Fenugreek is one of the oldest known medicinal plants and its use dates back to the ancient Egyptians. It originates from southe east Europe and western Asia, but grows in many hot climates round the world. The seeds are used in herbal medicine.
A wide range of uses were found for fenugreek in ancient times. Medicinally it was used for the treatment of wounds, abscesses, arthritis, bronchitis, and digestive problems. Traditional Chinese herbalists used it for kidney problems and conditions affecting the male reproductive tract. Fenugreek remains a food and a spice commonly eaten in many parts of the world.
What it does
The seeds of this plant contain a variety of compounds including flavanoids, steroidal saponins, alkaloids and volatile oil as well as protein and soluble fibre. As one of the classic bitter herbs, fenugreek exerts a tonic effect on digestion increasing gastric secretions. Fenugreek also possesses a demulcent effect i.e. soothes irritated or inflamed mucous membranes. The steroidal saponins have regulating effects on cholesterol levels whilst the soluble fibre can help to lower blood sugar levels. It is soothing, anti-inflammatory and helps stimulate breast milk.
|Cholesterol||Bronchitis||Coughs and colds|
The herb can be crushed and made into a tea and take up to 3 times a day.
Do not take when pregnant.
Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using fenugreek, but taking over 100gm per day can produce nausea and digestive discomfort.
Do not take this herb if you are taking diabetic medication without first consulting your doctor.
At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with fenugreek.