Fenugreek is generally known to be a flavor adding agent in food. Both fenugreek leaves and seeds find their application in different cuisines but fenugreek also have its place in traditional herbal medicines as a therapeutic herb and is known to be used to treat various health conditions.
The yellowish green rectangular seeds produced by fenugreek plant are claimed to be herbal remedies for a number of diseases since ancient times. Fenugreek seeds are used as herbal remedies for treating conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood sugar, dyspepsia, diabetes, constipation, fever, scant breast milk production, breast cancer etc.
Each 100 grams of fenugreek seeds contain 23 grams protein, 8 grams of fat and 9 grams of fiber. Fenugreek seeds also contain small amounts of vitamins such as vitamin A, B-6, B-9 or Folate, B-3 or Niacin, B-2 or Riboflavin and vitamin B-1 or Thiamin. The seeds also contain alkaloids, flavonoids and saponins, thus enriching them with nutrients.
Benefits of Fenugreek
Though this sector requires more research, preliminary cultivations have shown fenugreek seed to be useful to lower blood glucose levels in diabetics. Diabetes is of two types, type-1 and type-2. In type-1 diabetes, the body cannot produce enough insulin to process glucose in the body. In type-2 diabetes, the body is capable of producing enough insulin but incapable of using it. Fenugreek seeds can be helpful for both the types of diabetes.
Fenugreek seeds help to lower blood glucose level by promoting carbohydrate digestion and absorption from consumed food. Though more research is required, it is believed that fenugreek contains a chemical that may enhance the production of insulin in the body and which can also control glucose in blood. Small researches and tests have confirmed that fenugreek can be useful in both the types of diabetes.
Polyphenols present in fenugreek seeds can help keep up the liver health and can protect the liver from various changes that might occur due to alcohol consumption.
Fenugreek contains some anti-inflammatory properties that have been found during tests in the laboratories. Fenugreek has been found to inhibit inflammatory compound called cytokines which is also responsible for joint inflammation in arthritis. Hence, fenugreek may be useful to reduce swelling of joints in arthritis. Also fenugreek contains anti-oxidants which can neutralize free radicals that are also responsible for damaging the joints.
Fenugreek seed contains mucilage between 25 to 45 percent. And hence it is believed that fenugreek can have a soothing effect to irritated mucous membrane. Though not clinically proven, but certain tests carried out in laboratorial settings have come up with the fact that fenugreek has certain compounds that enable the herb to act as a defense against certain pathogens. It can also be used as a soothing agent for nasal passage soreness.
Fenugreek is said to promote digestion and is also used to treat loss of appetite. It is also claimed to reduce other gastrointestinal problems.
Fenugreek can be useful for this condition known as lipodystrophy, a condition that affects the distribution of fat. This medical condition can be of two types, lipohypertrophy and lipoatrophy. The building up of visceral fat around the body and especially around the abdomen is the condition known as lipohypertrophy.
On the other hand lipoatrophy is a condition that results in an abnormal decrease in visceral fat. Since lipodystrophy is concerned with insulin resistance and since fenugreek is believed to help with insulin resistance, it is hence claimed that fenugreek may be helpful in the medical condition of lipodystrophy.
Since ancient times fenugreek has been a popular herbal remedy for acne. Its antiseptic, soothing and anti-inflammatory properties help heal and cure acne. Applying the solution formed by soaking grinded fenugreek seeds in warm water can effectively reduce acne and skin blemishes.
Benefits of Fenugreek for Women
Fenugreek ingestion can promote natural breast augmentation. Fenugreek has the ability to slow down the breakdown of estrogen and hence can effectively increase your
Since ancient ages fenugreek is taken by mothers to increase lactation. Mothers who cannot supply enough breast milk for their infants can consume fenugreek in order to increase supply. Fenugreek has been classified as a galactogogue that increases the production of milk and sweat by stimulating the milk and sweat glands.
Fenugreek is also known to have the remedial property to induce labor and hence can stimulate uterine contractions.
In some researches fenugreek extract has shown to contain medicinal properties that can form a preventive action against cancer cells in breast. But more study and research is required in this sphere though the previously conducted researches have shown promising results.
Forms of Fenugreek available
Fenugreek is available in the form of seeds, leaves, tea, powder and dietary supplements in the form of capsules.
Dosage of fenugreek depends on various factors like age, weight, health conditions and the purpose of consumption. Your doctor will be able to determine the exact amount of consumption appropriate for you according to your needs. In most cases the doctor may give you personalized dosage recommendations depending on the above mentioned factors.
The recommended daily dose may vary from 5 to 30 grams fenugreek seed powder thrice daily. If taken for lowering blood cholesterol levels, then the daily dose may vary between 25 to 50 grams. Fenugreek can also be taken as tincture in a 3 to 4 ml dose each day for three times.
If taking fenugreek for increasing lactation, then daily intake should be around 3500 mg. If consuming fenugreek in the form of capsule for the same purpose, then 500 mg capsule may have to be taken up to 7 times a day. Within 24 to 72 hours depending and varying from person to person, increase in milk supply can be noticed. Fenugreek tea can be consumed two to three times a day.
Risks and Side Effects
After consuming fenugreek, there may be mild to moderate side effects. Urine and sweat may start smelling like sort of maple syrup. Bloating, gas, stomach irritation, diarrhea, abdominal cramps etc. can be common side effects. Skin irritations following swelling, hives can occur. Dizziness, vomiting, shortness of breath, weakness may also occur.
Fenugreek used to increase lactation may have adverse effects on infants through breastfeeding in the form of stomach upsets. Also pregnant women should be careful about using fenugreek since it can cause early contractions.
If you are taking any prescribed medications, always ask your doctor before using fenugreek. Fenugreek treatment should not be combined with other medicines. The various health benefits of fenugreek herb are still being cultivated and researched on. Hence, before using any fenugreek product, consult with your doctor.
Photo Credit: Reviews.in.88db.com