Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) belongs to the Pea family (Fabaceae) & its aromatic, pod-like seeds, whole or ground into powder, add flavor to cuisine throughout South & West Asia, the Mediterranean, central Europe & North Africa, its Sprouts & leaves as edible as well.
Fenugrella seeds, also known as methi seeds, are a common ingredient in Indian curries, because of their maple-syrup like smell & flavor.
Fenugreek seeds are also added to artificial maple syrup, candies, ice cream, beverages, tobacco & cosmetics. Beside all these fenugreek or methi seeds has several health benefits. Some of them are as follows.
1.Reduces the risk of diabetes:
Few studies in animals have shown that at least four compounds in fenugreek have antidiabetic properties:-
- Reduce intestinal glucose absorption.
- Delay gastric emptying.
- Improve insulin sensitivity & action.
- Reduce the concentration of lipid-binding protein.
2.Role in body weight management:
Due to its high fiber content fenugreek induce a feeling of fullness & thus reduces the amount of fullness & thus reduces the amount of food intake & delays hunger pang.
3.Improve milk production & flow:
Fenugreek or methi helps in stimulating the production of breast milk & ease of flow in lactating mothers.
4.Helps in Fertility:
Fenugreek may help in testosterone hormone level balancing of & boost sperm count.
5.Controls high cholesterol level:
Regular consumption of fenugreek powder can also help to cut down the low-density lipoprotein(LDL or bad cholesterol).
Methi or fenugreek is a rich source of potassium & sodium, consuming fenugreek power daily can reduce high blood pressure.
7.Improve Heart Health:
By keeping blood pressure & cholesterol in good condition fenugreek proves to aid heart health. Moreover, fenugreek also reduces the chances of atherosclerosis (narrowing & hardening at the arteries) which can otherwise lead to a heart attack.
Fenugreek acts as an anti-inflammatory agent due to the presence of substantial level of anti oxidant..
It has proved its pain relief activity traditionally. Many researches show that compounds called alkaloids in this herbal block sensory receptors that allow the brain to perceive pain.
a. Reduces menstrual discomfort.
b. Minimize symptoms of menopause.
c. Relieves constipation.
d. Relieves sore throat.
e. Treats kidney problem.
f. Prevent colon cancer.
g. Promotes hair growth.
h. Improve exercise performance.
i. Increase sexual drive.
j. Fight with flu & colds &
k. Adds flavor & spice of food.
So it has been seen that fenugreek or methi seeds play a vital role in maintaining our good health but there is little scientific evidence behind these alleged benefits, so much more research is needed to assess the efficacy of these herbal supplements.
Side effects of fenugreek:
Hypoglycemia: As fenugreek has blood sugar-lowering activity therefore if any diabetic patient taking medication then he should first check his blood sugar level & consult his doctor before fenugreek supplement. Because consuming together with blood sugar lowering medicine may cause a fall in blood sugar level i.e. leads to hypoglycaemics.
It contains a chemical compound called coumarin that acts as a blood thinner & can increase the risk of bleeding.
- Induce childbirth:
Pregnant women should not take fenugreek as it contains oxytocin that can leads to uterine stimulant, meaning it could course contractions & preterm labor.
- Maple syrup sweat or urine:
Fenugreek seed has a strong, sweet odor & eating seeds might pass that maple syrup-like smell into sweat or urine. Thus in pregnancy, it gives false alarm of Maple Syrup Urine Disease(MSUD).
- It can cause stomach irritation & diarrhea.
- Last but not least one should aware of any possible allergic reactions caused by consuming fenugreek or methi.
Therefore, Fenugreek leaves & seeds are important for cooking and also in medicines. We are consuming for thousands of years. Hence more & more research is still needed over its benefits, efficacy & side effects. And one should consult with his health professionals before taking this health supplement in their daily life.