Fenugreek powder obtained from the fenugreek seeds commonly known as Methi is a staple spice found in most Indian households. This multi-purpose herb though well known for adding a distinct flavour in various dishes and cuisines has innumerable health benefits. Right from maintaining cholesterol levels in the blood, treating heartburn or acid reflux, promoting hair growth, preventing dandruff, fenugreek does it all.
Fenugreek, which goes by the botanical name Trigonella foenum-graecum is native to Western Asia and the Mediterranean’s. Be it the cuboidal shaped seeds, fresh leaves, or sprouts, this traditional herb has found its way in several Indian cuisines, pickles, vegetable curries, or as spice mixes used for tadka in sambar or dal. Owing to its sweet, maple-syrup like scent and flavour, methi seeds are also used in artificial maple syrup, ice creams, candies, beverages, shampoos, soaps, and cosmetics.
Ancient folklore has it that the mucilage content in fenugreek seeds, allowed Ancient Egyptians to use the powder for the purpose of embalming the mummies. The holistic science of ayurveda also documents the use of fenugreek powder to stimulate milk production in new moms, help to treat respiratory and intestinal problems, arthritis, bronchitis, asthma and is extremely effective in healing wounds.
Nutritional Value Of Fenugreek Powder:
Fenugreek powder is a powerhouse of numerous health-promoting nutrients like dietary fiber, protein, vitamin B1, B2, B3 and C, zinc, iron, copper and polyunsaturated fats. It also contains bioactive constituents like saponins, volatile oils, mucilage, and alkaloids like choline and trigonelline. Several types of research document that people consuming raw methi seeds or powder have low cholesterol and healthier hearts.
Benefits Of Fenugreek Powder:
Promotes Milk Production In New Mothers
Breast milk is extremely essential for newborn babies since it is enriched with essential nutrients required for the growth and wellbeing of the baby. But due to some health issues, some women cannot secrete enough breast milk to meet the daily nutrient intake of the newbie. Fenugreek powder shows strong galactagogue properties that stimulate the secretion of milk in new moms. Hence, under proper consultation, a cup of fenugreek-infused tea effectively increases the production of breast milk in new mothers.
Also Checkout: World Breastfeeding Week: Diet Plan For Better Lactation- Infographic
How To Make Fenugreek Tea
1tsp fenugreek seed
1 cup if water
Rinse the seeds gently in a bowl.
Boil water in a wide-mouthed vessel or teapot.
Transfer the soaked seeds into the boiling water.
Steep the seeds for at least 5 minutes.
Strain the seeds and put the liquid into a container.
Add honey to the tea and mix it properly.
Enjoy the tea hot or cold to promote lactation.
Good For Male Reproductive System
Methi powder is indicated for improving men’s health. The powder, being a natural antioxidant improves the production of male hormones like testosterone and luteinizing hormone. It has powerful spermatogenic properties that are extremely beneficial for treating conditions like hypospermia (low volume of semen), oligospermia (i.e. low sperm count), asthenozoospermia (i.e. sperm motility) and enhances spermatogenesis (i.e. sperm production). It also treats conditions like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and improves sexual function and libido.
The excellent hypoglycaemic property of fenugreek powder plays a noteworthy role in alleviating the blood sugar levels of the body. The production of insulin from the β-pancreatic cells becomes active while taking methi powder and helps to reduce the breakdown of starch into glucose which in turn leads to low blood glucose levels.
Also Read: Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Sprout fenugreek seeds by soaking them in water overnight, for few days until tiny green shoots appear. The sprouted fenugreek seeds when can be added to any kind of salads or consumed raw is good for managing sugar levels in diabetic patients.
Improves Skin Health
Laden with vitamin C and antioxidants, it is used for treating oxidative free radical damage due to the sun rays, and hence treats the various signs of aging like wrinkles, fine line, spots, dark circles, etc. It also reduces acne, pimples and bestows a smooth and glowing skin. The natural oils present in fenugreek powder hydrates and moisturise the skin and make it supple and soft.
Make a paste of a spoonful of fenugreek seed powder and a spoon of milk and apply it evenly onto the face. Do it twice a week to brighten the skin complexion and obtain radiant spotless skin.
Relieves Hair Problems
Methi has been a boon for promoting hair growth since ancient times. The anti-microbial nature of the plant treats various scalp and hair infections like folliculitis, itching and dandruff. It nourishes the hair follicles with essential nutrients, improves blood circulation and strengthens the hair strands from the roots. By normalising the secretion of the stress hormone, it also prevents hair fall and breakage due to stress and anxiety.
Apply a hair pack of methi powder by mixing with henna, curd and almond oil and keep it on for 45 minutes. Wash off, shampoo and condition your hair. Do this once a week for thwarting dandruff and hair fall and stimulating hair growth.
Ensures Weight Loss
Enriched with flavonoids, methi powder helps the body shed excess weight faster. Owing to the presence of dietary fibre and anti-obesity action, when taken regularly, fenugreek in the form of seed or powder satiates sudden hunger pangs and prevents overeating and hence can play a key role in one’s weight loss regimen. The powder also reduces the accumulation of LDL (i.e. Low-Density Lipoproteins or bad cholesterol) in the body, thereby improving metabolism and helping the body to maintain a proper weight.
Enhances Cardiac Functioning
Fenugreek holds high significance in treating various heart ailments due to its strong antioxidative nature. It fortifies the heart muscles and inhibits lipid build up in the blood vessels. The bioactive constituents like volatile oils and alkaloids reduce the levels of non-esterified fatty acids i.e., NEFA, and hence reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, heart blocks, blood clots, etc. It also plays a pivotal role in lowering the levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Treats Gastro-Intestinal Anomalies
Imbued with excellent carminative and digestive properties, methi or fenugreek confers an absolute solution for all digestive woes. The anti-flatulent property and presence of fibre reduces the formation of gas in the alimentary canal, thus reducing flatulence, bloating, constipation, and abdominal distension. The antacid property of the herb prevents the formation of excessive acids in the stomach thereby treating indigestion, ulcer, gastritis and promoting better absorption of nutrients in the body.
A teaspoon of fenugreek powder mixed in a warm cup of water, when drank on empty stomach can serve as an ideal decoction to curb constipation.
Fenugreek is one of the age-old medicinal plants, with origins in both traditional Indian and Chinese systems of medicine.
Fenugreek powder or extracts are key ingredients in many common essentials including:
Maple syrup products
Fenugreek powder is safe for consumption for most healthy adults, and it is well tolerated. However, for some people, it may trigger side effects such as diarrhoea, stomach upset, dizziness, headaches etc. Large doses of fenugreek supplements may lower blood sugar levels, thus taking fenugreek in combination with diabetes medications may have harmful effects. While people with any allergies to peanuts, chickpeas or coriander should avoid taking fenugreek supplements as it may aggravate allergic reactions.
Pregnant women should avoid taking it, as it contains compounds that may induce contractions and may cause birth abnormalities. Moreover, fenugreek functions like estrogen in the body, so it may negatively affect people with hormone-sensitive cancers. A person with any existing health condition should avoid taking fenugreek or use it carefully. Always seek advice from your doctor before taking it in form of supplements.
Fenugreek considered the ‘spice of life’ has numerous health benefits. From the ancient ages, this potent spice is not only used for flavouring food but also for increasing milk production in breastfeeding mothers, boosting male stamina, lowering inflammation and blood cholesterol levels and augmenting skin and hair health.