Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum ) is a herbaceous plant native to the Middle East and North Africa, a lover of dry climates and soils rich in salts. It has leaves that form compositions similar to those of clover and pod-shaped fruits, containing about twenty triangular seeds, of a yellow-brown color. The botanical name "Trigonella" derives from the triangular shape of the seeds, while the common name "fenugreek" derives from its use in ancient times, when it was used as feed for livestock.
Properties of fenugreek
Important properties are attributed to fenugreek, already verified years ago by the ancient popular tradition and today also confirmed by various studies.
1) Stimulation of the mammary gland and milk production
Popular Italian tradition recommends it to increase milk production in mothers and this galactogenic action is also recognized in the United States and in the countries of the Third World.
Some clinical studies have also focused on the fact that the active ingredients of this plant seem to stimulate the mammary gland not only in terms of milk production, but also in terms of volume , so much so that fenugreek extracts are used as a remedy. natural by women who want to increase the volume of their breasts.
This action is due to the presence of phytoestrogens, substances of plant origin with capacities very similar to female estrogens, which exploit the presence of receptors for these hormones in the breast tissue.
The hypoglycemic action of this plant is due to the presence of phenugrecin , a steroid compound belonging to the saponin family with a high blood sugar lowering power, which determines the effectiveness of fenugreek in the fight against diabetes.
3) Emollient and expectorant properties
Fenugreek contains an alkaloid, trigonellin , responsible for emollient and expectorant properties . Its intake is of great help as a solvent for mucus, favoring the elimination of excess mucus and therefore making it a valid ally against nasal congestions and colds.
4) Lowering of cholesterol and triglyceride levels
The saponins contained in the seeds of this plant bind to the cholesterol taken through food preventing its absorption, while the fibers act by decreasing the amount of triglycerides in the blood as they inhibit the lipases that digest triglycerides .
5) Remineralizing properties
It contains significant amounts of calcium , vitamin D and lysine , which stimulates its absorption and helps prevent bone fragility and osteoporosis.6) Anti-inflammatory property
Fenugreek seeds contain a large amount of mucilage which is very useful for fighting inflammation of the skin and mucous membranes .
A bit of history
The first to understand the potential benefits of fenugreek were the farmers of Ancient Egypt and the Greco-Roman era . In fact, they noticed that, by adding the pods of this plant to the forage of the cattle , there was a significant decrease in the mucous secretion of these animals. This fact prompted them to add fenugreek to their diets too, with the same results.
Fenugreek was imported from Greece to Rome after the famous Cato, basically so averse to any import of foreign products, had recommended its sowing because he had verified the fattening effect it had on livestock.
In 1600 Nicholas Culpeper, the first European herbalist who wrote down the many properties of fenugreek, classified it as an aphrodisiac , draining and galactogen . The merit of its diffusion at European level, however, is due to a Bavarian priest, Father Sebastiano Kneipp , famous for many discoveries in the field of health (still today in the SPA centers there is the famous Kneipp path, ideal for stimulating circulation) who was the first recommended the use of this herb for phytotherapeutic purposes .
Fenugreek in cosmetics
At a cosmetic level, fenugreek, whose essence remains on the skin for a long time simply by touching it, is used as an ingredient in fragrances , essential oils and in particular treatments and products for hair , especially those against dandruff and scalp problems; the high content of lecithin at the same time gives the hair a vivid shine and a healthy appearance.
It is a plant that was once very popular in Tunisia by young women about to get married: with ground fenugreek seeds, sugar and oil, they prepared focaccias and ate them in the days before the wedding, in order to present themselves more plump to the groom. and with a more turgid breast.
In many parts of the world fenugreek is highly appreciated as a food : in India , for example, it is added to the spices used for the preparation of curry ; in addition, shoots and leaves, both fresh and dried, are also consumed. In Arab countries, however, tradition has it that fenugreek seeds are included in the diets of girls in preparation for marriage to make them more desirable for the future husband.
You can find Fenugreek in the new Olealipid : try it for only € 21.70 instead of € 31.00