Fenugreek is an edible plant that is found in many parts of western Asia and Europe. Many people eat the leaves, but the small brown seeds are more known for their medical uses. Fenugreek has been used in ancient Egypt since 1500 BCE. The seeds are also used as spice in Middle Eastern and South Asian countries. In India, the greens are used in a variety of dishes.
Ancient practitioners of Chinese and Ayurvedic traditional medicine used the fenugreek herb to treat several kinds of health problems. These problems included skin conditions, fatigue, slow metabolism, and digestion issues. Fenugreek, also known as Trigonella foenum-graecum, has been around as a medicinal agent for more than a thousand of years with uses such as:
1. Appetite Stimulant
The ancient Greeks as well as the Romans used this herb as food for their livestock because their sick animals ate it. This is why it is named fenugreek, which actually translates to Greek hay.
2. Digestive Issues
Herbalists use fenugreek to cure digestive problems, even some of the serious ones. Because of its high fiber content, it can help prevent constipation and is even included in the diet of those with ulcerative colitis.
3. Bad Cholesterol Fighter
Fenugreek may also be beneficial for those who have heart conditions, including atherosclerosis and high triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Just 2.5 grams of the seeds twice a day continuously consumed for three months can help lower cholesterol naturally.
Fenugreek and Diabetes
What’s really notable though is fenugreek’s use in diabetes management. There are a number of studies that support the herb when it comes to lowering blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. The seeds contain high amounts of fiber as well as other chemicals that can slow down the digestion and the absorption of carbohydrates and sugar in the body. Consuming fenugreek seeds daily may also help in proper use of sugar and even increase the production of insulin.
Fenugreek and Hormones
Some studies also show that fenugreek can heal the body by means of balancing the endocrine system. In doing so, this can result to boosted testosterone levels and even sexual function in men. A study showed that 600 mg of fenugreek every day for a total of six weeks can increase strength and improve libido effectively.
Fenugreek is generally safe for everyone, but as with other additions to your normal diet, always consult with your physician even if they’re natural foods, such as herbs. The healthy seeds though are easy to add to your diet by using them as spice blends. You can even drink fenugreek tea or add powdered fenugreek to your yogurt.