one of the oldest medicinal herbs around. It was used by the ancient
Egyptians as early as the 16th century BCE, and then
later in ancient Greece, though
mainly as a spice; a spice that just happened to help digestive
experienced resurgence in
when it was discovered that it manipulated and balanced female
hormones and helped to enlarge a woman’s breasts.
But way back in
ancient Egypt it was
also used in the mummification and embalming process.
brought fenugreek to
where it was quickly incorporated into their cooking. The ground up
seeds are found in most curries and chutneys, and the leaves, which
are high in protein, are found in many dishes. It is also an Indian
pickling spice, but in Indian cooking, pickles are quite different
from what we call pickles. From
A Taste of India's web
site, I found this: "A pickle is a fresh marinated relish
that is usually eaten in small amounts to add flavor and to accent a
meal. There are hundreds of pickles made and eaten in India. No meal
is complete without them."
Getting back to
the hormonal influence, unlike flax and soy that contain phyto-hormones,
fenugreek seeds contain hormone precursors; hormone precursors that
increase a nursing mother’s milk supply; a fact that has scientists
scratching their heads because no one has yet to figure out how. I
learned from one
web site that “Some believe it is possible because breasts are
modified sweat glands, and fenugreek stimulates sweat production.”
Once milk production is up (could take 2 to 4 days), the mother can
stop taking the fenugreek supplement.
Oh, and get
this. The side effect of taking fenugreek supplements is your urine
and sweat might start to smell like maple syrup. However, taking too
much can cause hypoglycemia and diarrhea. Mothers who have asthma or
peanut allergies are cautioned against taking fenugreek.
Now, who caught
that too much can cause hypoglycemia? Because this is where it gets
Quite a few
studies show that fenugreek lowers blood sugar levels. In fact,
people with type two diabetes showed such significantly lower blood
sugar levels than the control group, that diabetics (and
pre-diabetics) are encouraged to take 500 mg at least twice a day,
just prior to eating.
because fenugreek contains a lot of mucilage, it is recommended for
heartburn and acid reflux. You could take fenugreek as a supplement,
simply sprinkle it on your food, or drink down one teaspoon in water
or juice before a meal.
And since we
touched on the hypoglycemic affect, for you dieters who would use it
to keep your blood sugar from spiking after a meal we’ve got still
even better news: Fenugreek has shown to
increase muscle strength
and muscle production
while reducing fat and
levels in men. In that same study, it also improved performance
in weight lifters. [October 2010
Journal of the International
Society of Sports Nutrition]
is there any surprise that fenugreek also affected the libido of
participants in these studies? Another study found that “fenugreek
extract had a significant influence on sexual arousal, energy and
stamina, and helped to maintain a normal testosterone level in the
participants.” [February 2011
which make up the spice, are quite bitter and are roasted lightly to
remove the bitterness. They are high in protein (they’re legumes,
actually) and contain vitamin c, niacin, potassium, and diosgenin
(an estrogen precursor). It also contains lysine and L-tryptophan
and a host of steroidal saponins (building blocks to steroids, hence
the results of studies listed above showing muscle gain and fat
contraindicated (should not be used) for pregnant woman since it has a
history of inducing labor. Additionally, fenugreek has been used
historically lesson the effects of both PMS and menopause. In
it has been used to treat arthritis (it is an anti-inflammatory),
bronchitis, and asthma, while everywhere it’s been used on skin
problems such as rashes, wounds, and boils.
fenugreek tea (with lemon and honey) has been used as a home remedy
to reduce fever.
seems to be universal: 500 mg twice a day, before meals.
As a spice, you will probably
NEVER run across a recipe calling for fenugreek, unless you are into
exotic Indian foods. But as a supplement, you can take it before
meals. I get mine from
Body Building dot com.