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Powerful Therapeutic Spices in Medicine

Course Number: 549A

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

ce549 - Content - Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) - Figure 1

Fenugreek is a white-flowered herbaceous plant of the legume family, it is one of the oldest medicinal plants in Ayurveda medicine.15 The edible seeds, whole or powered, have a strong, spicy aroma and bittersweet tastes found in Middle Eastern cuisine.15 Fenugreek has been studied for its therapeutic phytochemical known as saponins.8 In clinical studies, this unique amino acid; 4-hydroxyisoleucine, may promote insulin sensitivity and better glycemic control in patients with diabetes mellitus.15

Fenugreek should be avoided by patients with legume and peanut allergies.15 Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid fenugreek due to possible early labor and or miscarriage risks as well as its hypoglycemic effects.8

Fenugreek leaves makes a flavorful addition to salads and sandwiches. The seeds may add a slight sweet and spicy flavor to curries and stews.