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Fenugreek (pron.: /ˈfɛnjʉɡriːk/; Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an annual plant in the family Fabaceae. The plant has small round leaves, is cultivated worldwide as a semi-arid crop, and is a common ingredient in dishes from the Indian Subcontinent. It is known asmethi in Marathi, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, and Nepali, as methii (মেথী) in Bengali, as menthiyam, and venthayam (வெந்தயம்) in Tamil, "uluhaal" (උළුහාල්) in Sinhala, Helba (حلبه) in Arabic, menthya (ಮೆಂತ್ಯ) in Kannada, uluwa (ഉലുവ) in malayalam, and menthulu in Telugu.


Major fenugreek-producing countries are Iran, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Argentina, Egypt, France, Spain, Turkey, Morocco andChina. The largest producer of fenugreek in the world is India, where the major fenugreek-producing states are Rajasthan, Gujarat,Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, and Punjab. Rajasthan produces the lion's share of India's production, accounting for over 80% of the nation's total fenugreek output.

The Top Ten Health Benefits of Fenugreek
Listed here are ten of fenugreek's primary health benefits. This list is by no means exhaustive. As research continues, more uses for this potent herb are likely to be revealed.

  • >>   Fenugreek and diabetes
    In clinical trials, fenugreek seed reduced fasting blood sugar levels in patients with both type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (insulin resistant) diabetes. In an Indian study, diabetic patients were given fenugreek seed powder for a period of ten days. These patients showed significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels and improved glucose tolerance.
  • >>   Fenugreek and healthy cholesterol
    Diabetic patients studied in the cllinical trials described above also showed significant improvement in blood cholesterol levels. Serum total cholesterol, LDL and VLDL cholesterol and triglycerides were all reduced.
  • >>   Fenugreek and sexual health
    Fenugreek has long been understood to increase libido. The seeds are rich in diogenin, a substance that mimics the activity of estrogen.
  • >>   Fenugreek and digestion When fenugreek seeds are eaten, they release mucilage, creating a soothing effect on the digestive organs. This mucilage forms a protective coating on the lining of the stomach and intestine, reducing gastric inflammation, reflux and heartburn.
  • >>   Fenugreek relieves skin inflammation
    Research has shown that fenugreek is an effective topical treatment for skin problems such as abscesses, boils, burns, eczema and gout.
  • >>   Fenugreek eases childbirth and promotes lactation
    Fenugreek has long been believed to stimulate uterine contractions, speeding and easing childbirth. The herb also boosts milk production in nursing mothers.
  • >>   Fenugreek relieves fever and eases flu symptoms
    Fenugreek has traditionally been used to reduce fever and relieve flu symptoms. The seeds are often combined with honey and lemon to make a soothing tea.
  • >>   Fenugreek eases menopause symptoms Because of its natural estrogens, fenugreek is effective in treating the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, anxiety and insomnia.
  • >>   Fenugreek may help prevent cancer
    Some studies suggest that diogenin, found in fenugreek, may have anti-carcinogenic properties. Fenugreek is also effective as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger
  • >>   Fenugreek is rich in fiber
    Fenugreek's rich fiber content make it useful in treating constipation, and as a preventive against cardiovascular disease.

Because it is a food substance, fenugreek may be safely consumed in moderate amounts, either added to food, or in the form of supplements. Along with other powerful herbs and spices, such as cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper and cayenne pepper, fenugreek is a culinary spice that contributes a wealth of health benefits.