The word ˜Fenugreek is derived from the Greek word ˜Foenum-Graecum which means ˜GreeK Hay. Although, a native of East Mediterranean and West Africa, Fenugreek is cultivated since the Bronze age and is greatly valued in ancient Egypt, and was even considered as a herb that induces childbirth during the 1500BC.
Fenugreek is a pungent, warming herb, well-known for its benefit of increasing lactation when consumed by lactating mothers, while also soothing the irritated tissues. The other benefits of the herb, as a blood sugar lowering agent and diabetes controller, and its heart-friendly properties are indeed well-known.
A recent study, published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition during the year 2007, indicated that Fenugreek also lowers cholesterol levels in an effective manner.
A study was conducted at the Jaipur Diabetes and Research Center in India, on 25 newly diagnosed patients with type 2 Diabetes, who were randomly divided into two groups. The Group 1 received one gram of Fenugreek seed extract, while the Group 2 received the usual exercise, diet-control, and placebo capsules for two months. At the end of two months, there was significant increase in HDL (Good cholesterol) levels, with decrease in triglyceride levels in the Group 1 category. Also, the Group 1 showed better insulin resistance and blood sugar control, than those in Group 2.
Yet another study which was published in the ˜Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal 2006, reveals that Fenugreek could even be used as a complimentary therapy in treating Cancer patients who undergo Chemotherapy. It is said that an alkaloid of the herb ˜trigonelline has the potential to treat cervical and liver cancers.
Both seeds and leaves of Fenugreek are used for medicinal purposes. Ayurveda considers it to be a useful rejuvenating herb. The Fenugreek seeds are used to alleviate bronchial and digestive problems, inflammation, debility, allergies and gout.
Fenugreek, being a common food used for culinary purposes, is generally considered as safe. The only side effect is the mild gastrointestinal distress when taken in high dosages. However, studies have confirmed that Fenugreek is essentially a non-toxic herb.