Fenugreek seeds (scientific name Trigonella foenum-graecum) are a multi-functional food and key ingredient in many traditional medicine systems. While not widely known in the West, they have been cultivated in the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, Egypt, and India for centuries.
For example, fenugreek was used by the ancient Egyptians to combat fever. It has also traditionally been used as a digestive aid. In the ancient system of Indian medicine known as Ayurveda, fenugreek is still prescribed today to help normalize blood sugar levels. A paste made from turmeric and fenugreek seeds is also traditionally applied to the skin to help heal bruises, rash, and itching.
As a food, the hard, yellowish brown, and angular seeds contain natural alkaloid compounds and are chock full of fiber and iron . They are also a good source of protein, magnesium, copper, and manganese.
Either whole and dried, or as a powder ground from the roasted seeds, fenugreek has long been used as a spice and flavoring agent in food. The seeds have a warm and penetrating aroma – which becomes stronger when roasted – with a bitter aftertaste, like celery. The leaves of the fenugreek plant can be used as salad greens, as well as in stews and stir-fries. The leaves are also dried to make a thickener and stabilizing agent for food preparations.
Fenugreek extracts can be found in soaps and cosmetics. It is also used as cattle fodder (which is why one of its names is “Greek hay”) and planted as a soil renovator.
Let’s take a closer look at four of fenugreek’s many proven health benefits.
#1. Fenugreek Helps to Reduce Pain and Inflammation
Fenugreek is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. In a laboratory animal study published in 2008, a water-soluble fraction of fenugreek seeds were seen to help reduce pain sensations significantly, comparing favorably to commercially available painkillers in this respect . The same water-soluble fraction was also seen to help manage inflammation within normal levels.
Similarly, a mucilage (a viscous or gelatinous solution) made from fenugreek seeds was seen to lower levels of enzymes and other compounds that promote inflammation in laboratory animal models of rheumatoid arthritis , as well as lung inflammation, was seen in allergic asthma .
#2. Fenugreek Helps to Normalize Blood Cholesterol and Lipid Levels
Ayurvedic practitioners still prescribe fenugreek today to help normalize blood lipid levels within a safe range. Modern scientific research supports this health benefit.
For instance, the results of a meta-analysis of 10 randomized clinical trials published in 2016 clearly show that fenugreek is very effective in helping to lower total cholesterol levels .
According to this meta-analysis, levels of triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) were also reduced, while levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) were increased, although not significantly.
In another placebo-controlled study, the effects of fenugreek – given 2.5 grams twice daily for three months – were examined in healthy individuals, patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), and patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, who either had CAD or were without CAD .
Healthy individuals remained unaffected after the study period. However, fenugreek was seen to lower levels of both total cholesterol and triglycerides in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus with CAD, without affecting their HDL levels.
#3. Fenugreek Helps to Maintain Normal Blood Sugar Levels
Multiple studies have shown that fenugreek helps to maintain blood sugar levels  and the body’s sensitivity to insulin in the normal range, both in healthy people and in people who have issues with blood sugar control, as conclusively shown by a 2014 meta-analysis of 10 clinical trials .
In one study, consuming 15 grams of powdered fenugreek seed soaked in water significantly lowered blood sugar levels after meals in individuals with non-insulin dependent diabetes .
In another study, insulin-dependent diabetic patients were given 50 grams of fenugreek every day in their lunches and dinners, for a total of 10 days. The study authors reported a remarkable 54 percent improvement in the 24-hour urinary blood sugar clearance .
No wonder Ayurvedic experts advise diabetics to regularly consume fenugreek sprouts or drink water fenugreek seeds were soaked in first thing in the morning, to help safely manage their blood sugar levels in the normal range .
#4. Fenugreek Boosts Male Libido
Numerous reports suggest that adding fenugreek to their daily diet can boost testosterone levels as well as libido in men.
A six-week double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study on 60 healthy individuals without erectile dysfunction showed that 600 mg of a fenugreek extract had “a significant positive effect on physiological aspects of libido and may assist to maintain normal healthy testosterone levels” .
In another double-blind study, 15 college-age men were given 500 milligrams of fenugreek while participating in a weightlifting program four times a week for eight weeks . A control group of 15 athletes also participated in the weightlifting program but did not consume fenugreek.
At the end of the study, the athletes who consumed fenugreek were seen to have significantly higher testosterone and slightly lower body fat relative to the control group.
In conclusion, this amazing medicinal spice has remarkable health-promoting effects on the body – including helping to reduce pain and inflammation, normalizing cholesterol, lipid, and blood sugar levels, along with boosting male libido.
Tip: Fenugreek is an ingredient in Organixx’s T-Plexx formula for me.