Fenugreek, also known as methi, is a popular herb commonly found in the Mediterranean region of the world. However, due to its strong medicinal properties and uses in Ayurvedic medicine, it has gained popularity worldwide.
The nutrients found in this herb include iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin B6. Fenugreek also contains a number of powerful phytonutrients.
The leaves and seeds are both known to possess antimicrobial, antioxidant, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.
Both the tender leaves as well as the seeds are used for cooking as well as for medicinal purposes. While the leaves have a slight bitter taste, the seeds have a pungent flavor and aroma.
The seeds are usually dried and ground. Also, you can find fenugreek extracts and supplements in the market, but consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of fenugreek seeds and leaves.
1. Helps Control Diabetes
This herb is highly beneficial for people who have diabetes. Its hypoglycemic property plays a key role in improving glucose tolerance and lowering blood sugar levels.
Plus, the fiber in fenugreek slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and sugars.
A 2009 study published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research evaluated the hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of fenugreek seeds in Type 2 diabetes patients.
This study suggests that 10 grams of fenugreek seeds soaked in hot water may be helpful in controlling high blood sugar.
Also, eating baked goods like bread made with fenugreek flour may help reduce insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetics, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
- Soak 1 to 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in a glass of water overnight. The next morning, drink the water as well as chew the seeds on an empty stomach. Do this daily.
- You can also eat baked goods made with fenugreek flour.
Note: Intake of fenugreek along with diabetes medication can lead to low blood sugar. Hence, talk to your doctor before taking fenugreek.
2. Stimulates Breast Milk Production
For nursing mothers, fenugreek helps stimulate breast milk production. Both the seeds and leaves work as excellent galactagogues to stimulate breast milk production.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine notes that maternal galactagogue herbal tea supplementation enhances breast milk production and facilitates infant birth weight regain in early postnatal days.
Plus, the magnesium and vitamin content of fenugreek improves the quality of breast milk, which is important for the baby’s overall health. This herb even helps alleviate common post-delivery problems, such as flatulence and body aches.
- Soak 1 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in 1 cup of water overnight. The next morning, boil the water along with the seeds for several minutes, then strain it. Drink it every morning.
- You can also add a few fresh fenugreek leaves to your soups, stews or salads.
- To increase milk flow, you can also take 1 capsule of fenugreek seed (at least 500mg), 3 times a day. Always consult a doctor first.
If your infant shows signs of diarrhea, stop eating fenugreek.
Note: Diabetic and asthmatic women must not use fenugreek remedies without consulting their doctor.
3. Balances Cholesterol Level
Fenugreek also has cholesterol-lowering power. It has a good amount of soluble fiber, which increases the viscosity of the digested food and inhibits the uptake of cholesterol and bile acids.
It helps reduce the low-density lipoprotein (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) level in your blood. Bad cholesterol can cause blockages in your blood vessels, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology highlights the protective effect of dietary fenugreek seeds and garlic on induced oxidation of LDL in rats. Further human studies are needed.
To reduce high cholesterol, it is recommended to take 2 ounces of fenugreek seeds throughout the day. Dry roast the seeds, then grind them into a powder. The powder can be sprinkled onto prepared food or can be consumed with water.
4. Improves Heart Health
Fenugreek has antioxidant and cardioprotective benefits, which help improve overall heart health. It works as a blood thinner to prevent blood clots, which can stop blood flow to the heart, lungs and brain. Fenugreek also lowers blood pressure.
In addition, it reduces the risk of atherosclerosis due to its strong modulating effect on blood lipid levels. Plus, it stabilizes blood sugar and fights obesity, two major factors that increase the risk of developing heart disease.
A 2011 study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology highlights the cardioprotective effect of fenugreek on lipid peroxidation and antioxidant defense system during isoproterenol-induced myocardial infarction in rats.
To improve your heart health, drink 1 to 2 cups of fenugreek seed tea daily. To make the tea:
- Add 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds to 1 ½ to 2 cups of water.
- Boil it for 5 minutes, then strain it.
- Add a little raw honey.
5. Cures Constipation
Fenugreek contains a good amount of soluble fiber that absorbs water in the intestines and adds bulk to the stools. This triggers contractions and helps move stools through the intestines easily to ease constipation.
It also relieves indigestion and stomach pain. Plus, it soothes gastrointestinal inflammation by coating the linings of the stomach and intestine to treat heartburn and acid reflux.
- Boil 1 cup of fenugreek leaves in sufficient water for 5 min. You don’t need to strain it. Cool the mixture, then add some honey. Consume it twice daily until you get rid of the constipation.
- To maintain regularity, eat ½ tablespoon of fenugreek seed powder along with 1 glass of warm water daily before going to bed.
Note: Fenugreek remedies for constipation are not recommended for very small children.
6. Curbs Joint Pain
Fenugreek is particularly beneficial for treating joint pain due to arthritis. It contains a compound known as diosgenin that aids the body’s production of cortisone and other corticosteroids, which help treat arthritis pain.
Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties also relieve pain and inflammation. Plus, the nutrients like calcium, iron and phosphorus in fenugreek are needed for healthy bones and tissues.
- Munch on 1 tablespoon of soaked fenugreek seeds daily in the morning to reduce joint pain.
- Also, make a paste of fenugreek seed powder and warm water. Apply this paste on the painful areas. Allow it to dry, then rinse it off with warm water. Use this remedy twice daily until the pain is gone.