Otherwise known as fenugreek the trigonella foenum graecum has been used as a flavouring agent in foods since ancient times. Both the seeds and the leaves have potent medicinal value. Indigenous to Eastern Europe, the plant is grown widely in Southern France, Turkey, China, India and Africa. The traditional medical systems of Italy, Greece, Rome and Egypt give fenugreek a special regard.
The fenugreek is an erect shrub that grows to the height of about 60 cm. It is an aromatic herbal plant growing compound leaves that have long pedicles and are about 5 cm in length. The obovate leaflets have a slightly toothed margin and the fruits are leguminous pods. The flowers are either single or in pairs and yellow in colour.
Fenugreek as an herb is known to possess many relieving powers. It soothes the tissues, stimulates the uterus, improves digestion and controls blood sugar. Other benefits include:
Works as an expectorant
Relieves painful menstruation
Improves lactation in nursing mothers
Good for weight reduction, anorexia and appetite
It also relieves kidney related pain
Sprouts of the seeds are commonly used in salads
The seeds contain:
Some amounts of alkaloid
Fenugreek contains and natural emollient known as lecithin that has the ability to strengthen and moisturise hair. Its high protein content has a restorative ability and can rejuvenate damaged and lost hair.