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10 Impressive Health Benefits Of Fenugreek Seeds

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Health Benefits Of Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds are a natural alternative for several health problems. Especially revered for their ability to aid digestion, they can also treat gastric ulcers, soothe inflammation and skin irritation, improve glycemic control in diabetics, and even improve cholesterol levels in your body. They have special benefits for nursing mothers due to their galactagogue properties. Simply brew up fenugreek tea with the seeds, roast and powder them, or scatter some sprouted seeds over your next meal!

The seeds of fenugreek or Trigonella foenum-graecum, also called methi, are rich in flavonoids, saponins, alkaloids, amino acids, protein, and fiber. They also contain vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and other minerals. These combine to make fenugreek seeds and their oil a potent natural remedy for a range of maladies.1

Health Benefits Of Fenugreek Seeds

1. Delays Aging

Fenugreek seeds are rich in antioxidants that can help fight aging largely brought on by free radical damage.2 Animal studies have shown that the seeds can protect cellular structures against oxidative damage due to this antioxidant content. In one study, it was found that the seed extract could inhibit the oxidative breakdown of lipids in the liver of test animals.3

2. Increases Uterine Contractions And Lactation

Fenugreek seeds have some specific benefits for women. They are considered emmenagogues and can help stimulate uterine contractions.4

In addition, they are used as galactagogues to enhance milk production in lactating mothers. This particularly useful for nursing mothers who face problems of inadequate breast milk production. However, it is important to note that no extensive studies have been done to back up this claim and evidence is derived from traditional use and anecdotal evidence.5 Ayurveda uses the seeds as a gruel combined with sugar and milk.6

3. Reduces Skin Irritation And Inflammation

The oil from fenugreek seeds can be used to soften skin and act as an emollient.7 Just add a few drops of fenugreek oil to a base oil like olive oil or jojoba oil and apply to the affected area to soothe the irritated skin.

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, some remedies use the oil to treat acne as well. The salicylic acid it carries helps remove clogging in follicles and also acts as a gentle natural peel that reduces the formation of trademark pimples or comedones of acne.8

A traditional Ayurvedic recipe uses the seeds ground into a paste as a topical treatment to soothe and cleanse skin. The soaked seeds with mucilage are used topically on inflamed skin. A poultice of the seeds can be used for swelling or other inflammatory conditions.9

4. Fights Fevers

One of the popular traditional uses of the seeds in India as well as China, in various streams of traditional medicine, is to fight a fever. If you have a fever, drinking a soothing cup of herbal tea made from fenugreek seeds can help.10

5. Soothes Sore Throats

The soothing properties make fenugreek seeds good for sore throats. Its analgesic properties and mucilage contribute as well. Ayurveda combines fenugreek seeds with tamarind leaves to make a gargle to ease a bad throat. Tamarind leaves are also soothing and have antimicrobial properties.11

6. Aids Digestion And Treats Gastrointestinal Problems

Fenugreek seeds help with stimulating appetite in addition to aiding digestion. The seeds also stimulate the spleen, act as a natural diuretic, and stimulate liver function.12 In Ayurveda, it is given to treat dysentery. Simply roast the seeds and then make an infusion using them as a remedy.13

The mucilage fenugreek seeds contain helps with soothing the digestive system and can also be leveraged to treat gastritis and gastric ulcers. The seeds can even help prevent constipation by virtue of their soluble fiber content. An estimated 50% of the seed is dietary fiber.14

The seeds create a soothing coating on any areas that are inflamed, making it of particular use for those with irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, or colitis.15

7. Stabilizes Blood Sugar In Diabetics

Fenugreek seeds are used for diabetes treatment as well. They decrease insulin resistance and improve glycemic control in diabetics who have a mild form of the condition.

One study demonstrated the health benefits of fenugreek seeds for patients with type-2 diabetes.16 They were given a seed extract daily for 2 months as supportive therapy and saw significant improvement on these two fronts.

Caution: Always consult your doctor for the right fenugreek seeds dosage for type-2 diabetes.

8. Improves Lipid Profile

Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as traditional Indian medicine have used fenugreek seeds to treat hypercholesterolemia.17 Ayurveda sees it as cholestrolaemic and recommends a daily dose between 10 and 20 gm of the seed powder to lower LDL cholesterol levels.18

9. Encourages Weight Loss

Fenugreek seeds have benefits for weight loss as well. The hypolipidemic effect of these seeds on your fat and liver cells has potential applications in fighting obesity as well as dyslipidemia. A dose of 25 to 50 gm daily along with a healthy diet is usually the norm. In one study, consuming fenugreek seed extract helped cut down cholesterol and triglyceride synthesis allowing body weight as well as serum lipid profile to improve.19

In the study mentioned earlier, on those with type-2 diabetes, triglyceride levels dipped in patients who were taking fenugreek seed extract. Good HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels also increased.20 In another test, 100 gm of fenugreek seed powder (unfatted) was given daily to those with insulin-dependent diabetes(type-1) at lunch and dinner in 50 gm doses. Serum total cholesterol, bad LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol reduced significantly. HDL cholesterol levels remained unchanged.21

10. Stimulates Libido

One of the health benefits of fenugreek seeds for men is that it can help rev up your libido. In one study, the extract of fenugreek seeds was given in tablet form to normal healthy men.22 The tablets helped increase sexual arousal as well orgasms, improving physiological aspects of libido. The men also said they felt more satisfied with their muscle strength and energy levels as well as overall well-being after taking the supplement.

How To Have Fenugreek Seeds

While there are many benefits of having fenugreek leaves as well, if it’s the seeds you have your eye on, here are some ways you could use them.

1. Soaked Or Sprouted Fenugreek Seeds: Consuming them germinated may be even better for you, as one study found. These germinated seeds have a high flavonoid and polyphenol content and are believed to be more beneficial than the dried seeds.23

Simply soak the seeds overnight or until they sprout. Scatter them over a salad or toss them into your meals, your porridge, or cereal. For digestive trouble, the seeds can be soaked, strained, and rinsed. The sprouted seeds can be blended into a drink. The water in which they are soaked can be consumed as well. 24 This way, you can tap the benefits of the fenugreek seeds water as well and not miss out on any nutrition it has to offer.

2. Roasted Fenugreek Seeds: You could dry roast fenugreek seeds and then powder them to use daily. Simply scatter this over your food and eat. If you like curries, dry roast and use the seeds whole as a flavoring agent or spice in the meal.

3. Fenugreek Tea: To make fenugreek seed herbal tea, simply boil the seeds with water and drink up. Use honey and lemon for flavor if you’d like.

4. Fenugreek Tablets/Capsules: If you find its slightly bitter taste unpalatable, fenugreek capsules may be more apt for you. You will need to check with your doctor for any possible drug interactions and side effects.

Side Effects Of Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds are generally considered safe to consume, especially if you’re just adding it to your diet and not taking supplements. However, if you happen to be allergic to them, you should avoid consuming them right away. Watch for signs of an allergic reaction like trouble breathing, wheezing, swelling up of the face, mouth, or tongue, numbness of the head.25 Stop using them if any of these problems crop up.

Those allergic to chickpeas usually run a greater risk of being allergic to these seeds. Some side effects that people experience include increased flatulence, diarrhea, dizziness, wheezing.26

Fenugreek seeds are best avoided by pregnant women due to the possibility of stimulating uterine contractions. It may also be unsafe for women suffering from a hormone-sensitive type of cancer since fenugreek can act as estrogen once consumed.27

References   [ + ]

1. Yadav, Rashmi, Richa Tiwari, Partha Chowdhary, and Chandan Kumar Pradhan. “A pharmacognostical monograph of Trigonella foenum-graecum seeds.” screening 1 (2011): 6.
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3. Kaviarasan, S., G. H. Naik, R. Gangabhagirathi, C. V. Anuradha, and K. I. Priyadarsini. “In vitro studies on antiradical and antioxidant activities of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) seeds.” Food chemistry 103, no. 1 (2007): 31-37.
4, 7, 15, 24. Branch, Sirjan. “Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) as a valuable medicinal plant.” (2013).
5. Abascal, Kathy, and Eric Yarnell. “Botanical galactagogues.” Alternative and Complementary Therapies 14, no. 6 (2008): 288-294.
6, 9, 13. Kapoor, L. D. Handbook of Ayurvedic medicinal plants: Herbal reference library. Vol. 2. CRC press, 2000.
8. Kanlayavattanakul, M., and N. Lourith. “Therapeutic agents and herbs in topical application for acne treatment.” International journal of cosmetic science 33, no. 4 (2011): 289-297.
10. Kenny, O., T. J. Smyth, C. M. Hewage, and N. P. Brunton. “Antioxidant properties and quantitative UPLC-MS analysis of phenolic compounds from extracts of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seeds and bitter melon (Momordica charantia) fruit.” Food chemistry 141, no. 4 (2013): 4295-4302.
11. McIntyre, Anne. Herbal treatment of children: Western and Ayurvedic perspectives. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2005.
12. Singh, A., S. P. Singh, A. K. Mahawar, and T. V. Yadav. “Influence of different plant bio regulators and zinc levels on yield attributes and economics of fenugreek (trigonellafoenum graecum L.) under semi-arid conditions.” Progressive Horticulture 47, no. 1 (2015): 151.
14. Snehlata, Helambe S., and Dande R. Payal. “Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.): an overview.” Int J Curr Pharm Rev Res 2, no. 4 (2012): 169-87.
16, 20. Gupta, A., R. Gupta, and B. Lal. “Effect of Trigonella foenum-graecum (Fenugreek) Seeds on Glycaemic Control and Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetes.” J Assoc Physicians India 49 (2001): 1057-1061.
18. Pole, Sebastian. Ayurvedic medicine: the principles of traditional practice. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2006.
19. Vijayakumar, Maleppillil V., Vimal Pandey, Gyan C. Mishra, and Manoj K. Bhat. “Hypolipidemic effect of fenugreek seeds is mediated through inhibition of fat accumulation and upregulation of LDL receptor.” Obesity 18, no. 4 (2010): 667-674.
21. Sharma, R. D., T. C. Raghuram, and N. Sudhakar Rao. “Effect of fenugreek seeds on blood glucose and serum lipids in type I diabetes.” Eur J clin nutr 44, no. 4 (1990): 301-6.
22. Steels, Elizabeth, Amanda Rao, and Luis Vitetta. “Physiological Aspects of Male Libido Enhanced by Standardized Trigonella foenum‐graecum Extract and Mineral Formulation.” Phytotherapy Research 25, no. 9 (2011): 1294-1300.
23. Dixit, Priyanjali, Saroj Ghaskadbi, Hari Mohan, and Thomas PA Devasagayam. “Antioxidant properties of germinated fenugreek seeds.” Phytotherapy Research 19, no. 11 (2005): 977-983.
25. Patil, Sangita P., Pramod V. Niphadkar, and Mrinal M. Bapat. “Allergy to fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum).” Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 78, no. 3 (1997): 297-300.
26. Smith, Michael. “Therapeutic applications of fenugreek.” Alternative Medicine Review 8, no. 1 (2003): 20-27.
27. Fenugreek.National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.