Fenugreek

 

B0tanical Name :Trigonella foenum-graecum
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Trigonella
Species: T. foenum-graecum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms : Foenum-graecum officinale var. tibetanum. Trigonella tibetana.

Common Names:Fenugreek, Sicklefruit fenugreek

It is known as methi in Marathi  Punjabi, Hindi, Urudu, Bengali and Nepali  as menthiyam, and venthayam  in Tamil, “uluhaal”  in Sinhala, Helba  in Arabic, menthya  in Kannada, uluwa in Malayalam, moshoseitaro  in Greek and menthulu  in Telugu.

Alholva, Bird’s Foot, Boyotu, Chinagreye, Foenum Graecum, Greek Hay-seed, Halva, Helba, Hu Lu Pa, K’U Tou, Kelabat, Koroha, Methi, Shimli, Sickle-fruit Fenugreek, Sicklefruit Fenugreek, Trigonella foenum-graecum

(The name comes from Foenum-graecum, meaning Greek Hay, the plant being used to scent inferior hay.)

Habitat ;Fenugreek is natve to India and northern Europe.Now It grows  in Austria; Belgium; Chile; China; Egypt; S. France; Hungary; India; Iraq; Java; Malaya; Mediterranean; Spain; Sudan; Turkey.

It can grow in Field verges, uncultivated ground, dry grasslands and hillsides

Description:
Fenugreek is an annual, leguminous plant. It has tri-foliate, obovate and toothed, light green leaves. Its stems are erect, long and tender. Blooming period occurs during summer. Flowers are yellow-white, occurring singly or in pairs at the leaf axils. Fruit is a curved seed-pod, with ten to twenty flat and hard, yellowish-brown seeds. They are angular- rhomboid, oblong or even cubic, and have a deep furrow dividing them into two unequal lobes.It is cultivated worldwide as a semi-arid crop.

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Edible Uses:
Funugreek is a common ingredient in dishes from the Indian Subcontinent.An essential oil is obtained from the seed – used as a food flavoring.The dried plant has a strong aroma of hay.

Fenugreek is also used as a vegetable. Fresh fenugreek leaves are an ingredient in some Indian curries. The sprouted seeds and microgreens are used in salads. When harvested as microgreens, fenugreek is known as Samudra Methi in Maharashtra, especially in and around Mumbai, where it is often grown near the sea in the sandy tracts, hence the name (Samudra, which means “ocean” in Sanskrit). Samudra Methi is also grown in dry river beds in the Gangetic plains. When sold as a vegetable in India, the young plants are harvested with their roots still attached. Any remaining soil is washed off to extend their shelf life. They are then sold in small bundles in the markets and bazaars.
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Medicinal use:
Fenugreek is one of the oldest medicinal plants. It has been used for centuries for different female conditions, brain and nervous system ailments, skin, liver and metabolic disorders. It is also considered highly beneficial for respiratory and gastrointestinal problems.  It is a highly potent female herb, since it helps relaxing the uterus and relieving menstrual pains, and is an excellent stimulator of milk production in nursing mothers. As for the gastrointestinal tract, Fenugreek is usually suggested in treatments of poor digestion, gastric inflammations, enteritis, especially for convalescents. It can also be used in cases of weight loss, poor appetite and even in treatment of anorexia nervosa. Different blood conditions, such as anemia, and nervous system disorders (neurasthenia) can also be successfully treated with Fenugreek. As for the respiratory conditions, Fenugreek is excellent in treatment of bronchitis, mucous congestions, different infections, tuberculosis. Used externally, it can help curing abscesses, boils, carbuncles, fistulas, sciatica, various skin irritations,sores & wounds.

Lactation: Fenugreek seeds are thought to be a galactagogue that is often used to increase milk supply in lactating women.

Known Hazards: The seed contains 1% saponins. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also remove most of them. However, it is not advisible to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

News: In February 2009, the International Frutarom Corporation factory in North Bergen, New Jersey, was found to be the source of a mysterious maple syrup aroma which had been reported as occasionally drifting over New York City since 2005. The odor was found to be from sotolon, an ester in fenugreek seeds. No health risks have been found.

Fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt in 2009 and 2010 have been linked to outbreaks of Escherichia coli O104:H4 in Germany and France, causing 50 deaths in 2011

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenugreek
http://www.diet-and-health.net/Naturopathy/Fenugreek.html
http://health-from-nature.net/Fenugreek.html

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