Fenugreek, a tonic medicinal plant, is also cholesterol-lowering, mucolytic and anti-inflammatory. The benefits and contraindications
Fenugreek, whose botanical name is Trigonella foenum graecum.
It is a remedy used mainly as a tonic, but it also boasts anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties.
What is Fenugreek
Fenugreek is an annual herb that grows up to fifty centimeters in height, developing alternate, petiolate, trifoliate leaves and pale flowers.
The botanical name of fenugreek is Trigonella foenum-graecum L. and the species belongs to the Fabaceae or legume family.
The fruit of fenugreek is therefore a legume that contains about ten seeds.
The seeds of the plant are used in herbal medicine and phytotherapy but also to obtain fenugreek oil and flour, also used in cosmetics, and fenugreek sprouts consumed for food.
The seeds of fenugreek are used in herbal medicine, considered the drug of the plant. Fenugreek seeds, rich in beneficial compounds for health, are characterized by an unpleasant odor given by the presence of volatile compounds.
What is fenugreek used for
Fenugreek is a remedy indicated above all as a tonic:
in convalescence, in case of asthenia and in excessive weight loss.
Fenugreek seeds are also used to reduce LDL or ” bad cholesterol ” levels and to control blood sugar in people with diabetes.
Treatments with fenugreek supplements may also be helpful in case of:
- Fractures ;
- osteoporosis ;
- growth disturbances .
Traditionally, fenugreek is used to facilitate childbirth, increase milk production in breastfeeding women, improve liver function, treat stomach ulcers, and to fight airway infections.
Externally, however, fenugreek is used to treat skin abscesses, boils, eczema, rheumatic pain, inflammation of the mouth and throat, hemorrhoids and wounds.
The cosmetic use of this remedy is quite limited due to the bad smell of the seeds; for this purpose you can use fenugreek oil, obtained by pressing the seeds and often recommended as a tonic for its benefits of fenugreek for the hair and to increase the breasts, due to its toning action.
Properties of fenugreek
Fenugreek seeds have properties:
- stimulants on appetite
The properties of fenugreek are given by the presence of:
Which represent the phytocomplex of this plant drug .Fenugreek seeds also contain fiber, vitamin D , nicotinic acid or vitamin P, and calcium .
Benefits of fenugreek
The use of fenugreek can be useful during convalescence, to recover energy in case of asthenia and to increase muscle mass in case of excessive weight loss. Fenugreek seeds are in fact excellent tonic and, also thanks to the aperitif action, can contribute to the increase of body weight.
Thanks to the content of vitamin D and calcium, fenugreek can also be beneficial in case of fractures and osteoporosis, favoring the mineralization of bones.
Other benefits of fenugreek are given by the fibers and galactomannans contained in the seeds, which allow to regulate the intestinal absorption of lipids, cholesterol and glucose, making fenugreek a useful remedy in case of diabetes, high cholesterol and excess triglycerides.
How to use
Fenugreek can be taken in the form of restorative, fluid extract or mother tincture.
The mother tincture of fenugreek is administered from one to three times a day by diluting 30 drops in water, while the extracts are combined according to the indications provided by the manufacturer.
Fenugreek herbal tea is prepared with a teaspoon of seeds in 200 milliliters of boiling water, to be drunk throughout the day. To correct the flavor of the fenugreek infusion it is possible to sweeten it with a teaspoon of honey.
Fenugreek herbal tea can also be used externally, for skin rinses, wraps, gargles.
Contraindications of fenugreek
Fenugreek-based remedies are safe and well tolerated. However, its use is not recommended in case of allergies or sensitivity to the plant and if you are taking antidiabetic drugs, in people suffering from hypothyroidism and in case of intestinal inflammation.
Since fenugreek may cause uterine contractions, its use is contraindicated in pregnancy .
Fenugreek Side Effects
Although fenugreek is considered a safe drug, in high dosages or for prolonged use , fenugreek can inhibit the absorption of some vitamins and minerals , cause gastrointestinal irritation and, for topical use, skin reactions.
Where to buy fenugreek
All the preparations based on fenugreek are easily available in herbalists even online.
Habitat of fenugreek
The fenugreek plant is native to the eastern areas and is grown in India and North Africa.
The botanical name of fenugreek derives from the Greek “ trigonos ”, meaning triangle and refers to the arrangement of the leaves in three by three and to the shape of the seeds.
Widespread throughout the Mediterranean area, the fenugreek plant was once used to fatten livestock .
At one time, fenugreek seeds were used as a substitute for coffee ; for this purpose an infusion from roasted seeds was prepared.