Fenugreek, also known as Greek Hay and Fenigreek or Methi (in India), is an herb, commonly found growing in the Mediterranean regions and Asia. Especially in India, Fenugreek seeds have a long heritage of use as a medicinal plant and culinary spice. Ayurveda recommends Fenugreek seeds for treating reproductive disorders, to induce labor, to treat hormonal disorders, to help with breast enlargement, to increase milk flow for nursing mothers and to reduce menstrual pain.
Recent studies have shown that Fenugreek helps lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels, and may be an effective treatment for both type 1 and 2 diabetes. Fenugreek is also being studied for its cardiovascular benefits and treatment of certain cancers. Here are some common health benefits of Fenugreek seeds.
Diabetes: Clinical studies in India found 25 grams of fenugreek seed lower blood-glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Additionally, studies indicate that 4-hydroxyisoleucine (an amino acid) found in fenugreek may promote the production of insulin when blood sugar levels are elevated.
Home Remedy for Cholesterol: A study in India found people who took 25 grams of fenugreek seed each day had significantly lower cholesterol levels after 24 weeks. The seeds can be sprinkled onto prepared food.
Digestive Health: Fenugreek has the ability to aid the digestive process. Fenugreek contains a substantial amount of mucilaginous fiber. The mucilage found in fenugreek does not dissolve but instead swells when mixed with fluids. Since the body cannot digest the mucilage from fenugreek, it acts as an effective laxative.
Heartburn: The mucilage in Fenugreek seeds helps sooth gastrointestinal inflammation by coating the lining of the stomach and intestine. Swallow one teaspoon of Fenugreek seeds with water before you start to eat, it will help you control heartburns.
Pregnant Women: Since historic times, Fenugreek is used to stimulate uterine contractions and can be helpful to induce childbirth. However, pregnant women should only use Fenugreek for inducing labor after consulting with their doctor.
Increase Milk: Fenugreek has been known to increase milk production in lactating women. Research has even shown that milk production can increase by over 500 percent within 24 to 72 hours after consuming fenugreek. Traditional Indian Diet for lactating women uses fenugreek seeds.
Breast Enlargement: For centuries, the fenugreek seeds have a reputation as breast enlargers. . Fenugreek is often used in commercial preparations formulated to help balance women's hormones and/or enlarge the breasts. Fenugreek seeds contain a fair amount of diosgenin, a chemical compound that is often associated with female sex hormone estrogen. This hormone causes growth of breast cells. However, there is not much modern day scientific evidence connecting fenugreek to breast enlargement