While some medicinal plants benefit only one organ or system, this plant helps every part of the body at once. Known as adaptogens, they help us respond to stress and illness by restoring our biological ability to cope and adapt. One such plant is fenugreek (trigonella foenum-graecum).
Originally from Asia and southern Europe, fenugreek is a demulcent (from the Latin word demulcere, which means “to caress”). By loosening mucus, it soothes digestion, reduces gas, and minimizes allergic reactions. Seeds contain small amounts of l-tryptophan, which your body converts into serotonin for improved mood and sleep.
These are only examples of how fenugreek can help restore health and balance to your system. This article explores the full capabilities of the plant that helps every part of the body at once.
Fenugreek- an Overview
An annual herb, fenugreek has light green leaves and small white flowers. Its yellowish-brown seeds are flat and aromatic.
These seeds, which are usually dried and ground up, are the most commonly used part of the plant (although you can also use the leaves in cooking). They have a taste and aroma reminiscent of maple syrup and have been used for cooking and medicinal purposes for centuries. It’s also a key ingredient in popular spice blends, used in soaps and cosmetics, and added as a flavoring agent in foods and beverages.
Fenugreek was traditionally used to manage diabetes and increase milk supply in breastfeeding women in North Africa, Asia, and southern Europe. Today, it is promoted as a dietary supplement for diabetes, menstrual cramps, and other conditions as well as for stimulating milk production in nursing mothers.
Below is an overview of the many ways you may use fenugreek to address health issues and/or maintain overall balance.
Helps Improve Blood Sugar Levels
During one eight-week study, researchers found that ingestion of fenugreek seeds soaked in hot water could be a potential therapy for type 2 diabetes. Eleven out of 18 participants ate fenugreek seeds soaked in hot water, and seven ate the seeds mixed with yogurt. Blood glucose levels improved significantly in those eating the seeds soaked in hot water compared to those consuming the seeds mixed with yogurt, so consider adding pre-soaked seeds to salads, sandwiches, and stir-fries.
May Improve Cholesterol Levels
People with heart conditions, such as hardening of the arteries and high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, seem to benefit from using fenugreek, which also appears to have the potential to help diabetics with cholesterol issues.
One study found that 2.5 grams of fenugreek supplement administered twice daily for three months significantly lowered cholesterol and triglycerides, without affecting HDL cholesterol, in people with non-insulin-dependent diabetes, so incorporating fenugreek recipes into your diet can make a positive difference in cholesterol levels.
Can Improve Digestive Problems
Numerous digestive problems can be treated with fenugreek, including upset stomach, constipation, and inflammation of the stomach. Researchers have found that fenugreek is one of the foods that relieve constipation, due to its water-soluble fiber. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is often incorporated into ulcerative colitis diet plans, so incorporate fenugreek recipes into your diet whenever possible.
Related: Kill Hunger With This Herb
Reduces Inflammation in the Body
Excessive inflammation in the body can lead to health issues like mouth ulcers, arthritis, kidney ailments, bronchitis, and even cancer. Fenugreek seeds have anti-inflammatory properties that have been tested in rats and mice. Researchers studied the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of fenugreek mucilage on arthritic rats and confirmed its ability to fight inflammation, suggesting that this herb could be an effective natural arthritis treatment as well.
Can Help Treat Skin Conditions and Wounds
Fenugreek can also be used externally after it is warmed to reduce inflammation. You can make a poultice to treat wounds, muscle swelling, swollen lymph nodes, eczema, and sciatica by grinding one tbsp of fenugreek seeds into powder, mixing it with warm water, and applying it to a clean cloth. Put the cloth on the affected area and leave until cooled.
If you have dandruff, try soaking 2 tbsp. of fenugreek seeds overnight. In the morning, grind the seeds into a moist paste, apply it to the scalp, and wash off after half an hour.
May Support Milk Flow During Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding women with low milk supply may also benefit from fenugreek. As a galactagogue, it increases breast milk production by stimulating the milk ducts, with some women reporting increased milk flow in as little as 24 hours.
While all lactation issues should be investigated by a healthcare provider, the use of fenugreek for this condition has been referenced in some scientific journals. One ayurvedic recipe recommends soaking a tbsp of fenugreek seeds overnight in a cup of water and boiling the mixture for several minutes in the morning. Strain and drink every morning until you see results.
Can Boost Testosterone
Fenugreek can increase testosterone levels. Males need healthy levels of this hormone for a variety of bodily functions. In a study of 100 male participants aged 35 to 65, they addressed testosterone deficiency by taking a supplement containing fenugreek for 12 weeks. By the end of this period, serum testosterone levels and sperm counts increased, so men with lower testosterone levels should consider adding fenugreek supplements to their healthcare routine.
May Improve Acne
As a dietary supplement, fenugreek works within the digestive system to eliminate all of the toxins, including those that cause acne. To create a cleaning face mask, boil 1/4 cup of seeds for five minutes and then let them soak overnight. The next day, grind them into a paste and apply it to your face for 15 minutes before washing off. Repeat a few times a week.
May Relieve Pain
Fenugreek seeds have been used for centuries to relieve cramps and pain. Historically, fenugreek seed extracts were taken to reduce pain during childbirth and menstruation. The consumption of fenugreek seed tea during menstrual periods is still used to relieve cramps, nausea, and fatigue.
Minerals and nutrients present in the seeds are thought to be responsible for these properties. As well as promoting hemoglobin synthesis in the body, they provide energy, which regulates women’s overall health during menstruation. According to RXList, women with painful menstrual periods can take 1800-2700 mg of powdered seeds three times per day for the first three days, followed by 900 mg three times daily for the remainder. After two menstrual cycles, improvement is often noted.
A variety of health benefits are associated with fenugreek seeds. They are widely available, easy to prepare and can be consumed in several ways. Consequently, incorporating fenugreek seeds into your diet will have many positive effects on your health and, by extension, on your life.