Fenugreek is an annual plant that is also known as methi in many places of the world. It is native to the Middle and Near East, and is widely used on the Indian subcontinent. It has small round leaves that can be dried, as well as seeds. There is even evidence that the ancient Egyptians understood the benefits of fenugreek, since fenugreek seeds have been found in tombs, particularly of Tutankhamen.
This plant is grown in countries across the globe, but the majority is cultivated and consumed in India. Fenugreek is interesting, because it can be used for three distinct purposes. The leaves can be dried and used as herbs, the seeds can be ground into a spice, and the plant matter itself can be used as a vegetable, like sprouts and micro greens. This makes fenugreek so important, because there are healthy attributes in all of those plant parts that can boost your health!
Most of the health benefits of fenugreek are due to the presence of saponins and fiber that it contains. Fenugreek is also used for herbal healing. Its seeds contain a gumming substance called mucilage and when mixed with water, mucilage expands and becomes a gelatinous salve for irritated tissues.
It is a member of the bean family and its scientific family name is Fabaceae. These health benefits are due to the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in this powerful plant.
- Reduces Cholesterol
- Reduces Cardiovascular Risk
- Controls Diabetes
- Minimizes Symptoms of Menopause
- Anti-Carcinogen (Cancer fighting)
- Appetite Suppressant
Cooking with Fenugreek
Fenugreek is easy to incorporate into your diet. It has a unique sweet and earthy flavor that can be added to any dish. To prepare, simply cut off the roots and pull leaves from stems. Discard stems and thoroughly soak and rinse the leaves to remove any debris. You can chop the leaves and sauté with garlic and spices (i.e. turmeric, pepper), and follow instructions for your favorite rice. You can also add tomatoes and lemon and cook with fish.