon of fenugreek powder to yoghurt to cure diarrhoea. One teaspoon of Fenugreek powder in your food can be an effective remedy for acid reflux and heartburn.
4. Milk Production:
This herb contains phyto-estrogen, which boosts milk production in lactating mothers. Several researchers have concluded that fenugreek can increase milk production by over 500% within 72 hours! A recommended remedy to increase milk production is to consume one capsule of fenugreek seeds three times a day. You should stop taking the herb once you’ve achieved the desired level of milk production. Fenugreek tea is well known to stimulate uterine contraction, which helps to speed up and ease childbirth. However, pregnant women should use this remedy for only after consulting with their doctor.
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Fenugreek aids in the prevention and treatment of painful kidney stones. It reduces calcification in the kidney and flushes it out through urine.
Fenugreek seeds were used traditionally to reduce fever and relieve flu symptoms. Make a concoction by combining fenugreek seeds with honey and lemon. Or you can consume two teaspoons of fenugreek seeds three times a day along with herbal tea to nourish your body during an illness.
The oestrogen like properties of the fenugreek seed is very effective in treating the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, insomnia and anxiety. Add two teaspoons of fenugreek powder in one glass of water. You can also add sweetener if required as the herb has a bitter taste. Consume this concoction daily to get rid of the often overlooked menopausal symptoms symptoms. Or you can also drink fenugreek herbal tea thrice a day and get the same results.
Diosgenin, a compound found in fenugreek, is believed to have anti-carcinogenic properties, which may help to ward off cancer cells. The saponins present in fenugreek seeds inhibit bile salts re-absorption and toxins in the food to protect the colon mucous membranes from cancer.
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9. Improves Blood Circulation:
Fenugreek seeds are an amazing liver detoxifier. They purify the blood and prevent clotting of blood. It also benefits people suffering from hypertension.
The antioxidants in fenugreek act as a scavenger to destroy the free radicals found in the body.
11. Weight Loss:
Fenugreek supports glucose and carbohydrate metabolism to aid weight loss. Soak fenugreek seeds in water and consume it every morning in an empty stomach to burn excess fat in the body. The seeds are rich in fibre which swells in the body thereby, making a person feel full. Take this remedy 30 minutes before every meal to avoid overeating.
12. Heart Health:
Fenugreek seeds contain glalactomannan which lowers the risk of heart attack and other heart related diseases. Potassium in fenugreek counters the action of sodium to control heart rate and blood pressure.
13. Respiratory Problems:
Fenugreek disperses mucus from the respiratory tract to cure bronchitis. It also benefits people suffering from chronic sinusitis by clearing the sinuses. A gargle prepared from fenugreek seeds can be very helpful in treating sore throats. Soak two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in one litre of water and simmer on low heat. Leave it aside to let it cool and gargle with the water several times a day to get rid of a sore throat.
Fenugreek: Skin Benefits
Fenugreek has been used for centuries to treat skin problems. Some of the benefits of fenugreek for skin include:
14. Topical Treatment:
Fenugreek is a very effective topical treatment for skin conditions like abscesses, boils, burns, gout and eczema. The antibacterial and anti-fungal properties of fenugreek draw out the toxins from the epidermis to reduce swelling and inflammation of the skin. When used in a face pack, fenugreek saps excess oil from the skin to prevent acne. Grind fenugreek seeds finely and mix it with water to make a thick paste. Dip a cotton ball into the paste and apply it to the pimple prone area. Let it stay for two hours and wash it off with cold water. Use this remedy every alternate day to get a pimple free skin.
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15. Anti-Ageing Remedy:
Fenugreek is a natural anti-ageing remedy. It combats the free radicals in the body; repairs damaged skin cells and regenerate the new ones effectively. This delays the signs of ageing like wrinkles, age spots, fine lines and blemishes. Take two teaspoon of fenugreek paste and add a teaspoon of boiled milk to it. Then add a teaspoon of honey and mix well to form a smooth paste. Apply it on the face and leave it for 20 minutes. Use this remedy twice a week to tone the facial skin.
16. Exfoliates Skin:
You can use fenugreek to prepare an effective skin exfoliate. Make a face pack using fenugreek paste, curd, gram flour and fenugreek water. Apply on the face and leave it for 15 minutes. Splash your face with water and scrub in a circular motion. Rinse it off with cold water and pat dry. This scrub will help to exfoliate the skin and remove the dead skin cells to make it healthy and shiny.
17. Lightens Skin:
Mix fenugreek paste with milk and apply it on the skin. This paste will improve the complexion and will minimize the appearance of fine lines. You can also use this paste on the under eye area to eliminate dark circles. Apply it on the under eye area and wash it off after 15 minutes.
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18. Prevents Sun Damage:
Consumption of fenugreek protects the skin against harmful skin radiation and sun damage.
19. Treats Pimples And Blackheads:
Add ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder to 1 teaspoon of fenugreek powder and mix it with milk. Apply it on the pimples and blackhead prone areas and let it stay for 15 minutes. Wash it off with lukewarm water and pat dry.
20. Tones And Cleanses Skin:
Add a handful of fenugreek seeds into four cups of water and simmer for fifteen minutes. Strain the water and let it cool. Use this water for washing your face twice a day. Regular usage of this toner will nourish and cleanse the skin. Thus, fenugreek seeds benefits to make skin healthy from within.
21. Treats Blemishes:
To banish skin blemishes, grind one teaspoon of fenugreek into powder and mix it with warm water. Soak a cloth or cotton in this solution and apply it on your face. Wash it off after 15 minutes. Apply it twice a day to reduce blemishes and get a clear and flawless skin.
Fenugreek: Hair Benefits
The use of fenugreek for hair is a popular practice in many cultures around the world. It is used as a beauty treatment for re-growing hair and fighting dandruff. It contains hormone precursor like protein and nicotinic acid that reduces hair thinning and balding. A large number of hair care companies use fenugreek for its two significant benefits- for locking moisture to make the hair strands more flexible and for blocking out humidity to make it fuller and curlier. Fenugreek benefits for hair include:
22. Treats Hair Fall:
Fenugreek is a natural treatment for hair fall issues. It curbs scalp diseases related to hair follicles to make the hair strands strong from the roots. Mix coconut oil with methi paste and apply it on the scalp and hair. Leave it for one hour and wash it off properly so that the paste does not get stuck in the hair. This will control your hair fall to a great extent.
23. Treats Dandruff:
Dandruff is an inflammation that causes flaking skin, irritation and redness of the scalp. Fenugreek is one of the most effective solutions for treating dandruff. The oils in fenugreek seeds contain numerous skin enriching ingredients which nourish the scalp. Paste of fenugreek seeds when applied on the scalp reduces dandruff and itchy scalp. You can also add neem paste to this hair mask to cure scalp psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. Apply it on the scalp and wash it off after 30 minutes.
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24. Reverses Baldness:
One of the most popular uses of fenugreek for the hair is to reverse baldness. Fenugreek contains hormone antecedents that enhance the hair growth and help in strengthening and rebuilding hair follicles. Mix powdered fenugreek with coconut oil and massage it to the scalp twice a week to notice new hair growth.
25. Conditions Hair:
This spice contains an emulsifying compound called lecithin which conditions our hair and makes it shiny and lustrous. The seeds, when crushed create mucilage, a greasy substance that makes the hair soft and silky. This quality makes fenugreek a valuable addition to natural leave-in and rinse out conditioner. Using fenugreek alone or in conjunction with any hair product can do the trick.
26. Repairs Damaged Hair:
Rinse your hair with fenugreek soaked water to get smooth and manageable hair. Its natural moisturizing and conditioning properties nourishes the hair follicles to repair damaged hair.
27. Prevents Premature Greying:
Fenugreek can also help you to prevent premature greying of the hair. Boil a handful of fenugreek seeds with coconut oil and give your hair a hot oil massage with it. Leave it overnight and wash it off the next morning. This will prevent the premature greying of the hair.
28. Controls Hair Fall:
Soak fenugreek leaves in water for three hours and make a smooth paste out of it. Mix some coconut milk with this paste and apply it on the scalp leaving the hair strands. This will preserve the natural colour of the hair and will control hair fall. Use this treatment twice a week to get effective results.
These tiny seeds contain potassium, copper, calcium, selenium, zinc, manganese, magnesium and niacin. It is rich in amino acids like lysine, L-tryptophan, alkaloids and a host of steroidal saponins like yamogenin, tigogenin, neotigogenin and diosgenin. It is also rich in many vital vitamins that are required for optimum health, including thiamine, pyridoxine, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin A and C. It provides 56 calories per 100 grams of its intake.
- Fenugreek is considered safe for consumption when used moderately, but there can be some minor-side effects. Nausea is a common side effect associated with fenugreek consumption while other people have reported gastrointestinal discomfort like gastritis and diarrhoea.
- It may cause some side effects when consumed orally like bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea. It can also cause a mild skin irritation if applied topically. People suffering from anaemia should avoid consuming fenugreek as it may interfere with iron absorption. It can also cause thyroid imbalance, so avoid taking fenugreek if you suffer from a thyroid problem.
- Fenugreek contains mucilaginous fibre which has the potential to interfere with the absorption of oral medication. If you’re taking any medication, then consume this herb at least two hours before or after these medicines. Always consult your physician before taking any fenugreek supplement. Additionally, children under the age of two should not be given fenugreek in any form.
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