The herb named Fenugreek, Bird’s foot, Greek hay-seed or Trigonella foenum-graecum LINN from fabaceae family had found its first application in ancient Egyptian culture in 16th century BCE as a substance for mummification. Ancient medical practice of Greeks Indians and Arabians used the herb to treat disorders of different nature and severity.
The rich chemical content and valuable qualities of the plant allows using it as a supplement or all-sufficient mean for treatment or strengthening the organism, aromatization of hay or quarters.
It’s a popular cookery addition in the world known spice mixtures: “curry”, Ethiopian “berbere”, Bengali “panch phoron”, Tamil “sambaar podi”, Iranian “ghorme sabzi”, Georgian “khmeli-suneli”. The herb is used also as a coffee substitute in Northern Africa, in pickling, and even in perfumery for Indian hair conditioner.
Numerous constituents of the herb could not be counted even on the fingers of both hands. I’ll try to list them in a short manner not to bore your fascinated reading. So there are: mucilage (28%), proteids (22%), fixed oil (5%) volatile oil, alkaloids (Trigonelline and Choline), phosphates, lecitin, nucleoalbumin, iron in organic form, trimethylamin, neurin, betain, coumarin, gelatinous textures, phytoestrogen, diosgenin, steroidal saponins and amino acid 4-hydrxisoleucine.
Fenugreek affects on the human body include stimulation of the appetite by action on the nervous system, decrease of calcium oxalate in the kidneys, diuretic and ureo-poietic effects, soothing the skin, inhibition of cholesterol absorption and synthesis, alteration of the levels of thyroid hormones, uterine stimulation, decrease of blood sugar and potassium levels and pressure, increase of the body production of insulin when blood sugar levels are high, stimulation of sweat production.
Besides that the herb has the ability to decrease the activity of an enzyme that’s involved in releasing stored sugar from the liver into the blood, to slow down the time that food takes to go through the intestine tract. Sometimes it can increase the duration and severity of a migraine, to increase the risk of bleeding, cause allergy like peanut or enhance the effects of other drugs.
Among several side effects are: dizziness, gas, facial swelling, numbness, difficulty breathing.
The best conditions for this 2 feet high erect annual herb with brownish seeds of bitter peculiar odor and taste are: moderate to low rainfall, loam and clayey soil with proper drainage. Naturally Trigonella grows in Eurasia (from the Eastern Mediterranean to China). Now it’s cultivated in India, Argentina, Egypt, Southern France, Morocco and Lebanon.