Medicinal plants

Fenugreek

The history of fenugreek

Fenugreek is a leguminous plant which is believed to originate in the Black Sea. It grows spontaneously in sub-mountainous areas and near the coasts. It is one of the oldest plants used in medicine and in the food sector. It is even mentioned in an Egyptian papyrus dating back to 1500 BC. At the time of the pharaohs it was used as an aromatic plant not only for the embalming process, but also for the purification of the air in domestic or sacred environments. Fenugreek gives off a particular, very intense smell, by virtue of which it is still used today by the perfume manufacturing industry. From the 7th century BC, its cultivation spread to the Middle East, India and China. It was known in Greece already at the time of Hippocrates, who cites it for its calming properties. The Romans cultivated it to feed horses and livestock in general. The name of “fenugreek” dates back to its use in the Latin civilization as food for animals. In the Asian territories this plant was known for its therapeutic virtues and was used by traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine.

The fenugreek plant


Fenugreek is a herbaceous plant belonging to the fabaceae family, that is, it is a legume. It seems to be native to the Black Sea. It is an annual plant, which prefers lands rich in limestone. It can reach up to 60 cm in height. The leaves are divided into three oval-shaped leaflets, which are arranged almost to form a triangle. The name of trigonella, with which fenugreek is known in botany, would allude to the geometric figure recalled by its leaves. The flowers are pale yellow and bloom in the months of June and July. The fruit, on the other hand, ripens between August and September. It resembles a pod, which can reach 5 to 15 cm and contain up to 20 kernels. Once dried, the seeds become very hard. In phytotherapy they are the used part of fenugreek, as they contain a ‘

The properties of fenugreek


In herbal medicine, the fenugreek plant is known as trigonella. Seeds containing trigonellin are used for therapeutic purposes. The emollient and expectorant properties of fenugreek derive from the presence of this alkaloid (plant substance with powerful pharmacological effects). The compact seeds are obtained from ripe fruits through the drying procedure and then by beating and husking. Fenugreek has been attributed with restorative and stimulating effects since ancient times. Recent scientific research on the content of vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, B6) and mineral salts (copper, iron, magnesium, manganese) would confirm the traditionally recognized benefits of fenugreek in case of anemia, anorexia, depression, convalescence and breastfeeding. The seeds are also used against respiratory tract infections and to treat wounds or rheumatic pains. Recent studies have demonstrated the reductive effects on triglycerides, cholesterol and blood sugar caused by the high fiber content present in the seeds.

Fenugreek: The contraindications of fenugreek


Numerous scientific researches have brought evidence in favor of the low toxicity of fenugreek. Consuming large quantities can cause gastrointestinal disturbances, which are transient as they are caused by the high fiber content. In the case of the extract, the daily dose of three grams should never be exceeded. In particular, it is not recommended to take it during pregnancy. It should be remembered, in fact, that fenugreek has been used since ancient times to promote childbirth. The substances contained in the seeds have the property of stimulating uterine contractions, thus facilitating labor. As a precaution, it is recommended not to exceed in consumption during pregnancy because it could cause premature births. Finally,

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