Fenugreek has been… and still is an integral ingredient in many Indian cuisines across the subcontinent. Known as Methika in Sanskrit and Methi in Hindi, the herb is a revered spice, flavoring agent, and medicinal plant in households across India.
Its flavor and numerous health benefits have made it a primary ingredient in a variety of bakery products, pickles, beverages, pickles, and spices. Apart from this, Fenugreek also boasts of possessing industrial applications, mainly being used for synthesizing steroidal hormones.
Despite being a primary flavoring agent, the food industry has only recognized its merits with regard to healthcare in recent years. In fact, it is now widely being recognized as a potential nutraceutical. A neutraceutical is known as a food that harbors both nutritional as well as pharmaceutical properties.
In this article, we will make you privy to an array of benefits that Fenugreek has in store for the overall wellbeing of our mind and body. We will also look at how you can incorporate this precious spice into your daily diet without a hassle.
Fenugreek from the Perspective of Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, Fenugreek exhibits qualities that make it light to digest (Laghu). It is also pungent and bitter in taste. As far as its impact on doshas is concerned, it can be used to balance both Vata and Kapha dosha due to its hot potency.
It is these very properties that make Fenugreek an effective food to overcome anorexia, stimulate the digestive fire, and alleviate an aggravated vata dosha.
Fenugreek seeds harbor some of the most beneficial nutrients needed by the human body. These seeds are a rich source of Folic acid, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, Vitamin A, C, K, and B6. They also harbor copper, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, and manganese.
Suffice to say, its overwhelming nutritional content alone makes Fenugreek a must-have food item in your everyday diet.
The Benefits of Fenugreek
1 – Helps with Digestion
Fenugreek being warming in nature and bitter in taste can prove to be an exceptional aid in building one’s appetite and promoting healthy digestion. Fenugreek can move vata downwards, thus alleviating occasional discomfort and gas. The seeds also keep the plasma and blood in your body healthy due to their role in strengthening the central digestive system.
Also, you can keep the body from absorbing unnecessary amounts of cholesterol if you chew and eat your seeds, thanks in large part because of their high fiber content. It is this very high fiber content that makes fenugreek an effective agent in keeping your bowels healthy.
Tea for Digestion
Fenugreek seeds steeped in a cup of hot water can be very effective in helping you with smooth digestion. Simply take a tsp. of Fenugreek seeds, steep it into a cup of hot water for 5-10 minutes, and drink it warm.
Alternatively, you can soak 1 tsp. of fenugreek seeds overnight, and eat them first thing in the morning.
2 – Healthy Libido
An inefficient libido can be a cause of humiliation for adult males. Thankfully, Ayurveda has tackled this condition with phenomenal effectiveness for thousands of years. Its most prominent ally in helping with the same has been Fenugreek. It is perhaps Fenugreek’s nurturing and grounding aspects that make it extremely beneficial in promoting optimal reproductive health.
In a randomized placebo study, which was conducted with 60 healthy males, it was found that the ones who received 600 mg of Fenugreek extract for six weeks exhibited improved strength, energy, stamina, and sexual arousal.
Seeds with Ghee
Ayurveda recommends sautéing a tsp. of seeds with ghee and having it with a glass of milk before bedtime to see improvement in one’s libido.
3 – Promoting Healthy Lactation
Ayurveda has always recommended fenugreek seeds to help build healthy milk flow in nursing mothers. Recent studies have shown that fenugreek’s possession of compounds like phytoestrogens, diosgenin is what makes it great to promote healthy lactation.
In a study conducted on 66 nursing mothers, it was observed that mothers who drank tea containing fenugreek seeds helped their infants regain their birth weight faster than the groups that were controlled or under placebo.
The study also showed an increase in the volume of measured breast milk in mothers who drank fenugreek seeds containing tea.
Ayurveda recommends soaking 1 tsp. of fenugreek seeds overnight and do eat them first thing in the morning for best results.
4 – Soothe your Skin
If applied externally, Fenugreek can whisk away the excess pitta accumulated on your skin, thus restoring the youthfulness of your skin. Its rich antioxidant content also helps with collagen production, which is responsible for healing wounds faster, fighting wrinkles, overcoming premature aging, acne and so much more.
Make a paste
Grind the seeds into a powder and turn it into a thick paste to be applied to the skin. You can also add the grinded powder to a hot bath for the best results.
Proceed with Caution!
Although Fenugreek can have an array of life-changing benefits for the human body, there are certain precautions that must be taken when incorporating it into your daily lifestyle. For starters, people with ulcers should stay away from Fenugreek. Overconsumption of fenugreek can cause complications like dryness of skin, diarrhea, and indigestion.
There are also studies that suggest adverse side effects like DNA damage, diminished fertility, miscarriage, and neurological problems if fenugreek is consumed in excess.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, Fenugreek has been at the forefront of Ayurveda in helping overcome a variety of chronic and benign health conditions. If taken in appropriate amounts, the spice can not only flavor your food but also balance your Kapha and Vata dosha.
There are a number of studies with fenugreek as its subject, trying to unlock all of the benefits it harbors. As such, in the near future, we might see fenugreek being the key ingredient used against an array of chronic health conditions including diabetes and cancer.
For now, we recommend you use Fenugreek in small quantities to promote a healthy libido, rekindle your digestive fire, and soothe an ailing skin. Please consult your Ayurvedic Practitioner to know what amount of fenugreek is appropriate for you, and what method of consumption would be best suited.