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  • Botanical: Trigonella foenum graecum
  • Family: Leguminosae
  • Hits: 822


Trigonella foenum graecum



Known as


Old Use

medical, industry, culinary

Parts Used

leaves, seed




anorexia, amenorrhea, arteriosclerosis, asthma, bronchitis, bronchitis, cancer, cholesterol lowering, circulation, diabetes, laxative, liver weakness, menstrual cramps, menstruation promotion, menstrual problems

Heart & Circulation

arteriosclerosis, blood cleansing, circulation

Hormone & Sexual Organs

amenorrhea, cramps

Muscle & Joints


Mind & Nerves


Respiratory System


Stomach & Intestinal

bladder disease, cancer, cancer prevention, constipation, digestion, gastrointestinal, laxative, liver weakness, indigestion, ulcers


anti inflammatory, carminative


Fenugreek is an annual, leguminous plant. It has tri-foliate, obovate and toothed, light green leaves. Its stems are erect, long and tender. Blooming period occurs during summer. Flowers are yellow-white, occurring singly or in pairs at the leaf axils. Fruit is a curved seed-pod, with ten to twenty flat and hard, yellowish-brown seeds. They are angular- rhomboid, oblong or even cubic, and have a deep furrow dividing them into two unequal lobes.

Properties & Uses

Fenugreek is much used in herbal medicine, especially in North Africa, the Middle East and India. It has a wide range of medicinal applications. The seeds are very nourishing and are given to convalescents and to encourage weight gain, especially in anorexia nervosa. The seeds should not be prescribed medicinally for pregnant women since they can induce uterine contractions. Research has shown that the seeds can inhibit cancer of the liver, lower blood cholesterol levels and also have an antidiabetic effect. The seed and leaves are anticholesterolemic, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, carminative, demulcent, deobstruent, emollient, expectorant, febrifuge, galactogogue, hypoglycaemic, laxative, parasiticide, restorative and uterine tonic. The seed yields a strong mucilage and is therefore useful in the treatment of inflammation and ulcers of the stomach and intestines. Taken internally, a decoction of the ground seeds serves to drain off the sweat ducts. The seed is very nourishing and body-building and is one of the most efficacious tonics in cases of physical debility caused by anaemia or by infectious diseases, especially where a nervous factor is involved. It is also used in the treatment of late-onset diabetes, poor digestion (especially in convalescence), insufficient lactation, painful menstruation, labour pains etc. The seeds freshen bad breath and restore a dulled sense of taste. Externally, the seeds can be ground into a powder and used as a poultice for abscesses, boils, ulcers, burns etc, or they can be used as a douche for excessive vaginal discharge. The leaves are harvested in the growing season and can be used fresh or dried. The seeds are harvested when fully ripe and dried for later use. Compounds extracted from the plant have shown cardiotonic, hypoglycaemic, diuretic, antiphlogistic and hypotensive activity. One of its constituent alkaloids, called 'trigonelline', has shown potential for use in cancer therapy. The seed contains the saponin diosgenin, an important substance in the synthesis of oral contraceptives and sex hormones, whilst saponins in the plant have been extracted for use in various other pharmaceutical products.

 Other Uses

 An essential oil is obtained from the seed - used as a food flavouring and medicinally. The dried plant has a strong aroma of hay. The crushed seed, mixed with oil and massaged into the scalp, is recommended for glossy hair. An infusion of the seed, used as a skin lotion, is said to be good for the complexion. A good green manure crop, it is fast growing and vigorous, producing a lot of bulk and fixing a large quantity of atmospheric nitrogen. A yellow dye is obtained from the seed


The seed contains 1% saponins. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish. Care for diabetics on antidiabetic allopathic as may lower blood sugar. Can affect drug absorption as high fibre content. Constituents can alter the effects of monoamine oxide inhibitors


Europe - S. France.


Polysaccharide galactomannan, saponins (diosgenin, yamogenin, gitogenin, tigogenin, neotigogens), mucilage, volatile oils, alkaloids (choline and trigonelline).

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.