Ever wondered why the bitter fenugreek is often added in cooking? Despite imparting desirable aroma and flavor to the food, methi seeds are of great medicinal value and thus form an essential ingredient in both North Indian and South Indian dishes. With the scientific name Trigonella foenum-graecum, fenugreek is called methi in Hindi (and in most North Indian languages), venthayam in Tamil, menthya in Kannada, uluwa in Malayalam and menthulu in Telugu. Listed below are some of the commonly identified medicinal properties of methi seeds, leaves, etc. Check out these 11 Must-Know Benefits of Methi Seeds
- Controls blood sugar levels: Fenugreek is rich in fibers such as galactomannan which slows down the digestion process, thus regulating the absorption of carbohydrates and sugar. Doctors recommend that consuming about a tablespoon of methi powder with lukewarm water early in the morning before starting the day would help curb diabetes.
- Takes care of your tresses: Our ancestors often used fenugreek as a hair tonic and believed that it cures baldness. Making a paste of the methi leaves and applying over the scalp regularly before shampooing would result in long, silky, and glossy hair, and would also cure dandruff. Massaging the head everyday with boiled fenugreek seeds soaked overnight in coconut oil is an excellent remedy for a weak scalp, thinning of hair and hair fall.
- Protects the skin: The anti-inflammatory properties of fenugreek help in curing boils, burns, pimples, eczema, etc. Thus, methi leaves can be ground into a paste and applied on the affected area. Fenugreek powder mixed with honey and applied on the face is believed to remove acne scars, blackheads as well as wrinkles.
- Promotes lactation: The presence of diosgenin in fenugreek has long been known to promote breast enlargement and also breast milk production in lactating mothers. In India, the seeds are powdered and made into porridge and offered to lactating mothers. The methi seeds are crushed and fed to cows to increase their supply of milk.
- Reduces menstrual cramps: The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of fenugreek helps in alleviating the pain during menstruation. Fenugreek seeds can be consumed with a glass of warm water on an empty stomach to curb ‘dysmenorrhea’ or menstrual cramps. The powder made from fenugreek seeds can be consumed to get rid of fatigue, headache, and nausea caused during menstruation. Compounds like diosgenin and isoflavones present in methi help in regulating symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and mood changes. Fenugreek also contributes to the contraction of uterus thereby inducing childbirth.
- Cures stomach ailments: The high amount of mucilage present in fenugreek seeds helps bulk up your stool and thereby provides instant relief for stomach upset and diarrhea. Swallowing one teaspoon of fenugreek seed powder followed by one tablespoon of yogurt two to three times a day would give immediate relief from flatulence and diarrhea. Fenugreek tea is also used for treating other stomach disorders such as indigestion, peptic ulcers, etc. as the seeds become mucilaginous in water and soothe the stomach. Drinking fenugreek decoction early in the morning would help in curing constipation.
- Reduces cholesterol level: According to studies, methi helps in reducing cholesterol level, especially that of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL). It is a rich source of steroidal saponins that prevent the absorption of cholesterol and triglycerides. The presence of soluble fibre increases the viscosity of the digested food and inhibits the absorption of cholesterol and bile acids.
- Protects the heart: The presence of galactomannan in methi plays a key role in preventing heart diseases. Fenugreek also contains a high amount of potassium that counters the action of sodium to help control heart rate and blood pressure.
- Inhibits the growth of cancer cells: Studies show that methi has the ability to inhibit further growth of cancer cells without harming the healthy cells of the body. It also induces programmed cell death of cancer cells and thus gradually curbing cancer. The fibre content of fenugreek binds to toxins in the food and flushes them out. This, in turn, helps to protect the mucous membrane of the colon from cancer and thus preventing colon cancer.
- Cures fever and sore throat: When taken with a teaspoon of lemon and honey, methi seeds would help reduce fever. Due to the presence of mucilage (which gives it a moist and sticky texture), it has a soothing effect on soaring throat and nourishes the body during illness. Continuing this treatment 2 to 3 times a day during fever would give desirable effects.
- Helps you lose weight: Galactomannan, a healthy polysaccharide in methi triggers fat breakdown and sugar metabolism in the body. It also contains more than 75% of natural soluble fibres which can swell and fill the stomach thereby suppressing appetite. Including fenugreek in our diet by chewing soaked methi seeds in the morning on an empty stomach would aid weight loss.
Remember, consuming excessive amount of methi seeds might cause side effects like nausea, bloating, etc. However, adding considerable amount of the spice to our daily diet will help you to gain not just these 11 benefits of methi seeds, but a lot more as well!