Fenugreek, native to Asia and Southeastern Europe, has a long history of
use as both a spice and a medicine. The seeds are composed of fiber,
primarily the water-soluble fiber galactomannan, proteins, lipids,
steroidal saponins, alkaloids, and C-glycoside flavones. The taste and odor
of Fenugreek resembles maple syrup.
Animal and human studies have shown Fenugreek reduces blood glucose levels
by slowing absorption of sugars in the stomach and stimulating insulin
production. Patients with mild diabetes taking Fenugreek were able to
reduce or stop drug therapy due to better blood glucose control. Fenugreek
fiber supplementation was found to reduce hunger, increase satiety and the
postprandial insulin response in obese subjects. It also has been shown to
reduce serum cholesterol and in patients with hypercholesterolemia. Taking
Fenugreek seed powder capsules reduced total cholesterol and low-density
lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Fenugreek helps stimulate milk production in lactating women. Research has
shown it can increase milk production within 24 to 72 hours of consumption.
It can also stimulate uterine contractions and induce labor, therefore it
is not recommended during pregnancy.
The mucilage in Fenugreek seeds helps soothe the gastrointestinal tract by
coating the lining of the stomach and intestines. This makes it helpful for
a variety of digestive disorders including indigestion, constipation, and
gastritis (inflammation of the stomach).
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