Fenugreek seeds are obtained from a plant species historically used as a spice in several cuisines from Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. It is also a very common herb utilized in many folk medicine practices. The bulk of fenugreek crop is grown for its seeds, and large scale cultivation takes place in many a number of countries, including Argentina, France, and China. It is sold as a spice, tea, pickle, curry, and paste, among others. It is also becoming increasingly popular in the supplement industry.
Trigonella foenum-graecum is the scientific name of fenugreek. Its name in the vernacular is derived from its Latin name, which translates as Greek hay. It is believed to have been first domesticated in the Middle East. Desiccated and charred seeds discovered in Iraq and Egypt dates back to more than 6000 years ago during the Bronze Age. The seeds have been used as a source of food and medicine.
Reduces Serum Lipids
Fenugreek seeds have been proven effective in reducing cholesterol levels. Its exact mechanism of action remains under investigation. It is postulated that it blocks the metabolic pathway that governs the synthesis of lipids in the liver, including low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol. Interestingly, it does not interfere with the releases of high-density lipoproteins, and thus promotes good cholesterol.
health Benefits Of Fenugreek
Improves Glucose Tolerance
Individuals suffering from insulin tolerance, diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome are likely to benefit from regular consumptions of fenugreek seeds. It has shown its efficacy in regulating blood sugar by significantly reducing fasting blood sugar, or glucose levels in the blood after 8 hours of glucose intake. In addition, it increases the sensitivity of individual cells to the hormone insulin.
Relieves Skin Conditions
Fenugreek seeds contain organic compounds that are anti-inflammatory in nature. In folk medicine, the seeds are ground to form a paste topically applied to rashes, ulcerations, wounds, bruises, and other skin lesions. It is believed to speed up the rate of healing of cuts, abrasions, and open wounds. It is also an ingredient in many skin care and hair products in India and Northern Africa.
Displays Antiviral Properties
Fenugreek has long been used in the treatment of the common cold, influenza infections, and fever, but its antiviral properties have been documented only recently. Herbalists and practitioners of alternative medicine in the Middle East believe it nourishes the body in a state of disease. A group of researchers has started studying its potential in the treatment and management of cold infections.
Promotes Milk Secretion
Women are certain to feel the benefits of fenugreek seeds. Throughout the centuries, fenugreek has been consumed by lactating mothers to increase milk production by up to 500 percent in less than a week. During labor, it induces uterine contractions, making it easy for natural birth. Plus, regular intake of fenugreek seeds has been reported to normalize levels of female sex hormones.
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