Trigonella foenum-graecum Fabaceae/Leguminosae

Or(~illally found beside the Black Sea,jellugreek is a widely grown in India, north Africa and the United States. The plant grows to a height of about 50cm and is strongly aromatic. It has oval leaves and triangular flowers, which range color from yellow to bright purple. The long curved seedpods many brown seeds, used in Indian cooking as a pungent.

Parts used

  • Seeds
  • The seedpods are picked when ripe in August and September.
  • The pods are stripped away and the seeds are made into a liquid extract or tincture, or ground and sold as powder or in tablet form.


The main constituent of fenugreek is mucilage, a soluble fibre that soaks up water, forming a jelly-like substance. The seeds also contain coumarins, steroidal saponins which have a hormone-mimicking effect), a volatile oil that gives the seeds their aroma, and alkaloids.


For internal use

TO TREAT fatigue, weight loss POWDER Take 2g in a little water three times a day. TINCTURE (1:3 in 2S% alcohol) Put 20 drops in a little cold water. Take three times a day. (The solution tastes bitter.) TABLETS (SOOmg) Take 1 tablet four times a day.

For external use

TO TREAT skin inflammation POULTICE (using the powder) Apply to the affected part, changing the compress every 3-4 hours.


Medicinal uses

Fenugreek has a tonic effect that helps to combat tiredness and speeds convalescence. And because it is rich in mucilage, which coats mucous membranes protecting them from irritants, it soothes painful digestive disorders. Mucilage gives bulk to stools and lubricates the bowel, thereby easing painful constipation.

In 2001 diabetes researchers in Jaipur, India noted that fenugreek lowers blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetes mellitus, reducing resistance to insulin and removing excess triglycerides in the blood. And Indian research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmaco/ogy in 2002 showed. the seeds' anti-ulcer properties.

Medical herbalists prescribe fenugreek to treat anorexia, but its bulking effects can also aid dieting by making the stomach feel full. The fibre and saponin in fenugreek are known to reduce cholesterol and blood lipids, while its hormonal qualities are reported to combat loss of virility in men.Externally, a poultice of fenugreek powder reduces skin inflammation and relieves pain.


Plant seeds in a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position.


  • Fenugreek is not toxic and is considered completely safe.
  • It contains steroid compounds and should not be taken by children before they reach puberty.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take more of the spice than is normally found in food.


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