Fenugreek seeds are tiny, bitter, dicotyledonous seeds of herb fenugreek. Toasted gently, they show strongly aromatic and pungent flavor. Traditionally, fenugreeks have been found use to cure digestive problems and to improve breast milk secretion in the nursing mothers.
Fenugreek is native to the sub-Himalayan plains of Indian subcontinent, and today, it is widely grown all over the southern and Mediterranean Europe, Middle-East Asia and northern African regions.
Fenugreek grows up to about 1-2 feet in height with light green color trifoliate leaves and white flowers. It bears long, slender, yellow-brown pods containing about 10-20 golden-yellow color seeds. Its seeds are small, hard, and resemble tiny, multi-faceted stone-pieces. Raw seeds have maple flavor and bitter taste; however, their taste becomes more acceptable once they gently roasted under light heat.
Benefits of Fenugreek Seeds:
- Treats Digestive Disorders — It provides relief from the indigestion, constipation and other digestive disorders.
- Cures Acidity — Fenugreek seed helps in curing the acid re-flux (heartburn) as it has mucilage which covers the stomach and intestinal linings and soothes the irritated tissues of the gastrointestinal tract. Regular consumption of 1 tsp soaked fenugreek seeds in water give more relief as the soaking process makes its outer coating mucilaginous.
- Relieves Sore Throat — It provides relief from the fever, cough and sore throat when taken with a tsp of honey and lemon.
- Promotes Hair Growth — It is great source of protein and nicotinic which promotes the hair growth, lecithin which makes hair healthy, strong and hydrated.
- Have anti aging benefits — Germinated fenugreek seeds show a significant amount of antioxidant activity and fight the free radicals that accelerate the process of aging
- Cures Acne — Fenugreek has a compound named diosgenin that has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. This helps fenugreek fight against acne.
- Prevents Heart Attack — It has a special part called galactomannan (natural soluble fiber) which lowers the heart attack risk.
- Cures Memory Loss problem — It is rich in choline and antioxidant beta carotene which are very helpful to cure the problems like memory loss, arteriosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and early ageing.
- Adds Shine to hair — Fenugreek seeds contain lecithin, an emulsifying substance which helps in adding shine to the hair.
- Promotes Breast Milk Production — Fenugreek seeds enhance the production of breast milk in the lactating mothers as it has diosgenin compound which increases the milk production.
- Provides Relief from Menstrual Cramps — Methi seed provides variety of health benefits to the women of all ages. It has different compounds (diosgenin and isoflavones) which acts as an estrogen hormone and provides relief from the discomfort and menstrual cramps during menstruation in the women.
- Relieves Menopausal Symptoms — It eases the other menopausal symptoms including anxiety, dizziness, insomnia, hot flashes, mood variations and etc as well.
- Fulfills Iron Deficiency — As women come under the most vulnerable group suffering from the iron deficiency during the puberty period, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Regular use of fenugreek seeds (either in the form of leaves or seeds) in the normal diet provides relief from all the deficiency symptoms of the iron by fulfilling the need of iron in the body.
- Enhances Iron Absorption in Body — Eating tomatoes or potatoes together with the fenugreek seeds enhances the power of iron absorption found in it.
- Controls Blood Sugar Level — It is well-known for controlling the blood sugar level in the diabetic person as it has a natural soluble fibre known as the Galactomannan which has property to slow down the sugar absorption rate in the blood.
- Induces Insulin Production — It also has an essential amino acid (4-hydroxy isoleucine) which is deeply responsible for enhancing the insulin production in the body.
- Maintains Weight — Chewing the soaked fenugreek seeds with empty stomach in the early morning makes the stomach full and suppress appetite due to the natural soluble fibres available in the in the fenugreek seeds. In this way it helps in the weight management strategy.
- Reduces Cholesterol — Fenugreek seeds have a flavonoid named naringenin that lowers the lipid levels in those with high cholesterol
- Improve Kidney Function — Fenugreek seeds have polyphenolic flavonoids that improve kidney function and prevent the deterioration of cells by forming a membrane around them.
- Protects Liver — The polyphenolic compounds present in fenugreek seeds reduce liver damage and help metabolize the alcohol.
Disadvantages of Methi/Fenugreek Seeds:
- Eating methi seeds within limit orally is safe however; its high amount has some side effects like diarrhea, bloating, stomach pain, gas and odour in the urine.
- It may cause wheezing, nasal blockage, facial swelling, coughing and allergy in the hypersensitive people.
- It may lower the blood sugar to the high level called hypoglycemia.
- In the pregnant women it may cause premature uterine contractions.
- Eating methi seeds just before the baby birth may give unusual body odour to the newborn.
- It is not safe for the children as it may cause the loss of consciousness among children.
- It may cause gastrointestinal bleeding which results black and tarry stools and vomiting of blood.
- It may cause hemorrhagic stroke means bleeding in brain which results in the weakness, numbness in the arms, legs and severe headache.
How much Methi/Fenugreek Seeds should you take:
It should not be taken more than 30 grams per day as it may lead to the serious health problems and side effects. However, its daily dosage depends on the age, sex and body health. Before using it regularly it must be consulted by the physician if one is going on any medication or has allergy problem.
I’m Dr. Malini Bhat MD (Ayu); an Ayurvedic Doctor and a health blogger. Follow me on social media to get daily health tips which you can easily adapt to a healthy lifestyle.