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Fenugreek – (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

Fenugreek

In appearance, fenugreek looks very similar to alfalfa, but with a yellow or white flower. Historically it was used to scent inferior hay to make it appear more appetizing to the livestock. It is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean area and the Middle East. The plant grows about two feet tall. The ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans all used it for medicinal and culinary uses.

 

Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Fenugreek is taken as an herbal tea to reduce fever and menstrual pains. It can also be used to increase the milk supply of nursing mothers. It has also been used as a digestive aid and it also contains compounds that make it an excellent expectorant to use for lung and sinus congestion.

Externally – Fenugreek seeds are soaked then powdered for use in lip balm and tonic. It can be very effective as a poultice for abscesses, carbuncles, boils and more.

Other Uses – Fenugreek seeds are ground and roasted to flavor curry mixtures. The leaves may be added to salads for extra iron in the diet. The seeds are said to be an aphrodisiac and to increase the libido. Seeds are also used to flavor the feed of cattle, as well as adding a maple flavor to confections and pastries. Nutritionally it is a great source of thiamine, iron, silicon, sodium and selenium.

Parts Used

Seeds – Seeds are the most commonly used part of the plant, although the leaves can be eaten as well.

Cautions

Use fenugreek with caution if you are allergic to either chickpeas or peanuts. This herb is in the same plant family, and if you are sensitive to one of these, you might also be sensitive to fenugreek.

It has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol. If you are diabetic, however you should use with caution. Unless your blood sugar levels are under control, you may find your levels at a dangerously low level without warning. Always monitor your sugar levels carefully when taking this herb.

Do not take during pregnancy, as it is a known emmenagogue and may cause miscarriage.

Be very cautious if you suffer from asthma, migraines or blood pressure issues. While fenugreek is reputed to help with these ailments, other studies have shown it to worsen them.

Side effects may include gas, bloating, diarrhea or skin irritation if applied to the skin.

Preparation and Dosage

Seeds are usually lightly roasted before being ground. A decoction of 1 ounce of seeds and 1 pint of water can be used to treat inflammation in the digestive tract, as it is very mucilaginous.

If you take commercial fenugreek preparations, follow the instructions on the label for dosage.

Fenugreek Herbal Remedies Top