FENUGREEK




Botanical name                               Trigonella foenum- graecum  Linn
Synonymous                                    Glycine labialia Linn
Common names
Bengali                                               Methi
English                                                Feugreek
Hindi                                                   Methi
Sanskrit                                               Methika
Tamil                                                   Vendayam
Occurrence & Distribution
Originally found beside the Black Sea, fenugreek is widely grown annual in India, North Africa, and the United States
Wild in Kahmir, Punjab, and the upper Gangetic plains. Widely cultivated in many parts of India
Description
An erect aromatic annual herb, 30- 60 cm tall. Leaves pinnate, 3- foliate. Leaflets obscurely dentate, oblanceolate- oblong, 2.0 -2.5 cm long. Flowers  axillary , 1 or 2, white or yellow- white. Pods beaked, turgid, 3- 15 cm long. Seeds 10- 20 , oblong with a deep groove across one corner, greenish brown, 2.5 -5.0 mm x 2.0- 3.5 mm
Flowers during January and fruits in March
Part used                                            Seeds and leaves. Seeds are picked when ripe in August and  September
The pods are stripped away and the seeds are made in to a liquid extract or tincture, or ground and sold as powder or tablet form
Chemical  constituents
The endosperm of the seed is rich in galactomannam. Young seeds mainly contain carbohydrates and sugar. Mature seeds yield amino acids and fatty acids on hydrolysis. Carotene, vitamins, saponins, viz. graecunins H-N, being glycosides of diosgenin differing in the sugar units attached, fenugrin B, and sapogenins, such as diosgenin, gitogenin, neogitogenin, homoorientin, saponaretin, neogigogenin, and tigogenin, vicenins 1 and 2 , vitexin and isovitexin, yamogenin and its tetrosides B and C , trigonelloside C, 3, 26 – bisglycoside ,  flavones- C- glycoside- vitexin- 2’ – O- p- coumarate, the alkaloids, trogonelline, and choline besides 7- acetoxy-4- methyl coumarin, furastanol glycosides, kaempferol, luteolin, quercetin. Leaves give saponins viz, diosgenin, and is glycoside, graecunin B , graecunins A and C, gitogenin, togogenin, kaempferol, quercetin and b- sitosterol
Therapeutic uses
Seeds- mucilaginous, demulcent, diuretic, tonic, carminative, emenagogue, astringent, emollient  and aphrodisiac. Useful remedy for fatigue, weight loss  colic, flatulence, dysentery, diarrhea, anorexia, cough, dropsy, enlargement of liver and spleen, rheumatism, lymphatism, rickets, anemia, and diabetes
Fenugreek lowers blood sugar level in Type 2 diabetes mellitus, reducing resistence to insulin and removing excess triglycerides in the blood. The fibre and saponin in fenugreek are known to reduce cholesterol and blood lipids
Leaves-  Cooling and mild aperients  ,  found useful in the treatment of external swellings and burn.
Caution
Fenugreek is not toxic and is considered completely safe
It contains steroid compounds and should not be taken by children before they reach puberty
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take more of the spice than is normally found in food



                                    

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