What is Fenugreek?

Published February 19, 2015

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Fenugreek seeds and leaves are used not only in cooking but are also used and revered in traditional systems of medicine for numerous purposes. In fact, fenugreek is one of the oldest medicinal plants on record and was used for culinary and medicinal applications as far back as Ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome.1 It also has a long history of use in traditional Indian (Ayurvedic) Medicine where it’s used to:

  • Aid digestion
  • Support a healthy appetite
  • Soothe internal irritated tissues, especially mucous surfaces e.g. the lining of the digestive tract

In traditional Chinese medicine, fenugreek is used to relieve abdominal discomfort.

Fenugreek contains mucilage, a type of fiber that produces a gel-like consistency when it’s mixed with water. The mucilaginous content and demulcent (soothing) properties of fenugreek is what’s thought to help soothe irritated internal tissues such as those that line the digestive tract.

Other properties of Fenugreek include: appetite-stimulant, anti-inflammatory 2 and carminative (calming to the digestive tract).3 It’s also considered to be an antioxidant and is a valuable source of fibre, flavonoids, polysaccharides, up to 30% mucilage, seven essential amino acids, and vitamins A, C, D, B1, B2 and B3. 4

What does the science say about fenugreek?

The traditional use of fenugreek to aid healthy digestion is supported by recent studies which show that it enhances the activity of the digestive enzymes lipase, sucrase and maltase,4 assisting in the breakdown of food. Its antioxidant effects have also been observed in several clinical trials.

Fenugreek and supplementation

While fenugreek seeds can be easily added to food, broader effects will be experienced with a fenugreek supplement, which may be beneficial for those who would like to support their digestive health or ease symptoms of an upset or irritated digestive or upper respiratory tract. Look for fenugreek in the Nature’s Own™ range as a single ingredient or in combination with other herbal extracts.

Learn about which Nature's Own product may be appropriate for you.

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