Fenugreek is commonly found growing in Mediterranean regions of southern Europe, where both the seeds and leaves are used primarily as a culinary spice. The seeds of the fenugreek herb are an effective nutritional supplement and have also been used by herbalists for many centuries for the health benefits it provides.Health Benefits of Fenugreek
The active constituents in fenugreek are alkaloids, lysine and L-tryptophan. It also contains steroidal saponins (diosgenin, yamogenin, tigogenin, and neotigogenin) and mucilaginous fiber which are believed to be responsible for many of the beneficial effects fenugreek exhibits.
The chemical compounds found in fenugreek have the ability to aid the digestive process. Consequently, when taken with meals it is believed that fenugreek is able to slow down the rate at which sugars are absorbed into the body, whereby regulating blood sugar levels. Additionally, studies indicate that 4-hydroxyisoleucine (an amino acid) found in fenugreek may induce or promote the production of insulin when blood sugar levels are elevated.
In studies of animals and humans with both Diabetes and High Cholesterol levels, fenugreek appeared not only to regulate blood sugar levels but also lower levels of harmful cholesterol. However, in studies of those who did not have diabetes, a similar effect was not reported.
As mentioned previously 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 is believed to be an effective laxative.
As an external application fenugreek may sooth irritated skin and relieve surface aches and pains.
A number of various fenugreek product reviews are available at NutritionalTree.com.Dosage and Administration
A common dosage for diabetes or cholesterol-lowering is 5 to 30 grams with each meal or 15 to 90 grams per day. As a tincture, 3 to 4 ml of fenugreek can be taken up to three times per day.
Fenugreek tea is prepared by soaking 500 mg of the seed in about 5 ounces of cold water for at least 3 hours. The seeds are then strained out of the liquid before drinking the tea, which can be heated or ingested cold.
For topical use, an application is made by mixing 50,000 mg (50 grams) of fenugreek seed powder with up to about one quart of hot water and letting the mixture stand until it makes a thick gel. A soft cloth is then covered with the gel and applied to an aching or injured area of skin surface. Supporting LiteratureBordia A, Verma SK, Srivastava KC. Effect of ginger and fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum L) on blood lipids, blood sugar, and platelet aggregation in patients with coronary artery disease. Prostagland Leukotrienes Essential Fatty Acids 1997;56:379-384.
Ribes G, Sauvaire Y, Da Costa C, et al. Antidiabetic effects of subfractions from fenugreek seeds in diabetic dogs. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1986;182:159-165.
Sharma RD, Rao NS, Raghuram TC. Effect of fenugreek seeds on blood glucose and serum lipids in type I diabetes. Eur. Clinic Nutrition 1990;44:301-305.