7 Health Benefits of the Herb Fenugreek

The herb fenugreek may have been used for thousands of years in Indian and Asian cooking as a flavor addition to curries, but it is only recently getting more attention from the Western world. That’s because this plant that is also known as Trigonella foenum-graecum offers many health benefits. Here are some of the many health benefits of this delicious, nutritious and healing herb.

fenugreek in a bowl with a spoon

Healing Skin Conditions

In addition to cooking, fenugreek has a long history in the treatment of skin conditions in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

Diabetes Treatment

Fenugreek has been used in traditional herbal medicines as a natural way to reduce high blood sugar levels. In an older study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found a 54 percent improvement in clearance of blood sugars in the urine of diabetics after treatment with fenugreek.

Nutrition Boost

While it is unlikely you’ll eat much fenugreek at a time, unless you’re sprouting them and adding them to your meals on a regular basis, just two tablespoons of seeds contain some valuable nutrients, including: 3 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 6 grams carbohydrates (the good kind), 1 gram of fat, 20 percent of your daily iron needs, 7 percent of your daily manganese requirements and 5 percent of your daily magnesium needs. You’ll want to grind the seeds in a spice blender/coffee grinder or sprout them since they are hard.

Insufficient Breast Milk

If you’re nursing a baby and having difficulty producing sufficient breast milk, you might want to add fenugreek to your diet. A study in the Journal of Pediatric Sciences found that fenugreek was helpful in increasing breast milk production as well as increasing the weight of the babies who were nursed. The women in the study drank fenugreek herbal tea to obtain the results.

Boosting Testosterone Levels in Men

As men age they are vulnerable to declining levels of testosterone which can impact their energy, motivation and libido. In a study published in the World Journal of Men’s Health, researchers found that fenugreek significantly improved the symptoms of testosterone deficiency syndrome (TDS), which is the formal name for chronically low levels of the hormone in men. While the study only explored the effects on men, it is possible that it may have similar effects on women, who are also vulnerable to low levels of this hormone, particularly after menopause. Another study found that fenugreek also improved sexual function in men.

Reducing Cholesterol

In the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, researchers also found a reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is referred to by many as the “bad cholesterol.” While it is not intrinsically bad and actually serves a purpose in the body (blood vessel repair), excessive amounts has been linked to brain diseases and other health problems.

Appetite Reduction

Research shows that fenugreek may reduce one’s appetite, which may be beneficial for those who have trouble reducing the amount of food they ingest and suffer weight issues as a result. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that people spontaneously reduced their fat intake when using fenugreek.

How to Use Fenugreek

Some people describe the taste as a slightly sweet, nutty flavor but I find fenugreek has a slight maple flavor, which is delicious. Most of the fenugreek plant can be used, including its fresh or dried seeds, leaves, twigs and roots as a spice, the seeds can be sprouted and eaten on sandwiches, wraps or in salads, or the dried herb is often encapsulated into herbal supplements or tea. Follow package instructions for the herbal supplements you select. Avoid using if you have low blood sugar levels or while pregnant as fenugreek has been reported to cause uterine contractions. If you’re sprouting fenugreek seeds be sure to eat them before they get too long as they begin to develop a slight bitter taste.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, preserving, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist:  Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking. Follow her work.

 

53 comments

Carolyn Bateman
Carolyn Bateman24 days ago

The owner of our local health food store says it's also great for clearing nasal passages and a friend of mine swears by it for that.

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Mike R
Mike R25 days ago

Thanks

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Kathy K
Kathy K26 days ago

Thanks.

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Maria P
Martha P27 days ago

Thanks

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Nancy W
Nancy W27 days ago

any recipes? not a fan of the tea.

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Barbara S
Barbara S28 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Christine Stewart

thanks

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Irene S
Irene S28 days ago

Very well, but I don´t like the taste.

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Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan Hill28 days ago

sounds good.

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Lisa M
Lisa M28 days ago

Thanks.

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