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Herbs > Ayurvedic Herbs and their Healing Power > Fenugreek
By Dr. Satish Kulkarni

The colloquial name for fenugreek in India is methi and its botanical name is trigonella foenum graecum. Fenugreek is an annual herb with dark green color compound leaves and b odor. Seeds are brownish in color and have typical odor. They are in long seed vessels i.e. pods. Leaves and seeds are edible part of the plant which have food as well as medicinal value.

Including fenugreek in diet is a normal practice in India and neighboring countries. Ayurved recommends shat-rasatmak ahar (food including 6 types of juices). These are madhur (sweet), amla (sour), lavana (salty), tikta (bitter), katu (pungent) and kashay (astringent). If we will deliberately include all the 6 juices our diet, then the diet will be a really balanced diet which ultimately will give us long life and good health. Fenugreek contains tikta rasa (bitter juice) which helps in cleaning accumulated ama (toxins in body) thus helping in maintenance of our health.

It is said that tikta rasa food substances like fenugreek help in reducing med-dhatu (fatty tissue) which in turn helps in reducing weight. The leaves of fenugreek in cooked form help in indigestion and relieve flatulence. In post fever convalescence and in dyspepsia (hampered digestion by any reason) they help in restoring digestive system. To some extent they help in improving functions of liver and this is the reason a soup of fenugreek with few other edible herbs is given in conditions like kamala ( a type of Jaundice).

The herb is rich in vitamins and minerals. Leaves and seeds contain calcium, phosphorus, few vitamins from B-complex group in addition to vitamin C. It is also rich source of iron. Both leaves and seeds should be included in normal diet of family, especially diet of growing kids, pregnant ladies, puberty reaching girls and elder members of family because they have haematinic (i.e. blood formation) value.

One ayurvedic school says, substances which have tikta rasa (bitter juice) have diaphoretic properties. A decoction or a herbal tea prepared out of fenugreek and few other substances is used as a diaphoretic mixture in few Indian tribes. Fenugreek has mild laxative property which also helps cleaning ama (toxins) chocked in body systems thus helping restoration from illness. A poultice prepared from fenugreek and few other substances helps soothing irritation of skin and in addition reduce swelling of the part. Soutikshastra (ayurvedic gynecology and midwifery) has recommended use of fenugreek in promoting lactation in breast feeding mothers.

One ayurvedic sanhita (mega book) says fenugreek helps in improving digestive tract functions and should be regularly used as a cleansing agent. It further says, fenugreek helps in cleaning ama (toxins) and clogged mucous in respiratory and digestive systems. According to this book, fenugreek is also useful in healing of different ulcers in digestive tract. In chronic problems like ulcerative colitis etc. fenugreek is claimed to give protective coating to digestive tract thus helping in giving relief.

Another school of ayurved has claimed the results in diabetes mellitus. One teaspoonful of fenugreek seeds are soaked in water for whole night and this water should be taken empty stomach in the morning is a suggestion.

We normally eat food which contains madhur (sweet), amla (sour) and lavana (salty) rasa only. This makes diet deficient. Substances like fenugreek help us in adding 4th rasa i.e. tikta. They also help us in re-activating all the 6 senses which our tongue has.

In short fenugreek has cleansing properties. It helps in balancing our diet because its bitter juice is equally important constituent of diet. It also helps for reduction of weight. A decoction or an herbal tea prepared out of fenugreek and other substances is a proven diaphoretic mixture. Fenugreek increases iron levels in pregnancy and improves lactation after delivery. Leaves are rich source of vitamins and minerals.

For further information on Ayurveda and/or questions please Visit India Herbs For Genuine Ayurvedic Medicines and Nutritional Supplements or contact Dr. Satish Kulkarni




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