Fenugreek or Venthayam is one of the effective spices in India, and it can be used in many foods to improve the taste. It also provides effective health benefits. Fenugreek is used in the form of leaves or spice in many ways such as powdered, slightly toasted, and soaked in water.
The raw leaves of Fenugreek can be cooked with lentils to make dal. Dry leaves are known as Kasuri Methi that is added for the distinct flavor in various North Indian dishes.
The Fenugreek seed contains a rich source of saponins and coumarin chemicals that helps to provide many health benefits such as reducing cholesterol level and blood sugar level.
How is Fenugreek used for?
Fenugreek is used in food to prevent indigestion, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, intestinal gas, arthritis, flatulence, liver toxicity, cramps, bloating, and many other disorders.
The main benefit of Fenugreek is it helps in improving the digestive system. It normalizes the gastric secretions and enhances the flow of bile in the liver. It is observed in the blood and fluids.
Fenugreek can eliminate toxins in your blood, and so it is recommended for those who have increased uric acid levels in blood. It is very popular for managing diabetes mellitus. It is very effective in treating joint pain that is caused by rheumatoid arthritis, and also it decreases swelling, pain, inflammation, and stiffness.
The Fenugreek has also been given to the pregnant ladies for treating labor pains since ancient times. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to treat swelling and leg weakness.
Common Names of Fenugreek (Venthayam)
- Botanical Name: Trigonella Foenum-graecum
- Tamil Name: Venthayam / வெந்தையம்
- English Name: Fenugreek, Sickle Fruit fenugreek, Greek hay
- Hindi Name: Methi
- Malayalam Name: Venthiam, Uluva
- Telugu Name: Menthulu
- Kannada Name: Menthya Gida, Mentya, Menthya Soppu
- Punjabi Name: Menthiyam
- Bengali Name: Menthiyam
- Sanskrit Name: Methe, Methika, Kalanusari, Methini, Bahuparni, Bahupatrika
What is Fenugreek ?
The botanical name of Fenugreek is Trigonella Foenum-Graecum, and it is called as Methi in Hindi. It is an annual plant that is native to India and North Africa. It belongs to the family Fabaceae.
It grows up to 2-3 feet height, and contains small white flowers and light green leaves. It produces 10-20 small, aromatic, yellowish-brown, and pungent seeds. The seeds have a bitter taste, and it provides effective health benefits.
Medicinal Parts of Fenugreek
Fenugreek seeds, Fresh and dried leaves of fenugreek, sprouted fenugreek seeds are the medicinal parts of this plant.
Dried and fresh leaves of fenugreek is used as a herb. Fresh fenugreek leaves are added in Indian curries such as “aloo methi” Here potatoes and fenugreek leaves are the main ingredients.
Sprouted fenugreek seeds and the greens are added in salads. The young plants of fenugreek along with the roots are sold as vegetables in the markets.
Fenugreek seeds are used as spices frequently in the Indian cuisines. It is used both as a whole seed or powdered to add flavor in the preparation of vegetable dishes, pickles, dal, spice mixes or masala powders such as sambar powder, etc. You can also roast the seeds to reduce its own bitterness and to enhance flavor.
Fenugreek seeds are the widely used effective medicine in Ayurvedic and folk medicine. Each part of Fenugreek contains lots of medicinal values that help to treat various diseases.
Fenugreek oil is extracted from the seeds that is used to control diabetes, muscle spasm and improves milk production and contains the similar benefits of seeds. It is also available in vegetarian capsules.
Fenugreek Uses in Different Countries
- Fenugreek seeds are also used in making a paste called cemen, in the Turkish cuisine.
- In Egyptian cuisine, the seeds are used in the prepartion of a healthy drink. The seeds are first boiled in water and that water is consumed as a drink.
- In Ethiopia, fenugreek seeds are used in cuisines and as a natural herbal medicine to treat diabetes.
- In Georgia, blue fenugreek is used which is same as the yellow fenugreek seeds.
Fenugreek Medicinal Properties and Benefits
- Pancreas stimulant
- Nervine tonic
- Digestive stimulant
Nutritional Values of Fenugreek (Venthayam)
The various nutritional contents and their values in 100 grams of Fenugreek.
Fenugreek Health Benefits
Fenugreek is packed with various vitamins, minerals, and poly nutrients. The dietary fiber of Fenugreek is used to increase the bowel movements and helps to treat constipation.
It contains pectin that helps to reduce LDL cholesterol and protects your health from colon cancer. In Ayurveda, Fenugreek is considered to be an effective remedy for reducing blood sugar levels and improves insulin production.
According to many researches, this powerful spice can combine with amino acid 4-hydroxy isoleucine to improve the secretion of insulin.
The seeds and leaves of Fenugreek make the digestion easy and prevent the gastrointestinal disturbance symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, and abdominal distention.
It also enhances the absorption of vital nutrients from foods into the blood. The effective health benefits and medicinal values of Fenugreek are listed below.
Fenugreek leaves are very popular because of the anti-diabetic properties. It effectively controls blood sugar levels in all kinds of diabetes.
The Fenugreek contains a soluble fiber called galactomannan that helps to reduce the blood sugar level. It lowers the absorption rate of carbohydrates in the blood, so it prevents increasing blood sugar levels.
It helps to enhance the control of glycemic and reduces insulin resistance for diabetic patients. Insulin production is controlled based on the levels of blood sugar and promotes only when the blood sugar is increased above the normal limits.
Thus, the chances of severe hypoglycemia can lower for those who consume Fenugreek. The poor consumption of insulin can lead to lipid peroxidation in the tissues or cells, and it may cause insulin insensitivity.
Fenugreek contains antioxidant properties, and it decreases lipid peroxidation. The antioxidant property is used to decrease insulin insensitivity and improves the appropriate usage of secretion insulin.
The combined use of Fenugreek seeds can help to decrease the insulin resistance in diabetic patients and enhance the glycemic control.
Also Read: 10 Scientifically Proven Herbs for Diabetes
Fenugreek seeds include a huge amount of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) like mucilaginous fiber that helps to make the bowel movement easy by increasing the bulk formation.
According to Ayurveda, the Fenugreek provides strength to your intestinal wall and improves the peristaltic movement. Take one teaspoon of Fenugreek seeds, soak them for 12 hours, and eat at night before sleep.
Alternatively, you can take 1/2 teaspoon of Fenugreek seed powder with warm water at night. The veggie that is prepared from Fenugreek leaves is also effective for relieving constipation.
Treats Liver Disorders
The Fenugreek seeds include polyphenols that help to protect your liver from the toxicity caused by the wastes of several metabolic processes in the body and alcohol.
It also protects your liver from damaging cells because of chronic alcoholism and lowers the chances of hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fatty liver diseases. It plays a vital role in detoxifying the liver so you can get relief from toxins.
It purifies the blood and improves the liver function. Fenugreek helps to protect your liver from the ethanol-induced hepatic injury. It is used to maintain liver carcinoma by stimulating apoptosis.
Apoptosis is the action of programmed cell death, and it destroys the cancer cells. The regular consumption of Fenugreek can help to prevent liver diseases such as cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, and liver cancer.
Also Read: 10 Herbs For Healthy Liver Function
Sticky or greasy stools
Fenugreek seeds can decrease the content of sticky mucus in the stool by improving bile secretion from the liver to the intestine.
It helps to enhance fat metabolism, and it acts as a digestive for oily substances. Take a pinch of Trikatu or Black Pepper powder with three gms of Fenugreek seed powder that enhances the function of Fenugreek in the sticky and greasy stool.
This consumption is effective for those who don’t feel complete removal. Sticky or greasy stools can be a symptom of low absorption and indigestion.
Fenugreek enhances fat metabolism and digestion. The seeds of Fenugreek can help to decrease the feeling of uneasiness in the abdomen, and you can feel free and fresh after the bowel movement.
Loss of Appetite
Loss of appetite can occur due to many reasons, including poor liver functions, but the Fenugreek seeds help to promote liver function. By increasing the bile secretion into the small intestine, it enhances liver functions and digestion.
The Fenugreek leaves can help to manage peptic ulcers by normalizing the gastro acid secretion. It compensates the excess content of acidic in your stomach, and it protects soft stomach mucosa from ulceration and irritation.
People affected by peptic ulcers can consume Fenugreek that helps to relieve symptoms and prevent the severity of the condition and lowers the chances of difficulties like gastric carcinoma.
Diarrhea with mucus in stool
It is important to note that Fenugreek is an effective herb when loose motions accompanied by mucus in the stool. According to Ayurveda, due to the poor digestion and malabsorption, the mucus content in the stool occurs during diarrhea.
It will occur because of intestinal infections. Fenugreek contains powerful digestive properties that enhance digestion. It promotes the elimination of toxins from the intestinal that greatly decreases the irritation of intestinal.
Fenugreek also contains antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that help to kill the microbes or bacteria due to diarrhea.
The mucilage fiber of Fenugreek helps to absorb the excess water from an alimentary canal that lowers the frequency of the loose stools.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Fenugreek is a powerful remedy to treat heartburn and acid reflux. Even the Fenugreek seeds contain high potency and also contain a huge amount of mucilage that helps to relieve heartburn by coating the inner mucosal lining of your stomach and intestine.
It makes the irritated gastrointestinal tissue cool and gives relief from the burning of throat, nausea, sour eructation, vomiting, and pain in the abdomen caused by the reflux of the acidic contents in the stomach.
Fenugreek seed can be used to treat and prevent colon cancer. The Fenugreek contains fiber in the form of saponins, and mucilage binds to the toxins in the food such as coloring agents, preservations, and other additives.
It helps to protect the mucosal layer of the colon from the cancerous changes that are stimulated by these toxins. Fenugreek helps to manage the healthy microbial flora in the colon that improves the functions and effectively removes the carcinogenic substances from intestinal via stools.
It helps to decrease the chances of colon cancer. Thus, Fenugreek is a natural remedy to prevent colon cancer by protecting mucosa from harmful toxins.
Also Read: 10 Best Herbs to Treat Cancer
Prepare a decoction using 800 ml water and 20 gms of Fenugreek seed coarse powder that reduces into 200 ml. This decoction is used for rinsing and gargling your mouth for tonsillitis problems.
The decoction of Fenugreek soothes the inflamed tonsils, and it acts as bactericidal and bacteriostatic to reduce bacterial infections. It has anti-viral characteristics that help to cure viral infections.
Fenugreek plays a very important role in managing the health of your heart. Due to the presence of galactomannan in the Fenugreek seeds, it has cardioprotective action.
It also includes a huge amount of potassium that helps to face the action of sodium so it controls the blood pressure and heart rate.
This huge amount of potassium helps to eliminate the sodium from the kidney through urine. Sodium pulls itself with water because it is hygroscopic in nature, so it eliminates a huge amount of fluids from your body.
It helps to reduce your blood pressure and controls arrhythmias by normalizing the heartbeats. By regulating heart rate and blood pressure, Fenugreek seeds improve the heart function.
Fenugreek is used to relieve abdominal discomfort, malaise, mild abdominal tenderness, pain, and lethargy. It also helps to prevent the acute severity of appendicitis.
Roast the fenugreek seeds that are used to treat chronic appendicitis. It decreases inflammation of the appendix and helps to eliminate deposits from it.
Cures Sore Throat (Pharyngitis)
The mucilage of Fenugreek is used to coat the lining of your throat and provides great relief that helps to cure pain and cough caused by a sore throat.
It is especially useful for those who are affected by incessant coughs at night. It can act as an antibacterial agent and removes the organisms that are responsible for the infection.
Taking the extract of Fenugreek before sleep will prevent bouts, and it assures the sound of sleep. Therefore, Fenugreek seeds are used to relieve sore throat and the symptoms such as irritation, pain, and cough.
Relieves Body aches
Fenugreek is an effective remedy for body pains in Ayurvedic medicines. According to Ayurveda, AMA accumulation in your body may cause body pains. Thus, Fenugreek decreases the accumulation and body pains.
In Ayurvedic medicines, the excessive accumulation of lipid peroxidation in the body can cause body pains, particularly in muscles, which cause muscle pains and body pains.
Fenugreek contains a powerful antioxidant property that reduces the oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation in your body. It helps to relieve body pains and muscle pains. It also helps to decrease general fatigue and weakness.
Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)
Fenugreek is an effective sialagogue that stimulates saliva secretion and the production of more saliva in your mouth. Therefore, it is a powerful herbal treatment for dry mouth.
The growth of bacteria or dental hygiene may cause bad breath. Fenugreek tea is recommended for people who have bad breath.
The antibacterial property of Fenugreek can control the bacterial growth and kill microbes, which cause bad breath. Sometimes, the dry mouth can also lead to bad breath. Fenugreek seeds help to decrease bad breath because of dry mouth syndrome.
Prepare a barley flour paste by lemon juice or buttermilk and apply it with Fenugreek seeds externally on the mumps and swelling. This external application can help to cure swelling, pain, and inflammation.
Stretching of the uterus or inflammation may cause thin discharge or leucorrhea. The seeds of Fenugreek can stimulate uterus shrinkage and deflation.
It decreases all secondary symptoms and helps to retain the original size of the uterus. It also helps to treat leucorrhea in these situations.
In Ayurveda, the Fenugreek powder is recommended to use with jaggery for these kinds of problems.
Dyslipidemia (High Cholesterol & Triglycerides)
Fenugreek can act as cholagogues, so it stimulates bile secretion from the liver and gallbladder into the small intestine, but the mucilage, saponins, tannins, hemicelluloses and pectin in the Fenugreek prevents the reabsorption of bile salts in the colon.
Therefore, it improves the bile excretion through stool and reduces the rate of synthesis of cholesterol in the liver. By using the Fenugreek, you can get effective results on LDL-cholesterol enhances the overall profile of lipid.
Fenugreek is used to inhibit atherosclerosis, which is a condition characterized by a higher level of cholesterol that may lead to the deposition of plaques in the artery’s inner walls. By narrowing the blood vessels, reduce the supply of blood to the main organs.
It increases the chances of diseases like peripheral vascular disease, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Fenugreek helps to prevent these symptoms by controlling the level of cholesterol.
Also Read: Top 10 Herbs & Spices To Lower Cholesterol
The Fenugreek seeds include a high amount of polyphenolic flavonoids that contain powerful antioxidant activity.
The huge amount of flavonoids makes Fenugreek is one of the most effective antioxidant herbs. The antioxidant property of Fenugreek is related to the protection of erythrocytes from the damage the free radicals cause.
Administrating the Fenugreek seeds with ethanol will increase the antioxidant activity, and it helps to inhibit the harmful effects of alcohol on the liver.
The antioxidant property of Fenugreek is used to protect your body from the toxic effects of environmental pollutants, allergens, and chemicals, including flavoring agents and preservatives in foods.
These substances may lead to DNA damage of the healthy tissues and induce abnormal multiplication of the cells due to cancer.
The powerful antioxidant property of Fenugreek helps to control this by protecting the normal cells from damage. Thus, Fenugreek seeds help to protect the organs and body tissues from cancerous changes with the antioxidant activity.
Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis
Fenugreek has powerful anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic properties that help to increase glutathione and superoxide dismutase and decrease lipid peroxidation in the cartilage tissue.
Superoxide dismutase inhibits the tissue damage, and Glutathione helps to repair and build the tissues. Therefore, Fenugreek is used to inhibit the damage of cartilages and improves the repair of tissues. Fenugreek seeds provide analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties in Ayurveda.
It decreases swelling, joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain. In Ayurveda, the undigested food particles in the abdomen and nutrients in the cells form the toxins in the body, called AMA. This is the main reason for rheumatoid arthritis and some other diseases.
Fenugreek decreases AMA and increases the chances of removal from your body. It is effectively used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases occurring because of AMA accumulation.
Cures Kidney Stones
According to research, Fenugreek helps to prevent renal stones from forming. It works by decreasing the amount of calcium oxalate in kidneys.
The calcium oxalate contributes to the formation of kidney stones by forming crystals. Fenugreek is used to eliminate the existing kidney stone by increasing the production of urine.
The huge amount of urine creates pushing force in the uterus, so it disposes the stone during urination. Thus, Fenugreek seeds are used by the people who are affected by kidney stones to inhibit the recurrence.
Also Read: 10 Best Herbs for Kidney Stones
Fenugreek is used to decrease the chances of cataracts, particularly in the patients who have diabetes. The extract of Fenugreek seeds and leaves has been used in the treatment of diabetic rats that reduces cataract. Regular use of Fenugreek can reduce the chance of cataract in diabetic patients.
Obesity (Weight Loss)
Obesity is one of the reasons for various chronic diseases such as hypertension, stroke, cancer, and myocardial infarction.
Many people fail the effort of reducing weights because of lacking control cravings and hunger. Fenugreek is used in weight loss with the natural soluble fiber content that can swell and create a sensation of fullness in the stomach.
It controls the appetite and increases the satiety sense. It assures the lower consumption of calories by the person. Due to this, the body loses its ready source of energy and is stimulated to use the stored fats to carry to the various functions.
It may lead to the burning of fats, so it quickly decreases your weight. The patients who have obesity can use Fenugreek with lemon juice and water to control appetite and retain weight loss.
Also Read: 10 Best Herbs for Weight Loss
Febrile Fatigue & Myalgia after Fever
Fenugreek is used to nourish your body and prevent fatigue and myalgia. It makes you feel free, fresh, and energetic to reduce weakness caused by fever.
Consume it with a teaspoon of honey and lemon juice. Fenugreek is an effective home remedy to prevent general weakness caused by fever.
Fenugreek provides a protective effect on skin and cures skin inflammation. It helps to decrease acne by controlling the damaging effect of sun rays, dust, and other environmental pollutants with strong antioxidant properties.
It decreases scars and clears your skin. It prevents whiteheads, blackheads, and wrinkles, so it reduces the chances of aging.
It has a large amount of Vitamin C that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps to treat various skin problems like eczema, burns, and boils. Apply Fenugreek paste with rosewater to cure acne, dark circles, acne scars, and wrinkles.
Fenugreek Benefits for Men
Improves Testosterone & Sperm count
According to many research, Fenugreek can increase testosterone levels, and it is important to note that the low level of testosterone can be a symptom of the medical condition.
Therefore, if you have ever experienced any kind of symptoms associated with testosterone, you can immediately consult your doctor or healthcare provider.
The symptoms of low testosterone are fatigue, reduced energy, low sex drive, depressed mood, erectile dysfunction, etc.
Fenugreek is an effective natural remedy to increase the testosterone level. According to research and study, it is recommended as a natural treatment for low testosterone.
Also Read: Best Herbs to Boost Testosterone
Fenugreek Benefits for Women
The seeds of Fenugreek contain phytoestrogens that have estrogenic activities. Generally, the phytoestrogens presence in Fenugreek can modify the hormonal secretions and restores natural hormonal balance.
The effect of this is observable on all hormones like progesterone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, prolactin, etc. Fenugreek is used to promote the mammary growth glands by helping the estrogen production and mimicking the effect of phytoestrogen in the body.
It stimulates the new breast cells, so the size of breast increases. Thus, Fenugreek is used as a natural remedy to the cosmetic treatment to enlarge the breasts. The effect of estrogen may be beneficial to control breast cancer.
Treats Breast Cancer
The Fenugreek seeds can provide strong protection against breast cancer by preventing the DMBA-stimulated hyperplasia of the breast tissues.
It helps to quickly recover the women affected by breast cancer by stimulating apoptosis. It provides a particular chemopreventive effect to reverse, suppress, and inhibit the progression of cancer cells into the surrounding normal tissues, so it controls the severity of the disease.
It works by inhibiting angiogenesis. Due to this normal process, new blood vessels will form in the body. However, when it comes to the tumor, angiogenesis may induce mass growth by giving more nutrients via the newly-created blood vessels.
Thus, preventing angiogenesis is an essential part of cancer treatment. Fenugreek helps to inhibit angiogenesis in the mass of cancer because of this, the abnormal cells don’t receive enough blood supply and nutrients due to their death.
Thus, the seeds of Fenugreek are used to treat breast cancer via various mechanisms including, chemo-preventive effects and stimulating apoptosis and preventing angiogenesis.
Debility after delivery
Fenugreek seeds are used in the Methi Laddu to restore the natural pregnancy size of uterus in many states of India.
The uterus naturally returns to the original size within 6 to 8 weeks, but Methi improves the quick recovery. The Fenugreek is used to clear the uterus from the lochia and prevent the infections of reproductive organs in new moms.
Some mothers have a complaint of sore muscles that cause pain in arms, legs, even neck and jaw. They also feel debility after delivery with some other problems like back pain, loss of appetite, and vertigo. Fenugreek is a great remedy to cure all these symptoms.
Lactation (Promote Milk Production)
One of the main problems many new mothers face is a lack of milk production after childbirth. It forces the baby to bottle feed, and it is not a preferred option because the baby doesn’t have the benefits of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding will ensure that the milk helps to maintain the body temperature, so it is effective for the babies. The breast milk contains natural antibodies that are passed from mother to baby, and it protects from infections.
Breastfeeding works as natural contraception for mothers. But when the milk protection is reduced, both the mother and baby won’t get these benefits. Fenugreek is used to stimulate the milk production for women.
It contains DIOSGENIN that helps to increase the milk production by regulating the hormones of your body.
Side Effects of Fenugreek
When you use Fenugreek for the first time, the most common side effect is loose stools. Excessive causes of Fenugreek may cause some unpleasant side effects.
It may cause Diarrhea. Actually, Fenugreek is used to treat diarrhea, but it is different in some cases. When diarrhea comes with muscle discharge in stool, it works, but it causes loose motions due to intolerance in some people.
- Unusual sweating
- Fast heartbeat
- Stomach upset
- Skin rash
- Swelling of the face, tongue, or the throat
- Difficulty in breathing
Pregnancy & Lactation
Pregnancy: The Fenugreek seeds are used to increase the chances of premature childbirth and miscarriage during the first and second times. It contains emmenagogue action that induces uterine bleeding. But these effects may cause infections due to the high dose of Fenugreek. The effect of Fenugreek can vary from person to person, so the occasional usage is discouraged.
Lactation: The seeds and leaves of Fenugreek are very safe during lactation, and it stimulates breast milk production.
How to use Fenugreek
The dietary supplements of fenugreek are available in the form of powders, capsules, teas, and liquid extract.
There is no single recommended dosage to use fenugreek, since there are different formulations the dosage also differs according to the supplement.
For men to improve the testosterone level, researchers have used only 500mg of fenugreek extract. If you are using fenugreek seeds, then 2 to 5 grams is enough. But the supplements should be taken before meal or along with meal. The dosages mentioned here is based on the research and the recommendations of our herbal practitioner.
So before you follow any dosage instructions, consult with your medical advisor.