Fenugreek seedsFenugreek is a plant that belongs to the bean family, it is one of the oldest cultivated plants and it’s native of southern Europe and Asia. The ancient Egyptians were already familiar with the medicinal properties of fenugreek and described this already in the Ebers papyrus which was written around 1550 BC.

Fenugreek plantsYou can use both the leaves and the seeds from the fenugreek plant. The leaves can be used fresh or dried, you can sometimes find them in stores sold as fresh micro-vegetables. The plants are harvested when they are about 15 centimetres long. You can use the leaves in salads, fried dishes, soups, or add them to a pancake to make an Indian methi paratha. The brownish yellow fenugreek seeds have a slightly bitter taste and an aroma reminiscent of curry dishes. To get the best flavour it’s best to first lightly roast the seeds before you grind them in a powder with a mortar and pestle.

Fenugreek has many uses in herbal medicine. Fenugreek among other things ensures that blood sugar levels rise less rapidly after a meal, which also decreases the need for insulin. The insulin that gets released also functions better due to the fenugreek. These properties are all very beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.

Fenugreek also contains phyto-estrogens which is why fenugreek is effective in the treatment of all kinds of women’s ailments including problems with the menstruation and menopause. The ancient Egyptians already used fenugreek among others to initiate labour. Because of these properties, it’s best to avoid using fenugreek during pregnancy, but during the actual labour it can provide some relief and fenugreek is recommended after childbirth to stimulate the breast-milk production.

Fenugreek is also widely used as supplement to improve performance and athletic abilities. The ancient Romans were already familiar with fenugreek seeds and gave them to the gladiators so they would get stronger faster and to increase their weight. Fenugreek has several beneficial properties that enhance performance. For example, fenugreek contains the phyto-nutrient diosgenin, which is the precursor for most of the pharmaceutical steroids. It turns out that fenugreek increases the testosterone levels in the body.

Sprouted fenugreekAlso, fenugreek is very rich in high quality proteins, These natural proteins are a much better choice for body builders than many of the synthetic proteins that are on the market. Another reason for its use in sports is the high iron content of fenugreek, which enables the blood to transport more oxygen to the muscles. Fenugreek also reduces the inflammatory response after exercise which ensures a faster recovery, and fenugreek also increases your energy levels.

As you can read, fenugreek is a good herb for use in sports, but it has a lot more beneficial properties, below there are several summed up,

  • Fenugreek contains the vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B11 and C.
  • Fenugreek contains the minerals iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, potassium, selenium.
  • Fenugreek stabilizes blood sugar levels and improve insulin action.
  • Fenugreek helps in reducing symptoms related to menstruation and menopause.
  • Fenugreek improves performance in sports, and promotes lean muscle mass.
  • Fenugreek has a cholesterol-lowering effect.
  • Fenugreek protects against cancer, especially against cancer of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Fenugreek promotes the digestion and detoxifies the liver.
  • Fenugreek soothes the throat and acts as a cough medicine if you make it into a herbal tea.
  • Fenugreek has a positive effect on all kinds of problems with the digestive tract.