Fenugreek – Rediscover the ancient medicinal herb

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It’s definitely not an ordinary braai spice.

Your own doctor in a spice bottle, this popular Asian and Mediterranean cuisine spice has been used for thousands of years as a traditional medicine. The modern medical science is just starting to scratch the surface of Fenugreek health benefits.

Fenugreek has a spectacular nutritional profile with about 25% protein content, rich in dietary fibre, vitamin B complex, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese and other trace minerals.

Fenugreek – Rediscover the ancient medicinal herb

It’s definitely not an ordinary braai spice.

Your own doctor in a spice bottle, this popular Asian and Mediterranean cuisine spice has been used for thousands of years as a traditional medicine. The modern medical science is just starting to scratch the surface of Fenugreek health benefits.

Fenugreek has a spectacular nutritional profile with about 25% protein content, rich in dietary fibre, vitamin B complex, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese and other trace minerals.

It is interesting to note that this versatile plant is considered both a herb (when its dried or fresh leaves are used) and a spice (seeds are used), plus it can also be prepared or cooked as a leafy vegetable (fresh leaves, microgreens and sprouts).  

Both seeds and leaves of the plant can be used fresh or dried in cooking, be made into teas or poultice to apply on skin and hair. Fenugreek extract became quite popular supplement for the past decade.

 

Health Benefits of Fenugreek:

As a part of the traditional medicine Fenugreek is often recommended for increasing breast milk production, controlling blood sugar levels, promoting digestion and evening boosting sex drive in men and women.

Stabilizing the metabolism – Fenugreek is shown to slow absorption of sugars in the stomach and stimulate insulin production, which may be beneficial for lowering blood sugar levels.

Improving digestive issues – Fibre in Fenungreek is responsible for its beneficial effect on constipation, while its anti-inflammatory properties may provide relief from upset stomach and improve Colitis conditions.

Improving libido in men – Fenugreek extract has been shown to help maintain normal testosterone levels in men, increase sperm count and sexual desire.

Increase breast milk production – Fenugreek contains phytoestrogens, which naturally stimulate milk production in breastfeeding women within a day or two after supplementing.

Management of menopausal symptoms – Studies have shown that supplementing with Fenugreek is having positive effect on balancing hormones and reduction in symptom associated with menopause – hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, irritability, vaginal dryness and headaches.

Anti-inflammatory properties – A paste of Fenugreek seeds can be applied to the skin to treat small wounds, eczema or ulcers. As a poultice, Fenugreek may reduce swelling and pain associated with muscle injury, gout and swollen lymph nodes.

Anti-acne skin treatment - A paste made with soaked Fenugreek seeds will help fight inflammations, clear impurities and provide relieve for irritated skin.

Alkalizing properties - Fenugreek has been found to have alkalizing properties if combined with water and therefore improving internal terrain acidity levels, which in turn may help gout sufferers.

Fenugreek is also believed to help lower cholesterol level, improve arteries health and prevent atherosclerosis and combat kidney problems by preventing calcification in kidneys and developing kidney stones.

Health Benefits of Fenugreek

A word of caution: Even though Fenugreek may help with digestive issues, consuming it like your favourite snack may cause side effects. If you experience bloating, gas, dizziness, headaches, and a "maple syrup" odour in your urine after taking Fenugreek, you have probably been overdosing it or you may be allergic to it – people who are allergic to peanuts may also be allergic to Fenugreek.

 

Fenugreek has a wonderful earthy-wood, slightly tart flavour and adds a depth of aroma to any hearty meal.

Try this quick and delicious recipe for a different variation of herbed potatoes:

Spicy Potatoes (Vegan friendly)

Preparation and cooking time: about 40 minutes   /     Serves 3–4

Ingredients:

500g potatoes, pilled and cubed

5 tbsp Organic Olive oil/ Coconut oil/ grass-fed Ghee

2 tsp organic Cumin seeds

2 tsp organic Coriander seeds

2cm fresh Root Ginger, peeled and finely grated

4 Garlic cloves, crushed

8 tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 tsp organic Turmeric powder

1 tsp organic Chilli powder (optional)

2 tbsp organic Fenugreek seeds

Himalayan salt, to taste

Water

Method:

Boil the potatoes for a few minutes until half cooked. Then drain and set aside.

Heat the oil/ghee in a saucepan and add the Cumin seeds, Coriander seeds and Fenugreek seeds. Fry the aromatic seeds for 2-3 minutes to release the flavours.

Lower the heat and add the crushed Garlic and grated Ginger. Cook for few minutes while stirring.

Add the chopped tomatoes and Turmeric & Chilli powder. Let the sauce cook for about 7-8 minutes until tomatoes are soft and sauce is formed.

Then add the pre-cooked potatoes plus 1 cup water. Cover and let the mixture simmer to medium heat for another 15 minutes until the sauce is thick and potatoes are fully soft and cooked.

These Spicy Potatoes can be serves with rice or fresh salad as a vegetarian meal or be used as a side dish for any meat dish.

 

Anti-inflammatory Fenugreek Mask for oily, problem skins:

Ingredients:

1/2 cups Fenugreek seeds

1 cups water

1 tablespoon Raw honey

Method:

Mix the ingredients in a bowl, cover with a cloth and let it stay overnight.

Next day blend the mixture and apply to face a mask.

Leave for 30 minutes and then rinse well.

This mask is excellent natural anti-inflammatory remedy for acne-prone skins and will help combat excess oil production and outbreaks.

For clean, bright and acne-free skin use the mask 2-3 times a week.

 

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