Fenugreek


Fenugreek
(Trigonella foenum-graecum)
of the pea family (Fabaceae)

Also known as: Greek hay

Among the oldest of medicinal herbs

An absolutely gorgeous sprout from the most aromatic of seeds (known more as a spice). Fenugreek is easy to grow and extremely nutritious. It does have a flavour that many consider bitter, but those who like it, LOVE it! Fenugreek is actually a legume.

Used as a spice in Indian food, Fenugreek is a super nutritious sprout. Fenugreek sprouts contain choline (a fat controller) and are rich in protein, iron, and vitamins A, D and G.

Fenugreek is a strongly scented herb of the pea family. It is reported to be helpful for digestive problems including ulcers. Also acts as an herb for dissolving mucus in the body when taken as a tea.

Rich in vitamins and minerals, and because it is a seed and a legume, it is high in protein. (Which makes it very useful in vegetarian diets).

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
Seed to Sprout in 4 – 6 Days
Yield = 5:1
Seed Shelf Life at 21°C/70°F = 4 – 5 years
Sprout Shelf Life = 3 – 4 weeks

Nutritional info:
Vitamins A, B, C, E
Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc
Carotene, Chlorophyll
Phyton-Nutrients – Excellent for Women (Breast Health)
Amino Acids
Trace Elements
Digestive Aid
Protein: 30%

Fenugreek originated in the Mediterranean region and Asia and is among the oldest of medicinal herbs.

Nativity:
It is native to eastern Mediterranean and is cultivated around Mediterranean, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco, France and Argentina

Nature:
Ground Fenugreek has a warm, yellowish-brown colour with a strong curry-like flavour.
It has a strong aromatic smell similar to celery. Its aromatic smell dominates curry powder.

Usage/application:
Fenugreek restores nitrogen to the soil and used as cattle fodder. It provides a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals.

Medicinal value:
Ancient Egyptians used a paste from ground fenugreek, plastered over the body to reduce fever and used in fumigation and embalming. It is now used for manufacture of oral contraceptives. In Asia it is soaked in water and taken as a tea to aid digestion. It is also used to treat a number of disorders from diabetes and bronchitis to skin irritations and reproductive problems.

It has been used to help relieve digestive cramps, menstrual pain and to reduce fevers. Fenugreek seeds have the unique ability to stimulate breast tissue to lactate (especially when used with blessed or milk thistle). It has also been used to increase breast size (look at the ingredients of most herbal breast enhancement products; it will almost always top the list).

This legume's seeds were a favourite cure-all in ancient Egypt and India and later among the Greeks and Romans. Modern research has confirmed its ability to relieve gas pains, lower blood sugar, and, when used externally, soften the skin, thus providing relief for a variety of skin ailments. Fenugreek sprouts should be short when harvested or the pleasant spicy taste turns bitter.

Fenugreek is native to southern Europe, the Mediterranean region, and Western Asia. It is cultivated from western Europe to China for the aromatic seeds, and is still grown for fodder in parts of Europe and northern Africa. It is an indispensable ingredient in Indian curries.

Fenugreek has a long history as both a culinary and medicinal herb in the ancient world. It was one of the spices the Egyptians used for embalming, and the Greeks and Romans used it for cattle fodder (hence the Latin foenum graecum meaning Greek hay). It was grown extensively in the imperial gardens of Charlemagne.

Uncooked fenugreek seeds have an unpleasant, bitter taste, so the seeds are usually roasted and ground before use to mellow the bitterness. The seeds are very hard, and difficult to grind, a mortar and pestle working best. Fenugreek is a favourite in Northern African and Middle Eastern dishes, and is one of the few spices that is usually used in powdered form, even in Indian curries.

Seed extract is used in imitation vanilla, butterscotch and rum flavourings, and is the main flavouring in imitation maple syrup. Also used in breads in Egypt and Ethiopia. Ground seeds and/or leaves, can give a nice lift to some bland vegetarian dishes. Also good in marinades. Generally, a nice unusual flavour to experiment with to achieve some different effects. Use very young shoots with only a few leaves and some watercress for a nice salad addition. Fenugreek seeds are also used in candy, baked goods, ice cream, chewing gum and soft drinks. The seeds can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute.

Fenugreek was formerly used as a yellow dye. The leaves are dried and used as an insect repellent in grain storage. In various areas of North Africa the seeds (ground into a paste) were traditionally eaten by women to gain weight, in combination with sugar and olive oil. The seeds are still used for weight gain in Libya and other areas. They are also an important source of diosgenin, which is widely used in the production of steroids (which probably accounts for the weight gain), sex hormones, oral contraceptives and veterinary medicines.

Fenugreek is a herb that is often used by nursing mothers to increase their supply of breast milk. The most common reasons for low milk supply are illness, fatigue, stress and returning to work. Often a decrease in supply is temporary but if you need a boost, Fenugreek may help you. Fenugreek has been used for centuries by lactating mothers to increase milk supply.

Fenugreek seeds contain hormone precursors that increase milk supply. Scientists do not know for sure how this happens. Some believe it is possible because breasts are modified sweat glands, and fenugreek stimulates sweat production. It has been found that fenugreek can increase a nursing mother's milk supply within 24 to 72 hours after first taking the herb. Once an adequate level of milk production is reached, most women can discontinue the fenugreek and maintain the milk supply with adequate breast stimulation. Many women today take fenugreek in a pill form (ground seeds placed in capsules). The pills can be found at most vitamin and nutrition stores and at many supermarkets and natural foods stores. Fenugreek can also be taken in tea form, although tea is believed to be less potent than the pills and the tea comes with a bitter taste that can be hard to stomach.

The seeds are also soaked and then powdered and used to make lip balm and tonic. The seeds can be used to make tea, which can reduce fever and menstrual pains, or they can be used in an ointment to treat skin infections. The seeds have also been used to increase libido in men and serve as an aphrodisiac. Ground seeds are often used to give a maple flavour to sweets and candies.

Ground seeds are also used to flavour cattle food, including different vegetable meals and hays. Fenugreek's leaves, which are high in iron, are used in salads. Taken internally, fenugreek is used to treat bronchitis, coughs, respiratory problems, sinus conditions and to increase milk supply.

Fenugreek is not right for everyone. The herb has caused aggravated asthma symptoms in some women and has lowered blood glucose levels in some women with diabetes.

Fenugreek is a well-documented herb for blood-sugar control. Studies demonstrate benefits in both types of diabetes.

In one open study of 60 type 2 diabetics, published in Nutrition Research, 25 grams per day of fenugreek led to noteworthy improvements in overall blood sugar control, blood sugar elevations after a meal and cholesterol levels. A different open study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed results with only 15 grams of fenugreek daily.

Further, in a small single-blind controlled study, patients with type 1 diabetes were randomly prescribed with fenugreek at a dose of 50 grams twice daily as part of their lunch and dinner or the same meals without the powder, each for 10 days. Those on the fenugreek diet had significant decreases in their fasting blood sugar.

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