Trigonella foenum-graecum

Fenugreek - Trigonella foenum-graecum (in the Fabaceae or Legume family)

Parts used: Seed.

Taste/smell: Mucilaginous, bitter, maple-like taste.

Dosage: Freshly powdered herb: 1/2 -1 teaspoon per cup of cold water, let sit for a few hours and drink; decoction: 1 teaspoon per cup of water; or 1:3 dry liquid extract: 10-50 drops 1-4 times per day.

Mental picture and specific indications: The specific indication for fenugreek is cold damp swelling and stagnation in the legs. It also disperses cold and alleviates pain.

Use: (a) Demulcent, (b) Anti-inflammatory, (c) Hypolipidemic, (d) Hypoglycemic, (e) Diuretic, (f) Galactagogue, (g) Antiatherosclerotic.

It is used in gastrointestinal inflammation, coughs, colic, diarrhea in infants, cholesterol level reduction, diabetes and as an eye wash for inflamed eyes. Externally, it can be used as a poultice for inflamed, irritated skin conditions. Research has shown antifertility and antiandrogenic effects on male rats who were fed a fenugreek extract.

Fenugreek contains alkaloids 0.2-0.36% trigonelline, gentianine, carpaine, 45-60% carbohydrate which is chiefly the mucilage galactomannans, 20-30% protein and 6-10% fixed oil. It is rich in tryptophan and poor in sulfur containing amino acids. There are also several steroidal saponins, flavonoids and 0.015% essential oil.

Contraindications: Oral drugs or herbs taken at the same time as fenugreek may have delayed absorption due to mucilage content. Since experimental research has shown fenugreek to stimulate animal uteri and due to its emmenagogue and abortifacient effects, it is contraindicated in pregnancy unless used under the guidance of a qualified health care practitioner.

Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.