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Health Corner: Kitchen Herbs- Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Daana)

Pratibha Shah
08/04/2009

Kitchen Herbs- Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Daana)

Hope everyone is following the seasonal regimens as listed in my previous articles. Continuing on the Kitchen herbs, I am going to tell you about the health benefits of Fenugreek seeds, another common spice with medicinal properties, found in our kitchen and also the plant, which is also a medicinal herb.

Known in Latin as Trigonella foenum-graecum, Fenugreek is an annual herb, cultivated in almost all parts of India. According to Ayurved, the seeds are light in digestion and hot in potency, whereas the leaves are cold in potency. Fenugreek seeds are a rich source of carbohydrates, proteins, Vitamin A and C, iron, calcium and minerals. Apart from providing energy and roughage, Fenugreek seeds prevent constipation, improve digestion, stimulate liver and spleen, purify blood and serve as appetizer. The twigs and leaves of the plant are also used as poultice for ulcers, boils and abscess.

Fenugreek seeds have the following medicinal properties:
-    Like some of the previous spices that I have written about, Fenugreek seeds are excellent galactogogues, and hence are used in lack of proper lactation in nursing mothers.
-    They also tone the uterus very well and have a cleansing action on it. That is why ‘laddoos’, an Indian sweet, specially made with methi seeds, are given to mothers in the post partum period, to cleanse the uterus, to increase production of milk (and the milk produced is of high quality), to increase appetite and to keep the bowels clean.
-    Fenugreek seeds are effectively used in treating Rheumatoid arthritis, because of their anti-inflammatory and nervine tonic action. A paste made up of the seeds or leaves can be applied locally to relieve pain and to reduce swelling. Seeds can be administered internally, after soaking and crushing them to get relief from pain and swelling.
-    Sprouted seeds or soaked (overnight) and crushed seeds, when taken daily in the morning, on an empty stomach, bring down blood sugar levels.
-    Same formulation can be used to bring down fever.
-    Paste of seeds is also used to make skin soft and improve complexion.
-    Its application to the scalp is recommended in hair loss.
-    Regular consumption of seeds increases body strength and is also known to increase libido.
-    Since the leaves have a cooling effect, a paste of the leaves is applied on the body and also administered internally in cases of heat stroke.

Recent studies have shown blood cholesterol lowering and blood glucose-lowering properties of fenugreek seeds. And what is even more encouraging is that it has been shown to lower only the bad cholesterol. The galactogogue properties of fenugreek seeds have also been proven by research. Definitely a potent spice in the kitchen. Keep it handy!!!



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