Like so many culinary spices, fenugreek herb can be used to flavor foods, treat many minor skin and medical conditions and contains properties that are beneficial to overall health. Trigonella foenum-graecum, Fenugreek is a member of the legume family which includes beans and lentils plus each tablespoon of fenugreek contains three grams of fiber and two and a half grams of protein.
Eating healthier foods is an easy way to achieve better health and adding fenugreek herb to your diet will add more than just protein and fiber as each tablespoon also contains large quantities of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and Vitamin A plus trace amounts of Vitamin C, iron, thiamin, niacin and Vitamin B6. Eating a balanced diet full of foods, herbs and spices especially those with antioxidant properties like fenugreek help to fight many common ailments and conditions including high cholesterol, controlling blood sugar levels, stool softening and arthritis.
Choosing fenugreek herb as a staple in the herbal medicinal chest provides relief from mild cases of gastrointestinal cramping and the menstrual discomfort.
- Fenugreek affects the thyroid gland and people with thyroid disease or complications should avoid using this herb.
- Nursing mothers have reported that drinking fenugreek tea helps improve milk production and this affect has been noted by livestock owners who add fenugreek to animal feed to improve the taste of certain types of fodder.
- Diosgenin is a chemical found in the seeds of fenugreek that is a plant based form of estrogen and stimulates tissue growth in breast tissues.
Fenugreek has many external uses including:
- As an additive for muscle rubs to relieve aching or overworked muscles
- Applied as a poultice for abscesses, boils, skin ulcers and weeping wounds
- Infusion of fenugreek can be used as a douche to control excess discharge from the vaginal area
- Poultice to help relieve the discomfort and pain of mastitis
- Wound cleaning
- Swollen joints due to injury or arthritis
- Oil of fenugreek added to unscented cream or natural oil for treating mild to moderate eczema
- Fenugreek cream and or infusions of the seed for burn care and treatment
Tonics were once commonly used to help keep people healthy and many tonics were created for use in the spring and fall to help rid the body of toxins, improve appetite and enhance appetite. Many of these tonics included fenugreek which helped the pancreas work more efficiently and assisted the liver in removing toxins from the blood stream. Fresh fenugreek is more commonly used in tonics but infusions of the dried seed can also be used, since choosing herbs that target specific systems allows you to create your own personal tonics.
Taken in doses no larger than those that would be used for seasoning food fenugreek is considered a safe herb to use. However, studies have shown that ingesting more than a third of a cup of fenugreek herb in a 24-hour period causes nausea and diarrhea.
Experts recommend that fenugreek should be taken internally two hours after eating and those with plant allergies, asthma, diabetes, thyroid conditions, pregnant or nursing mothers should consult their physician prior to using fenugreek medicinally. The most common dosage is 1/4 teaspoon of fenugreek taken three times a day for medical conditions however those with diabetes are cautioned about using this herb more than twice daily.
Choosing a natural alternative for minor health conditions including fenugreek herb allows individuals to use naturally occurring substances instead of synthetic compounds.