Awhile back, I mentioned that I tried a paste of Fenugreek seeds and milk to get rid of the dark circles under my eyes. The experiment failed and now I have a goodly supply of Fenugreek seeds … but what to do with them?
Fenugreek Trigonella foenum-graecum is first mentioned as a medicinal herb on an Egyptian papyrus thought to date to around 1500 BCE. It’s also known as Greek Hay (foenum=hay, graecum=Greek). Historically, it’s been used to induce childbirth and to increase milk production in breast-feeding mothers.
Not that I cook, but fenugreek is an ingredient in many dishes, including curry. It has a maple sugar-like flavor and aroma (but a slightly bitter aftertaste). I understand it’s also used in cattle and horse feed, not only because it disguises the taste of damaged hay but because the animals like it!
Several small studies have shown that it may help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. This is not to say that it is a replacement for insulin! However, if you are not insulin-dependent, taking a few seeds each day in addition to a good diet may help.
Typically, fenugreek is about 28% mucilage. This means it is soothing to the skin and can be used externally in a paste to treat abscesses, boils, skin ulcers and burns. That said, some people do experience irritation when using a fenugreek paste on their skin, so be sure to test, first.
It’s also a nutritive and is used extensively to combat loss of appetite and to encourage weight gain.
An interesting study was just published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (10/07/2009). This was a small study, involving only 12 men. They tested a fenugreek extract and found that a high dose of the extract (1176 mg/day) caused the men to eat less fat in their diet over a two week period. Bear in mind that extracts are considerably more potent than eating the seeds or drinking a tea made of crushed seeds. But given its historical use to increase appetite and promote weight gain, this is rather novel.
I will be interested to see further studies … perhaps they’ll come up with something to combat obesity, which is a major problem in the US. Based on several studies done regarding the high fat content in fast food, that particular industry may not be too happy!
Since I’m not diabetic or breast-feeding, nor do I need to gain weight (although there are those who think I do), I continued to look around for a use for my leftover seeds. And boy, did I find a good one! Magically, the seeds are used to bring prosperity and money. Who can’t use a few more bucks nowadays? So, I’m going to start adding a few seeds to my cleaning solutions to bring more money into the house.