Fenugreek popularly called Methi & Vendhayam in India has wonderful medicinal uses and health benefits. Since we use it extensively both in remedies and cooking, we always stock it at home. Many of us think that fenugreek is mainly used for promoting hair growth and treating scalp problems like dandruff and use it mainly in the form of fenugreek hair pack.
But you will surprised to know that it has many other wonderful medicinal uses. It can be used for skin care, treat indigestion and for reducing high cholesterol and blood sugar leaves. I would suggest you get to know both it’s health benefits and side effects so you will be able to use it for treating wide variety of problems.
What Is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is an annual plant with compound leaves and brown seeds. Fenugreek is native to India and Africa and has been in use from ancient times. The seeds are used widely as a spice and you will never find an Indian kitchen without it.
The leaves popularly called methi leaves are also consumed widely and they are very very nutritious. Fenugreek seeds have a bitter taste and should be used only in small quantities else the food will turn bitter.
Fenugreek Seeds Botanical & Common Names:
The botanical name of fenugreek seeds is Trigonella Foenum-Graecum. Fenugreek seeds are called Methi Dana in Hindi, Vendhayam in Tamil, Menthulu in Telugu, Menthe in Kannada and Ventiam in Malayalam.
Fenugreek Seeds Nutrition:
Side Effects Of Fenugreek Seeds:
- When consuming internally in small amounts, it does not cause any problems at all. But in excess it can lead to upset stomach for some as it is very high in fibre.
- People who are taking thyroid medication should practice caution when taking excessive amount of fenugreek seeds.
- The only problem when applying it externally on the scalp is that anyone who is prone to sinus or asthma can’t use it as it is very cooling and will aggravate the problem. To be on the safer side, don’t let it soak for a long time (max 10 minutes) when you are using it the first time. Once you are comfortable then you can let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
Where to Buy Fenugreek Seeds?
How To Consume Fenugreek Seeds?
Fenugreek Seeds Dosage:
10 Top Medicinal Uses Of Fenugreek Seeds:
1. Anti Diabetic Properties:
Fenugreek seeds are a real boon to diabetic patients. They not only help reduce high blood sugar levels of diabetic patients, they also prevent diabetes in pre diabetic patients. Just 1 tsp daily will greatly help prevent diabetes.
Try to include fenugreek seeds in the diet often to maintain stable blood sugar levels. You can either soak a tsp of fenugreek seeds in water the previous day and have it the next day morning or boil it in water and have it as fenugreek tea.
If you are a diabetic please monitor your blood sugar levels closely while consuming fenugreek seeds as it significantly lowers blood sugar levels. You can read the study that supports this claim here.
2. Anti Obesity Properties:
Fenugreek extract has been proven to inhibit fat accumulation and has been proven to have anti obesity properties. Fenugreek seeds greatly reduces plasma triglyceride gain and you can read the study that supports this claim here.
Also any ingredient that keeps us full for longer periods of time results in natural weight loss, keeps the blood sugar levels stable and also prevents snacking.
If you consume any dish made with fenugreek seeds like fenugreek dosa or fenugreek porridge, it will keep you fuller for longer periods of time preventing you from reaching for fattening snacks.
3. Anti Inflammatory Properties:
Fenugreek seeds have been been clinically proven to have anti inflammatory properties, you can read the study that supports this claim here. Fenugreek seeds can also be used to treat inflammations caused due to allergies.
Traditionally, fenugreek has been used for reducing arthritic pain, fenugreek seed extract greatly eases both the pain and inflammation. To use for arthritis or any joint pain, soak the seeds and have it the next day, I like to soak the methi seeds in curd as it is easier to eat.
4. Antioxidant Properties:
Fenugreek seeds have wonderful antioxidant properties. Consuming antioxidant rich foods is vital for good health as they fight off free radicals in the body which are the main reason for premature ageing of the skin.
Though you can consume fenugreek seeds as it is, I would highly recommend germinating the seeds for best results as it has even more antioxidant properties.
5. For Treating PCOS:
Polycystic ovarian syndrome also called pcos in short is unfortunately increasing due to change in our life style and food habits. Pcos is associated with obesity, infertility and insulin resistance but there are wonderful natural ingredients that greatly help women suffering from pcos and one such ingredient is fenugreek.
Insulin resistance is one of the major problems of pcos leading to diabetes, taking fenugreek seeds regularly will greatly help prevent it. Consuming fenugreek seeds regulates the glucose levels in the body and helps lower high blood sugar levels. You can read the study that supports this claim here. In my home I use fenugreek seeds for making idli batter, that way we consume fenugreek seeds every single day.
6. Anti Cancer Properties:
Fenugreek seeds are also great for cancer prevention. Fenugreek seeds have been proven to kill cancer cells. They are also great for cancer prevention, you can read the study that proves it here.
I greatly believe in our traditional practices because our elders have already perfected using most of the ingredients, all we have to do is to follow it precisely. Same goes with fenugreek seeds, traditionally we add certain amount in cooking and if we continue to do that I am sure we can get all the benefits it offers without any benefits.
7. Galactagogue Properties:
Traditionally there are certain ingredients that are given to breast feeding mothers that boosts breast milk and one such ingredient is fenugreek.
This traditional practice has been backed by research, you can read the study that supports this claim here. Fenugreek is an excellent galactagogue and has been used for centuries for it. At home, we make fenugreek porridge regularly.
Usually you will start noticing increase in breast milk supply within a day or two of consuming fenugreek seeds but for some women it might take longer. You can find the recipes for consuming during breast feeding here.
8. Fenugreek For Men:
Fenugreek seeds have been proven to reduce the DHT levels which is the main cause for male pattern baldness in men. Applying fenugreek as a hair pack and also taking it internally will help men suffering from male pattern baldness.
Try to apply fenugreek hair pack at least weekly twice to see good results. Fenugreek also increases libido and this has been proven scientifically, you can read it here.
9. Anti Ulcer Properties:
Fenugreek seeds are great for treating ulcers, here in my place we make a porridge out of fenugreek seeds to treat ulcers. A handful of broken rice is cooked along with 1 tbsp of fenugreek seeds, 1/4 tsp of cumin seeds and required amount of coconut milk till it’s mushy.
Add required amount of salt and your best home remedy for ulcer is ready! Take this porridge for a few days and you will get good relief from ulcer pain. There is also a clinical research to support this traditional use, you can find it here.
10. Fenugreek Seeds For Dandruff:
I don’t even have to site a research for this use as I know personally that fenugreek seeds help prevent dandruff. Once I started getting dandruff, my mother applied dandruff hair pack for me continuously weekly twice to prevent it.
I continue to do it till today and it has kept me dandruff free. Luckily I can apply fenugreek hair pack even for long duration’s of time and experience no side effects at all but people who are prone to sinus infections might have problems when applying fenugreek hair pack.
10 Top Ways To Use Fenugreek For Hair, Skin & Health
Fenugreek Benefits For Hair :
1.Fenugreek Hair Mask for Hair Fall:
Fenugreek hair packs can be made by either using fenugreek powder or grinding the seeds and I usually add conditioning ingredients like coconut oil or curd to it. Fenugreek hair mask treats dandruff and stimulates hair growth and to this day, I continue using fenugreek hair mask. After using fenugreek hair mask, you will find your hair silky smooth. Like I mentioned before, if you are prone to sinus infection, do not use fenugreek mask. You can find step by step instructions on how to do it here
2. Fenugreek Hair Oil:
Fenugreek hair oil is so very effective for treating premature greying and for conditioning the hair. Like fenugreek hair mask, the hair oil is also very effective and using both the fenugreek oil and the hair mask together is a great hair treatment. But if you have sinus infection, try using this oil only as a pre shampoo treatment. You can find how to make it here.
Fenugreek Benefits For Skin:
3. Fenugreek Powder For Itchy Skin:
Some people suffer from itchy skin, even small insect bites will trigger intense itchiness of the skin. A simple homemade bath powder made with 350 gms of fenugreek, 100 gms of turmeric, 100 gms of kasthuri turmeric & 100 gms of white turmeric and used as a bath powder eliminates body itching very effectively.
To make this powder, sun dry all the ingredients and powder it finely and store in an air tight container. When you suffer from itching, take this powder and mix it into a paste with water and apply all over the body, wait for few minutes before washing it off.
On the day you are using this powder, make sure not to use soap or other chemicals on the skin. Even people prone to skin allergies will benefit from using this powder.
4. Fenugreek Face Cream:
Fenugreek face massage cream is an excellent skin conditioner and since it gels when mixed with water, the consistency will also feel perfect to use as a massage cream. You can’t use it as a leave on cream but it is one of the best face massage creams I have used so far. If you make it exactly like I mentioned, you will get the best benefits. You can find the video recipe here.
Fenugreek Benefits For Health:
4. Fenugreek For Stomach Disorders:
This home remedy is very common in our home. We use this remedy when we have stomach cramps accompanied by diarrhea. We call it “Vaitru kaduppu” in Tamil. This problem commonly occurs when we eat out a lot and consume very greasy foods.
When I was younger, this is one home remedy that I was ready to consume any time because it has honey. For this home remedy, fry fenugreek in an empty kadai till golden and powder finely in a mortar and pestle. Mix the powder with good quality honey.
It is easier to make the children eat it as the fenugreek taste is masked by the sweetness of honey. Give this mixture thrice with an interval of 2 hrs. Writing these remedies that I have grown up with gives me so much pleasure.
5. Fenugreek Tea:
A simple tea made with fenugreek seeds reduces hot flushes in women, stabilizes blood sugar levels and is very good for people suffering from constipation. Making this tea is simplicity itself, take fenugreek seeds and crush lightly using a mortar and pestle.
Now take them in a pot and add boiling hot water to it, let it steep for a few minutes before straining. You can sweeten with honey too. Fenugreek tea has been consumed all over the world for it’s wonderful benefits.
6. Fenugreek For Convalescence:
Usually after getting fever, our body will be weak and will not be able to digest heavy foods. So we usually make a porridge | Kanji with fenugreek seeds and broken rice and give to the patients. This is easy on the stomach and heals them faster.
For making the kanji, grind 1/4 cup of rice coarsely in a dry mixer and take it in a cooker along with a tsp of fenugreek seeds and cook till mushy. Now remove the lid and add 1/4 cup of fresh coconut milk along with a bit of salt.
Do not boil it for longer, just heat it lightly and switch off. The mixture should be like a runny soup. Both coconut milk and fenugreek heals wounds caused in the stomach after a course of antibiotics.
7. Fenugreek For Sore Throat:
Fenugreek infusion made by boiling fenugreek seeds with water to a thicker concentrate when used as a gargle relieves sore throat. To make this home remedy, soak fenugreek in water for an hour and then boil with the same soaked water for 15 to 20 minutes in a very low flame.
Once it is cooked, strain and while it is still warm, mix little bit of salt to it and gargle with this infusion. People with sore throat can use this infusion to gargle often to get rid of sore throat fast.
8. Fenugreek For Diabetes:
Fenugreek seeds are amazing for diabetic patients. It is hard to consume raw fenugreek seeds but if you soak them in curd overnight, it is much easier to eat them. We include fenugreek seeds in our diet in a number of ways, we include it in our seasonings, dosa batter and kanji, etc.
All the dishes made with fenugreek keeps us fuller for a longer period of time reducing unwanted cravings. I have never struggled with finding ways to include fenugreek in the diet because all our traditional dishes include fenugreek.
If you are a diabetic, try not to eat out a lot and consume our traditional foods like fenugreek dosai, fenugreek porridge along with other whole grain recipes to stabilize the blood sugar levels.
9. Fenugreek For Lactating mothers:
Fenugreek seeds are very good for lactating mothers. In many parts of India, fenugreek halwa made with fenugreek seeds and karupatti is given to newly delivered moms. To make the halwa, soak 1/4 cup idli rice, 2 tbsp fenugreek seeds and a tbsp of urad dal overnight, the next day rinse the soaked mixture once and grind to a paste along with a pinch of salt and a cup of water.
Take the ground mixture in a pan and cook in medium flame. Now heat 3/4th cup of karupatti with little water and once melted, strain and add it to the ground mixture. Add in 2 tbsp of sesame oil and cook till thick, when the mixture starts leaving the sides, add in a tbsp of ghee and cardamom powder and switch off.
This halwa increases immunity and should be included in the diet of new moms. This halwa also increases the breast milk supply, try to include fenugreek seeds more in the diet if you are a lactating mother.
10. Fenugreek Poultice For Inflamed Skin:
Fenugreek poultice is very effective for treating inflamed skin. To make the poultice, take fenugreek seeds and soak it in water for an hour, grind it finely in a mixer. Now powder a small piece of dry ginger and add to the ground paste. Heat the mixture in a low flame till it is slightly warm and apply this paste on the inflamed areas. You will find this remedy very effective for treating inflammation.