Fenugreek has a long history of use both as a spice and as a medicinal ingredient. It belongs to the bean family Trigonella foenum-graecum. Fenugreek is an annual herb that is grown in a variety of places including Asia, Africa, India, and the United States. It blooms with white flowers in the summer and has very aromatic seeds. Fenugreek is rich in Vitamin A and D and also contains oil that resembles cod liver oil. Fenugreek is rich in minerals and is high in protein. It has Vitamins B1,B2,B3 and contains chlorine, lecithin and iron.
Reported Benefits of Fenugreek
Fenugreek’s principal use is to expel toxic wastes through lymphatic systems. Fenugreek seeds are a rich source of mucilage, which may help to prevent constipation and soothe inflamed mucous membranes by having the ability to soften and dissolve hardened masses of accumulated mucus. It relieves congestion, reduces inflammation and fights infection. It contains natural expectorant properties ideal for addressing sinus and lung congestion, and loosens & removes excess mucus and phlegm in the bronchial tubes. It also has antiseptic properties and kills infection in the lungs. Fenugreek contains lecithin which dissolves cholesterol and contains lipotropic (fat dissolving) substances, which dissolves deposits of fat, prevents fatty accumulates and water retention. The constituents in the seeds contain saponin closely related to those in Yucca.
The traditional medical uses for fenugreek vary greatly and include labor induction, respiratory support, lactation support, digestive support, menstrual cramp support, and menopausal symptom relief. It is also suggested that fenugreek may have possible hypoglycemic and anti-hyperlipidemic properties. Years of research on fenugreek have revealed many healing properties including: helping diabetes, lower cholesterol, enhance breast milk, helps increase libido, helps reduce the symptoms of PMS and menopause, it has been used for loss of appetite and anorexia, improves digestion, relieve diarrhea, treat halitosis, lower fever and also can be used as an emollient in poultices for boils, cysts and other complaints.
Research shows that one amazing benefit of fenugreek is that it is a natural breast enhancer. Fenugreek seeds contain compounds like diosgenin and other plant phyto-estrogens that have been researched to help naturally promote breast enhancement. Nursing mothers can take fenugreek to help with lactation. Fenugreek is considered and aphrodisiac has also been known to help increase libido in both men and women.
Research has been shown that fenugreek could be very beneficial for diabetes. Fenugreek may also increase the number of insulin receptors in red blood cells and improve glucose utilization in peripheral tissues, thus demonstrating potential anti-diabetes effects both in the pancreas and other sites. The amino acid 4- hydroxyisoleucine, contained in the seeds, may also directly stimulate insulin secretion.
Fenugreek is also rich in iron and aids in recovering from anemia. The seeds help restore the senses of taste and smell. The sense of taste becomes dull due to improper functioning of salivary glands which often becomes clogged with mucus and accumulated juices causing swelling. Similarly the sense of smell is obstructed due to prolonged accumulation of mucus and other impurities in the nose where the olfactory nerves (the special sensory nerve of smell) are based.
Making a tea with the seeds
Making a fenugreek tea and drinking regularly during the early stages of any respiratory tract infections such as Influenza, Bronchitis, Sinusitis, Catarrh and suspected Pneumonia may help the body fight off the infection before it has the chance to really come on. Fenugreek tea helps to perspire, dispel toxicity and shorten gestation period of fever. One can take up to four cups of Fenugreek tea a day. The quantity may be reduced as the condition improves. To improve flavor, a few drops of lemon juice and/or honey can be used. Fasting is also beneficial during this treatment as it aids the body to correct respiratory problems in a few days. You can use the seeds to make tea by allowing the seeds to soak in the water. When the seeds become moistened they become slightly mucilaginous and the tea made from this has the power to dissolve sticky substances like mucus. Tea made from Fenugreek seeds is equal in value to quinine in reducing fevers. Fenugreek tea has a soothing effect on inflamed stomach and intestines and cleans the stomach, bowels and kidneys. It aids in helping peptic ulcers by providing coating of mucilaginous matter.
Another benefit of drinking the tea is that it is great for bad breath and body odor. The reason is because unpleasant odors emanate from the body due to accumulations of hardened mucus and other toxins in the nasal and oral passages, the gastrointestinal tract, the urinary tract, the blood and vagina. Regularly drinking fenugreek tea will aid in removing these accumulations of toxins and clean out your system in areas were soap and mouthwash can’t penetrate, cleansing your body on the inside. Fenugreek is an amazing spice and medicinal tool that can help you clean and detox your system. Regularly taking fenugreek supplements can help your body stay healthy and free from build-ups in the lymphatic system.
A gargle can be made from the seeds as well and used to treat mouth ulcers and sore throats. The solution made for gargling should be stronger than tea. Two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds are put in a liter of water and allowed to simmer for half and hour over a low flame. After that, allow it to cool to about room temperature and strained. The liquid leftover is used as a gargle. Fenugreek has also been used as a tool to help fight dandruff. Two tablespoons of seeds can be soaked overnight in water. In the morning, the softened seeds can be ground to a fine paste and applied on scalp and left on for half and hour and then wash the hair as normal.