In addition to fenugreek medicinal uses, the strangely shaped seeds can also be used in the kitchen. It is most commonly associated with the treatment of digestive symptomsand disorders and diabetes.
Fenugreek originated from Asia and Europe, but has since been transplanted to other countries. India and Egypt adopted it into their herbal traditions and frequently use it for a variety of ailments.
Distinguishing characteristics include its somewhat bitter taste and interesting smell.
Fenugreek contains significant amounts of carbohydrates and proteins and is rich in lysine. Past animal testing showed this herb cause significant reductions in blood sugar levels.
As a digestive aid, Fenugreek helps:
- Pain and/or cramps associated with difficult digestion
- Reduce intestinal gas
- Avoid pain and bloating
- Diarrhea symptoms
- Restores digestive system to a state of normality after a bout with diarrhea
In addition, persons with anorexia have shown significant improvement from the disorder.
Fenugreek medicinal uses also include:
- Relief of discomfort and pain associated with a persistent cough
- Relief of sore throat pain
- Ulcers and open sores in and around the mouth heal with repeated treatments
- External treatment of skin irritations
Fenugreek acts systemically and, when used in the treatment of diabetes, has been shown to lower blood sugars and decrease the severity of symptoms.
Scientific trials that focused on fenugreek medicinal uses, specifically in regard to its effects on cholesterol, were deemed inconclusive due to the poor test controls. Tests did indicate major decreases in cholesterol levels in the human body.
Major adverse effects were not reported, although instances of small allergic reactions did occur. These included:
- Numbness specific to topical application site(s)
- Numbness following internal consumption
- Swelling of joints
- Wheezing, indicating possible respiratory effects
- Abnormal smelling urine, following large doses
The Fenugreek is not recommended in conjunction with certain prescribed drugs, as it may slow the effects. Side effects can elevate from wheezing to asthma if people are exposed to too much of the herb.
It is not recommended for women during pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding.
The herb can lower glucose levels in the body. Individuals with hypoglycemia should avoid Fenugreek; those who take medications or have conditions that affect blood sugar should consult a qualified professional before taking this herb.
Dosage and Available Forms
Fenugreek can be taken in a variety of internal forms including as crushed seeds, as capsules created using from seed powder and as a brewed tea. Recommendations suggest using the herb up to three times daily, in doses of one to five grams.
Known to be a good source of fiber, even in the form of a supplement, high doses are still not recommended in due to potential adverse effects.
Fenugreek medicinal uses include a versatile digestive aid, diabetes and relief from oral infections in and around the mouth. Care should be taken with proper dosing of this herb; in addition, it should be avoided in women who are pregnant or breast-feeding and used with caution in individuals taking certain prescription medications.