Fenugreek Spice   Indian Spices    History of Spices    Types of Spices    Spice Producing Areas    Spice Farming    Spice Recipes    Culinary Terms    Regional Recipes
Free E-magazine
Subscribe to our Free E-Magazine on Spices.
Learn More
Jimtrade.com : India Business to Business Directory
Business Directory of Indian Suppliers Manufacturers and Products from India.
India`s leading Yellow pages directory.
India`s leading Yellow pages directory.
Home > Types of Spices > Seeds > Fenugreek
Fenugreek Spice
Fenugreek PlantBotanical name: Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn.
Family: Leguminosae.

Indian names are as follows:
Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Urdu:Methi
Malayalam:Ventayan, Uluva
Tamil:Vendayam, Venthiyam
Telugu:Menthulu, Mentulu.

The plant is grown as a green leafy vegetable and for its seeds. The plant is eaten as salad and also after cooking popularly known as `Methi sag`. The seed is a popular spice. Both plant and the seeds are considered medicinal.

The robust herb has light green leaves, is 30 to 60 cm tall, and produces slender beaked pods 10 to 15 cm long. Each pod contains 10 to 20 small hard yellowish brown seeds, which are smooth and oblong, about 3 mm long; each is grooved across one corner, giving it a hooked appearance.

India is one of the major producers and exporters of fenugreek, This spice occupies third place in area and fourth in production among all the minor spices grown in this country. Fenugreek is exported to Saudi Arabia, Japan, Malaysia the USA, the UK, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

The composition of seed on an average is given below:
Moisture:6.3 %
Protein:9.5 %
Fat:10.0 %
Carbohydrates:42.3 %
Total ash:13.4 %
Calcium:1.3 %
Phosphorus:0.48 %
Iron:0.011 %
Sodium:0.09 %
Potassium:1.7 % Vitamin B1:0.41 mg/100 g
Vitamin B2:0.36 mg/100 g.
Niacin:6.0 mg/100 g
Vitamin C:12.0 mg/100g
Vitamin A:1040 I.U./100 g
Calorific value:370 calories/100g
Gums:23.06 %
Mucilage:28.00 %.

In nutshell, fenugreek seed contains many substances like protein, starch, sugars, mucilage, mineral matters, volatile oil, fixed oil, vitamins and enzymes. Seeds are rich in essential amino acids.

Fenugreek LeavesFenugreek leaves and stems are also rich in calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Although fresh leaves contain only 3 to 5 % protein, on dry basis, they are comparable to pulses.

The fixed oil content of the seed is about 7 %. The fatty acids consist largely of oleic, linoletic and linolenic. It has marked drying properties, the dried oil being golden yellow in color and insoluble in ether. The oil has a disagreeable odor and bitter taste.

The volatile oil content of fenugreek is less than 0.02 %. It is not commercially very important.

Fenugreek has been used both as a food or food additive as well as in medicines. Fresh tender pods, leaves and shoots which are rich in iron, calcium, protein, vitamins A & C, are eaten as curried vegetable since ancient times in India, Egypt and other countries. As a spice, fenugreek also adds to nutritive value and flavor of foods. Because of this, fenugreek is of considerable importance in those countries in the Middle and Far East where meatless diets are customary for cultural and religious reasons.

In Egypt and Ethiopia, fenugreek is a popular ingredient of bread, known to the Arabs as `Hulba`, and in Ethiopia going by the Amharic name `Abish`. In Greece, the seeds, boiled or raw, are eaten with honey. Fenugreek extract is an important ingredient for maple syrup. Fenugreek is mainly of interest as one of the principal odorous constituents of curry powder.

Medical papyri from ancient Egyptian tombs reveal that it was used both to reduce fevers and also as a food. According to belief of the ancients, fenugreek stimulates the digestive process as well as the metabolism in general. The seeds are used in colic flatulence, dysentery, dyspepsia with loss of appetite, diarrhea, chronic cough, dropsy, enlargement of liver and spleen, rickets, gout and diabetes. The seeds are used as carminative, tonic, aphrodisiac; infusion is given to small pox patients as a cooling drink; roasted and then infused, used in sweets served to ladies during the post-natal period.

Although the use of most spices in medicine has declined substantially in recent years, fenugreek is an important exception to the rule. Recent studies in England indicated that fenugreek seeds substantially contain the steroidal substance diosgenin, which is used as a starting material in the synthesis of sex hormones and oral contraceptives. The seed is used by Indian women for its power to promote lactation.

Ground fine and mixed with cottonseed, it is fed to cows to increase the flow of milk. It is used as a conditioning powder to produce a glossy coat on horses.

Indeed in the Middle Ages, fenugreek was recommended as a cure for baldness in men. In Java (Indonesia) today it is used in hair tonic preparations and as a cosmetic.

Fenugreek Tea

The seeds of fenugreek can be used to make tea which is known to increase milk secretion in nursing mothers. During the early stages of any of the respiratory tract infections such as Bronchitis, Influenza, Sinusitis, Catarrh and suspected Pneumonia, Fenugreek tea helps to perspire, dispel toxicity and shorten gestation period of fever. Fenugreek tea has a soothing effect on the inflamed stomach and intestines. It cleans the stomach, bowls and kidneys. It helps healing peptic ulcers by providing coating of mucilaginous matter.

Preparation of fenugreek tea: Soak 0.5 grams (about 1/8 teaspoonful) of crushed seed in 1 cup of cold water for 3 hours. Strain before drinking. You can sweeten the tea with honey. One can take up to four cups of Fenugreek tea. To improve flavor few drops of lemon juice can be used. For external application, prepare a thick paste by mixing the powdered seeds with hot water.

Fenugreek SeedsFenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek is used to lower blood sugar levels. Its seeds can be taken for diabetes - a glass of water or milk in which a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds has been soaked overnight is drunk each morning. Fenugreek seeds made in gruel, given to nursing mothers increase the flow of milk.

They are also used for removing dandruff. Two table spoons should be soaked overnight in water. In the morning softened seeds can be ground to a fine paste and applied on scalp and left on for half an hour. The hair is then thoroughly washed with soap-nut solution.

The seeds are widely available in health food stores and supermarkets. An infusion of the fenugreek leaves is used as a gargle for recurrent mouth ulcers. When used externally, Fenugreek has a soothing effect on the skin.

Ajowan Anardana Aniseed
Caraway Celery Seed Celeriac
Coriander Cumin Black Cumin
Dill Fennel Fenugreek
Mustard Poppy Seed False Coriander
Indianetzone.com | Home | Sitemap | Contact Us