Fenugreek

Fenugreek
4 minutes reading time

What is Fenugreek?

Fenugreek is an herb with a variety of health benefits. Fenugreek is grown in India and the Mediterranean region. Fenugreek is considered a superfood and there are many benefits to eating Fenugreek.
Sometimes referred to as methi, which is the Hindi term for Fenugreek, this herb has been used in India and other regions for centuries. Its common uses include aiding digestion and stimulating milk production in breastfeeding mothers. Fenugreek has been used in both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda for centuries as a way of treating many health problems. In the kitchen, Fenugreek seeds are most commonly used in cooking, but Fenugreek leaves may also be used in salads or as a garnish. Fenugreek is actually related to peanuts, and is known by the scientific name, trigonella foenum-graecum.

History of Fenugreek

Fenugreek has been used in India for thousands of years. It was first cultivated by the Egyptians, but its use spread throughout Europe and Asia. Fenugreek is one of the most popular spices in Indian cooking, where it is referred to as “methi.” Fenugreek is also a common ingredient for curry, and Fenugreek powder is a key element of the mixture that makes up garam masala. Fenugreek was mentioned as a medicinal herb by Charaka and Sushruta, two great physicians from India who lived nearly 2,000 years ago. Fenugreek was used in ancient Greece to make bread, and it has been grown in France since the 13th century.

What is Fenugreek Good For?

Fenugreek has been shown to have many health benefits, including reducing blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, helping to prevent tooth decay, and even lowering bad cholesterol. Fenugreek has also been shown to lower blood pressure and is commonly used to treat digestive problems such as gas and bloating. Fenugreek seeds have also been used for centuries by women to promote lactation following childbirth, and is sometimes used to induce labor when a woman’s pregnancy goes beyond the 40th week. Fenugreek contains some plant estrogens (phytoestrogens) called diosgenin that may help prevent osteoporosis and hot flashes during menopause, and reduce some cancer risks. Fenugreek is even thought to improve brain function.
Fenugreek has anti-inflammatory properties which can be useful for treating arthritis and ulcerative colitis, and antioxidant properties that can reduce your risk of some cancers. Fenugreek seeds are sometimes roasted and then brewed to make Fenugreek seed “tea” or coffee. A popular way to consume fenugreek seeds, boiling the seeds into a hot beverage also makes them less bitter.
Fenugreek is also used in pesticide free pesticide alternatives for pest control, and can be used as animal feed, but it is most commonly used as a food additive.
Fenugreek Herb
Fenugreek Herb
Fenugreek Herb

Fenugreek Benefits

Fenugreek leaves have significant amounts of protein, iron, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium, making them healthy additions to many South Asian recipes. Fenugreek greens are often used as garnish, and Fenugreek leaves can also be found in stews and soups. Fenugreek seeds may be roasted and added to many foods, including baked beans. Fenugreek leaves have a somewhat bitter taste similar to spinach or chard, but Fenugreek sprouts have a flavor more like radishes with a spicy kick.
Fenugreek has been shown to improve digestion by increasing stomach acid, bile release from the gall bladder, and saliva production which helps break down food during chewing. Fenugreek is thought to promote healthy skin by fighting bacterial infections that cause rashes and acne, and is sometimes applied directly to the skin as a redness reliever. This hardworking herb can also relieve sore muscles with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Fenugreek Benefits for Women

Fenugreek leaves have significant amounts of protein, iron, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium, making them healthy additions to many South Asian recipes. Fenugreek greens are often used as garnish, and Fenugreek leaves can also be found in stews and soups. Fenugreek seeds may be roasted and added to many foods, including baked beans. Fenugreek leaves have a somewhat bitter taste similar to spinach or chard, but Fenugreek sprouts have a flavor more like radishes with a spicy kick.
Fenugreek contains chemicals very similar to those found in estrogen, which can help relieve hot flashes during menopause. In traditional Chinese medicine, this herb is commonly prescribed to relieve menopausal symptoms in women, specifically vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and cold sweats.

Fenugreek for Breastfeeding

Fenugreek is considered a galactagogue, a food that promotes the flow of a mother’s milk, which works by increasing the prolactin levels of a breastfeeding mother. Fenugreek has been used for centuries to help moms produce enough milk to feed their hungry babies, and modern grocery store shelves now commonly have some variation of “Mother’s Milk” tea that includes this herb. Fenugreek can also be taken in capsule form, which has been reported to work quickly at increasing milk production, a massive relief to a mom trying to boost her milk supply for a new baby.
Importantly, several recent scientific studies have confirmed the ability of Fenugreek to significantly increase the amount of milk a breastfeeding mom can produce, so if you are looking for a sure-fire way to increase your milk output, this herb is definitely something you should try.

Fenugreek Benefits for Men

Men looking for a way to naturally boost their testosterone levels and increase libido have also turned to this powerful medicinal herb. Not only does Fenugreek help to increase testosterone levels, at least one study has shown that it also improves strength and body-fat content in healthy men. Though scientists aren’t sure why Fenugreek helps in this way, it may be due to the chemical protodioscin, which can also improve sperm count, energy, and libido. In addition, Fenugreek blocks the enzymes that produce DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), which causes baldness and prostate problems.

Does Fenugreek Make You More Fertile?

Fenugreek has improved male fertility in several studies, most notably by increasing sperm count. Fenugreek also contributes to increases in testosterone, which while not directly contributing to increased fertility, can promote healthy libido and sexual functioning. Fenugreek seeds or tea is often consumed as an aphrodisiac because it stimulates sexual desire and testosterone production for men and women alike.

Fenugreek Benefits for Hair

Nutritionally, Fenugreek seeds are rich in iron, potassium, folic acid, calcium, and a handful of essential vitamins and protein, all nutrients vital for hair growth. This points to Fenugreek being a beneficial supplement to add to your diet if you’re trying to grow long, healthy hair. Fenugreek’s antifungal and anti-inflammatory effects can also help hair growth through topical application, such as massaging the scalp with fenugreek powder or a fenugreek mask before continuing with your normal hair washing regimen. Fenugreek has also been shown to add moisture to very dry hair, and relieve symptoms of dandruff.

Fenugreek for Hair Growth

The same properties Fenugreek uses to prevent hair fall can be used as a natural remedy for hair loss. Fenugreek contains a compound called saponins, which have been shown to inhibit testosterone 5α-reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Fenugreek can also reduce inflammation of hair follicles that may hinder blood flow and prevent nutrients from reaching your roots.

Fenugreek for Weight Loss

Fenugreek seeds are high in fiber, which is essential for any weight loss diet because fiber helps control appetite and promote feelings of fullness. Fenugreek may also increase the body’s metabolic rate, increasing the speed with which your body burns your fast stores. Fenugreek’s ability to lower insulin levels also increases the breakdown of lipids in the liver, helping to prevent fat storage in the first place and increase weight loss. Fenugreek can also help control blood sugar levels by slowing the rate at which food moves from your stomach to your intestines. Fenugreek can also increase the amount of digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas, speeding up food processing and increasing nutrient absorption. Fenugreek has been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels in studies done on rabbits, who saw a significant drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol after taking Fenugreek daily for 30 days.

Fenugreek Skin Benefits

Fenugreek is a common treatment for flaky and scaly skin, and Fenugreek masks have been used as a natural treatment for eczema. Fenugreek contains lauric acid, which has antibacterial properties that can prevent infection from forming in septic wounds. Fenugreek also acts as both an antioxidant and an astringent, promoting healthy skin by removing bacteria and excess oil.
Fenugreek’s high vitamin A levels reduce inflammation in the skin, while its anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness and irritation caused by acne. Fenugreek can help treat skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, dermatosis, allergic dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis. Fenugreek can also be used to kill head lice, by mixing Fenugreek with vinegar and massaging into the scalp before washing clean.