Natural Therapies News
Fenugreek Uses and Benefits - 12 Health Benefits of Fenugreek
Fenugreek is an Indian herb ('Methi' in Hindi) and popular spice that is widely used for cooking but it can be used for medicinal purposes as well.
The plant is a small annual leguminous herb belonging to the family of fabaceae that is commonly found growing in the Mediterranean region of the world.
It is also known as Greek hay, fenugreek, bird's foot and Greek clover. Its scientific name is Trigonella foenum-graecum.
Fenugreek is a very good remedy traditionally used to cure a wide range of disease. Let's see 12 healing benefits from this herb:
Fenugreek therapeutic indications – 12 major healing benefits
1. BAD CHOLESTEROL
Scientific research suggests the use of fenugreek for bad cholesterol lowering. Animal studies showed that a supplement of fenugreek seeds is able to dissolve cholesterol gallstones in mice on a normal diet. Clinical studies have revealed that fenugreek reduces elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels in human blood.
A supplement may lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), VLDL cholesterol with no change in HDL levels (good cholesterol).
Many experts believe that the high amount of steroid saponins and galactomannan fiber contained in this healing herb induces hypocholesterolemia in both animals and humans.
Fenugreek seeds help lower level of glucose in the blood on type1 and type2 diabetes mellitus patients.
The hypoglycemic effect is explained by the presence of several compounds in the seeds. The secretion of insulin from the pancreas is stimulated by an amino acid (4-hydroxyisoleucine). Substances such as gentianine, trigonelline, and carpaine are alkaloids found in seeds which produce a significant antidiabetic activity.
Another natural substance called fenugreekine inhibits glucose transport and slows down food transit time. The slower the food is digested, the longer it takes for the sugar to enter the blood stream.
Fortunately, this medicinal herb doesn't reduce sugar levels in healthy people who want to use it for its other curing properties!
3. BREAST MILK PRODUCTION
Fenugreek is a very good galactogogue that is able to increase volume of breast milk in women who aren't producing enough milk! A steroid compound called diosgenin found in the plant is chemically similar to the female sex hormone estrogen and works as a growth stimulator for mammary glands within 24 to 72 hours after first taking the herb.
4. LOSS OF APPETITE AND STOMACH COMPLAITS
Fenugreek seeds have been used for loss of appetite, anorexia, dyspepsia (upset stomach or indigestion), gastritis, colic flatulence, diarrhea and chronic dysentery. Fenugreek tea or supplement promotes the appetite thanks to its bitter constituents.
Fenugreek adds bulk to the stool, gives a good motion and acts as a gentle bulk laxative. So, it is helpful in treating constipation.
Studies suggest a potential protective effect of fenugreek seeds against some types of cancer. Some natural compounds contained in this potent healing herb are able to neutralize chemicals that cause breast cancer and prostate cancer. Saponins inhibit cancer cell proliferation and migration.
7. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Fenugreek is commonly reported to lower blood pressure. But to tell the truth, there is no evidence that this herb has hypotensive properties.
According to some reports, this natural remedy may raise blood pressure. In fact, fenugreek herbal supplements reduce potassium levels in the blood which can contribute to high blood pressure !
8. LIVER INTOXICATION
Fenugreek helps protect the liver against alcohol-induced damage, says S. Kaviarasan, lead author for a 2007 study published in "Cell Biology and Toxicology." Fenugreek seed polyphenols has been proven to increase levels of antioxidant enzymes in the liver. This therapeutic action not only protects but repairs liver damage.
9. MUSCLES AND FAT TISSUES
Fenugreek extract mimics the anabolic effects of testosterone and helps athletes build their strength. This medicinal plant promotes lean body mass and reduces fat tissue.
10. RESPIRATION PROBLEMS
Fenugreek is traditionally used to soothe respiratory complaints. It is thought that it can help reduce bronchial congestion by decreasing mucus production.
Many people around the world use this natural remedy to treat coughs, bronchitis, and sinus problems for this very reason.
However, inhalation of the powder can cause asthma and allergic symptoms. Some mothers have reported that it worsened their asthma symptoms.
First, as we have mentioned before, fenugreek has an anabolic effect that helps reduce fat intake in overweight people.
Second, by reducing the sugar absorption in the stomach, it may be useful as a way to lose weight.
There are a lot of testimonies that say that fenugreek tea help to lose weight. Some reports have said that fenugreek tea can help an overweight person to lose 3 or 4 pounds in just 2 weeks.
12. SKIN WOUNDS AND INFECTIONS
Used topically, the seeds of fenugreek are very beneficial in the treatment of skin problems such as inflammation, redness, boils, abscesses, acne, dandruff, eczema, wounds, sunburns, wrinkles and gout. Thanks to its nourishing and hydrating properties, seeds oil helps against cracked skin.
Where to get fenugreek ?
Fenugreek seed capsules, seed powder, sprouts, tinctures and teas can be purchased in many health food stores and online.
Fenugreek Side Effects, Interaction and Precautions
Fenugreek appears to be safe at recommended dosages (8 grams per day).
However, high doses of more of 100 grams of seeds daily may cause intestinal distress (diarrhea, gas and upset stomach) and nausea. In addition, fenugreek can cause a maple syrup odor in urine and sweat.
General rule: Because fenugreek contains mucilage, it is not recommended to take it at the same time as other medications. Separate administration by an hour or two.
Anticoagulants: Medications that slow blood clotting (blood thinners and antiplatelet drugs) interacts with fenugreek
Diabetes medication: Taking fenugreek along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low.
Iron: Fenugreek can interfere with iron absorption so people who have anemia should avoid it.
Thyroid hormone: This medicinal plan can alter balances of various forms of thyroid hormones.
Asthma: The herb fenugreek has produced aggravated asthma disorders in some women
Children: Fenugreek might be unsafe for children
Pregnancy: This natural remedy has been used to aid and induce labor. When used in amounts greater than those in food, this herb can stimulate uterine contractions.
Consultation with a doctor or health care provider is advisable before using fenugreek
Author: Alexis Roger