Trigonella foenum-graecum – Semen (Fabaceae)
Common name: Fenugreek (E), Methi (H)
Fenugreek is a very warming seed that benefits kapha and vata. It is used to treat constipation, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. Its smell is very pungent, and it is a nourishing seed.
Fenugreek is part of the fabaceae, or legume, family. Fenugreek grows wild as a small leafy shrub but is now cultivated as an annual crop in modern agriculture where both the seeds and leaves are used for culinary purposes. It is a traditional herb and spice from India which is where the majority of crop is now produced. It has a distinctive sweet smell and the leaves, seeds and roots of the plant are used in both medicinal and culinary practices.
How it Works
The constituents known as trigonelline and coumarin have a direct action upon balancing blood sugars but also in helping to clear congested fatty deposits, such as cholesterol, from the blood vessels. Fenugreek also produces a mucilage that coats and soothes an irritated mucosal lining, making this herb excellent at supporting a characteristically irritated or dry digestive system.
Fenugreek contains a saponin containing phyto-oestrogen precursor which has given this herb an affinity for the female reproductive system. Specifically, it encourages breast milk production and acts as a generalised tonic for the female reproductive system and has a balancing effect on female sex hormones.
Into the Heart of Fenugreek
Fenugreek is wonderfully pungent, bitter and warming, clearing stagnation and congestion throughout the body.
Fenugreek is able to improve metabolism of fatty deposits such as cholesterol, support a balanced blood sugar and also produce a soothing mucilage that protects the linings of the digestive tract.
Specific constituents within this plant produce a phyto-oestrogenic effect that impacts upon the female reproductive system, making fenugreek incredibly balancing and strengthening for female health and vitality.
Diabetes: Fenugreek nourishes and strengthens the functioning of the pancreas, and is indicated in both type 1 and 2 diabetes, where it balances the blood sugar.
Cholesterol: Fenugreek will improve the body’s ability to metabolise fat and specifically reduce levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein) fats and cholesterol.
GIT: Fenugreek is an invaluable remedy indicated in sluggish and gaseous digestion. It can benefit diarrhoea and inflammation in the intestines. Its high mucilage content acts as a soothing demulcent that can heal ulcers and also increase the bulk of the stool in addition to being a useful mild laxative. Its bitter quality helps the liver function and improves assimilation of nutrients.
Gynaecology: Fenugreek seed has a particular affinity for the uterus and female reproductive system as a whole. Its saponin containing phyto-oestrogen precursor, diosgenin, plays an important role in female health. It is taken post partum to encourage bowel movements and clean the uterus. Its nourishing effect also helps to encourage a healthy flow of breast milk. If there is dysmenorrhoea its warming effect and stagnation reducing properties are also beneficial.
Reproduction: Fenugreek’s nourishing, unctuous but also heating energies indicate its use in formulas to treat impotence, premature ejaculation and low libido.
Pain: Fenugreek is a particularly strengthening herb for the body and has proven to be particularly settling for characteristically swollen and painful joint conditions such as lower back problems, sciatica and arthritis.
- External: Due to the demulcent nature of this herb, Fenugreek can be applied as an external poultice for drawing infections, boils, splinters and arthritic swelling from the body.