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Fenugreek

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

Description

Fenugreek is a type of an annual plant that belongs to the Fabaceae family. Being a semi-arid crop, this herb is cultivated in many parts of the world. In Indian sub content, Pakistan and other parts around this region, this plant serves as an ingredient of many dishes. In countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Egypt, Spain, China, Turkey, France, Argentina and Morocco, this plant is produced as a crop. Apart from being an effective herb, fenugreek also has an appetizing fragrance. Basically, Fenugreek has three main uses. It is used as a herb, a spice and a vegetable. It is very common to find distinctive yellow cuboid-shaped seeds of this plant in Indian cuisines.

 

Medicinal Uses

There has been a lot of research that has been carried out to ascertain the medicinal effectiveness of this plant. In June 2011, a study carried out by the Australian center for Integrative Clinical and Molecular medicine ascertained that Fenugreek has the ability to boost libido in men when taken twice per day in six weeks. The major active ingredients in Fenugreek are the polysaccharide galactomannan. There are also the saponins which include yamogenin, tigogenin, gitogenin, neotigogns and diosgenin. Other bioactive elements in Fenugreek include volatile oils, alkaloids and mucilage.  Over the years, fenugreek has been used as a traditional medicine in China. Herbalists in other parts of the world have also used this herb in treating a wide array of medical conditions. It has been used in tonifying the kidney and alleviating pain.

 

This plant has also been used in relieving joint pains, treating diabetes, heart diseases and abdominal illnesses. It is also used in strengthening pregnant women and facilitating production of milk in breastfeeding women. It has also been used in relieving the effects of metabolic symptoms that are brought by diabetes one and two. Fenugreek has been prescribed by medical practitioners as a supplement for diabetic persons. Fenugreek has also been used in the treatment of skin conditions. It helps in treating boils, irritation and eczema. In treating such skin conditions, fenugreek powder is applied on the affected part of the skin directly.

 

Dosage and Administration

Considering that fenugreek can be administered orally or even applied on the affected part of the body, there is no conventional dosage for its use as a herb. It is usually taken as capsules or crushed seeds. Seed powder can be used to make tea or even added to dishes. Nevertheless, majority of the herbalists who prescribe this herb to their patients recommends that they use it at least three times per day. Each dose should have 1 to 5 grams of fenugreek powder. It can also be taken as a supplement. However, it is important to note that high doses are not recommended. Although being natural herbs are believed to have less or no side effects, this herb can have adverse effects on the user if not taken properly.

 

Parts Used

The main parts of fenugreeks that are used are the seeds and the leaves. They have medicinal properties that help on relieving digestion problems. Chemical properties of this herb also help in treating diarrhea, bloating and restoring the normal functioning of the digestive system. There are cases where people having anorexia have shown improvement after using this herb.

 

Benefits

There are many benefits associated with the use of this herb. It is a natural product that helps in relieving pain and discomfort. Being available naturally in some parts of the world, this herb is cheap and easy to find. It can also be used as an external treatment or used orally as part of a meal. This makes using this herb easy.

 

Side Effects

Although this herb has many benefits, it can have side effects if it is not used properly. Some users have reported side effects after using this herb. Among the most common side effects are allergic reactions. These include;

  • Swelling on the joints.
  • Smelling urine after taking it in large doses.
  • Numbness.

 

It is also important to note that this herb can react with some drugs. Therefore, consult your doctor, physician or pharmacist before you start using it especially if you are already on medication.

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