Fenugreek seeds: Health benefits and Side effects

Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek scientifically known as Trigonella foenum-graecum L  is an annual herbaceous leguminous plant cultivated in all major continents. The seeds of fenugreek are rich in amino acids, protein, and oil. The seeds because of its huge constituents are widely used for the medicinal purpose from ancient time. Every anciently known culture mention fenugreek as a part of their daily medicinal constituents.

Nutritional description of Fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek seeds are rich in protein, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and amino acids. According to United State Department of Agriculture, per 100 gm of fenugreek seeds contains following important constituents (5).

S/N Nutrients Per 100 g
1. Energy 323 KCal
2. Protein 23 g
3. Lipid 6.4 g
4. Carbohydrate 53 g
5. Fiber 24.6 g
6. Calcium 176 mg
7. Iron 33.53 mg
8. magnesium 191 mg
9. Phosphorus 296 mg
10. Potassium 770 mg
11. Folate 57 µg
12. Niacin 1.6 mg

Health Benefits of Fenugreek

1. Prevents ulcer

Water extract of fenugreek seeds helps in reducing the possibility of ulcers. The antiulcer property of fenugreek is because of the flavonoids present in them. These flavonoids act as an antioxidant and maintain the mucosal integrity of the stomach (1).

2. Healthy cardiac activity

Fenugreek seeds help in modulating blood lipid level. It also helps in absorbing cholesterol, triglycerides and other LDL lipids and increase the HDL lipid. This helps in reduction of cardiac-related diseases and keeps the heart healthy

3. Reduce Stroke

Seeds of fenugreek contain an incredible organic substance known as coumarin. Coumarin has a unique property of reducing the probability of blood clotting associated with strokes.

4. Prevents breast cancer

Studies were done on breast cancer cell line, it was found that fenugreek helps in reducing the possibility of breast cancer. Fenugreek contains a compound known as diosgenin which is a poly steroidal sapogenin compound used as a precursor for several hormones. This diosgenin helps in locking the uncontrolled cell proliferation of breast cancer cell line. Thus consuming fenugreek may help in controlling the breast cancer (6).

5. Antidiabetic

The antidiabetic nature of fenugreek seeds has been proved through the huge amount of research. Therefore fenugreek can be used as a natural drug against diabetes. Fenugreek has very low or no side effect to the diabetic patient’s contradiction to that of a synthetic drug. Fenugreek contains antihyperglycemic compounds like carbohydrate, alkaloids, and steroids which absorbs excess glucose from the body (7).

6. Increase lactation

Helps in increasing the milk production in mothers. It was found that fenugreek contains some hormone precursor which helps in increasing lactation within 72 hrs of their consumption (8)

7. Healthy hair

Fenugreek because of its protein and lecithin content keeps hair healthy and shiny. Applying fenugreek paste also helps in preventing hair loss, hair thinning and stops dandruff (9).

8. Weight loss

Drinking fenugreek seeds soaked in water everyday morning empty stomach helps in reduction of weight. Fenugreek seeds help in inhibition of impaired fat accumulation and improve glucose and lipid metabolism in the body (10).

9. Enhance immunity

Fenugreek helps in enhancing the immunity of the body. Due to its immune boosting property it can be used for a variety of medicinal purpose and also strengthened the use of Ayurvedic and Unani drugs (10).

10. Stops Cataracts

Fenugreek seeds help in stopping cataract. Studies done on mice who are diabetic showed that on giving fenugreek seeds helps in delaying or reduction of galactose-induced cataracts (12). Therefore taking fenugreek seeds has a dual effect on the body, it not only prevents diabetes but also helps in stopping cataracts.

Side effects

1. Allergy

Inhalation of fenugreek seed powder may cause allergy-like coughing, sneezing, and fainting in some people (2)

2. Precaution for Asthma patients

People with chronic asthma should avoid using fenugreek seed powder paste as it causes numbness of head and facial angioedema (2).

3. Hypoglycemic

Fenugreek causes the reduction in glucose level, therefore one taking fenugreek a person should continuously monitor its blood glucose level (3).

4. Increase bleeding

Fenugreek contains an organic substance known as comurine, which may cause increased bleeding in some people (12)

5. Reduce fertility in male

A diet containing 30% of fenugreek seeds reduce sperm counts in males. In research done on male mice, it was found that fenugreek seeds reduce testis weight and damage seminiferous tubules (11).

References

  1. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/83c3/b8e496b490809a482e424b4aa9634e97fd27.pdf
  2. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1081-1206(10)63185-7
  3. https://dx.doi.org/10.1186%2F1475-2891-13-7
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11310527
  5. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/269?fg=&man=&lfacet=&count=&max=35&sort=&qlookup=&offset=0&format=Full&new=&measureby=
  6. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/65/9_Supplement/1382.1
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2816457/
  8. http://www.ijrap.net/admin/php/uploads/1573_pdf.pdf
  9. http://www.ijabbr.com/article_7851_bbd8fa7701b237d7746306a9df24e736.pdf
  10. https://dx.doi.org/10.1155%2F2014%2F606021
  11. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2005.08.020
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15234767

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