Fenugreek is an annual plant native to the Middle and Near East. Evidence points to the fact the Ancient Egyptians understood the benefits of Fenugreek. The seeds of the plant were discovered in the tombs of the Pharaohs, particularly Tutankhamun. In many places in the world it goes by the name ‘methi’.
It is a member of the bean family, scientific name ‘Fabaceae’. The combination of nutrients, vitamins and minerals create the health benefits of this powerful plant.
The bulk of the current cultivation, and consumption occurs on the sub-continent – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Fenugreek is used in three different manners:
- The leaf is used as fresh herbs or dried
- The seeds are ground into a spice
- The plant itself is often used as a vegetable in sprout form
The Health benefits are attributed to the presence of compounds, known as saponins and the fibre the plant contains. Fenugreek contains a substance called mucilage. When hydrated (mixed) with water, mucilage expands and becomes gelatinous. This is then used as a salve for various forms of skin and tissue irritation.
Fenugreek contains a wide variety of beneficial nutrients. Elements Iron, Magnesium, Manganese and Copper are all present. It contains significant vitamin B6, protein and dietary fibre. Fenugreek has also been found to contain a number of powerful phytonutrients. These include choline, trigonelline, yamogenin, gitogenine, diosgenin, tigogenin and neogogens.
Health Benefits of Fenugreek
Fenugreek has been found to assist in alleviating the symptoms of Type II Diabetes. Studies done by Indian researchers demonstrated that by adding Fenugreek to Diabetic Type I patients’ diets, it assisted in lowering urinary sugar levels by up to 54%.
A substance in Fenugreek called galactomannon, a fibre, slows down sugar absorption into the blood stream. As well the amino acid 4-hydroxyisoleucine present in Fenugreek induces the production of Insulin. 15-20g of Fenugreek is the recommended intake daily to control blood sugar.
This type of treatment induces the body to release Insulin slowly as opposed to plunge and peaks experienced using conventional medicine only.
Fenugreek has been proven to assist in the reduction of Cholesterol. It helps reduce low density Lipoprotein (LDL) which in turn assists in preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes. The fibre content is active in removing cholesterol deposits present in the arteries and blood vessels of the body.
Menstrual and Menopausal Relief
Fenugreek provides relief from Menstrual discomfort. It is an emmengogue which means it assists normal menses process. It is also known to ease the symptoms of menopause. It contains diosgenin and estrogenic isoflavones. These are similar to Estrogen. Estrogen reduction actually causes Menopause symptoms, and so by ingesting Fenugreek, the body gains some relief from the symptoms of Menopause such as mood swings, depression, cramps and abnormal hunger pangs.
Beneficial for Lactating Mothers
It is also good for nursing and breastfeeding mothers. Ayurvedic physicians prescribe Fenugreek to nursing mothers. Again it is the Diosgenin present that creates the benefit. It is said to increase the quantity of breast milk produced with magnesium and vitamin content of Fenugreek also assisting in the health of the breastfed infant.
Relieve Sore Throat
Fenugreek provides relief for sore throats. The soothing mucilage works well.
It is also said to relieve constipation via its fibre content. And it is useful in treating minor indigestion.
Fenugreek is also often used by traditional practitioners of Chinese Medicine for a variety of Kidney conditions.
Fenugreek is a brilliant plant. Pure Cinnamon takes pride in adding this marvellous plant to its list of products. The Fenugreek range will be added this year, complimenting our Cinnamon and Turmeric products.