|Home A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z|
|Home F Fenugreek: The Benefits of Fenugreek|
The Benefits of Fenugreek
Although fenugreek seeds are used extensively in the recipes of countries in the Middle and Far East, in the West it is not as well known as many other spices. Not only does fenugreek impart a characteristic flavour and tang to food but it also has several very important disease preventing characteristics.
In traditional medicine, fenugreek has been used to treat a number of conditions including diabetes, sore throats, and in poultices used to treat sores and abscesses. Recent investigations into the medicinal properties of this spice suggest it is important not only as a preventive for chronic diseases such as diabetes, but also for enhancing normal physiological processes, especially with respect to athletic performance.
As with most spices it contains many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds such as apigenin, genistein, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, selenium and superoxide-dismutase. It also contains compounds such as trigonelline that has shown to prevent the degeneration of nerve cells in neuro-degenerative diseases.
Medicinal properties of fenugreek
Cardiovascular disease and blood lipids
Working in a similar way to the common antidiabetic drug glibenclamide, fenugreek lowers cellular insulin resistance and controls blood glucose homeostasis. It has been shown to lower blood glucose levels of Type II diabetics by as much as 46 percent.
It also increases the levels of several important antioxidants and reduces the damaging oxidation of lipids associated with diabetes.
As an added bonus, fenugreek seeds are very rich in a type of dietary fibre that modulates post-prandial blood glucose levels by delaying the absorption of sugar in the intestines. This mucilaginous fiber also reduces the absorption of fat and cholesterol from the intestines thus providing additional protection against heart disease and obesity.
Alzheimer's and other neuro-degenerative diseases
Fenugreek has been shown to have a strong effect on glycogen replenishment; increasing post-event re-synthesis by over 60 percent in some endurance athletes. While its effects on glycogen re-synthesis during an event have yet to be tested, fenugreek is likely to exhibit a similarly beneficial effect during, as well as after, exercise.
While other spices like chilies and cinnamon hold the culinary and medicinal headlines, the research into fenugreek is showing us that this spice has health benefits on a par with, or even superior to, those of the better known spices.
However it is important to appreciate that synergism between different spices enhances the bioavailability and efficacy of their respective bioactive compounds. Therefore, to obtain optimum benefit from fenugreek, it is important to use it with other common spices in both the prevention and treatment of disease.
Keith Scott is a medical doctor who has a special interest in nutritional medicine. He has written several books on health related topics including Medicinal Seasonings, The Healing Power Of Spices and Natural Home Pharmacy. For more information about the medicinal properties of fenugreek and other spices go to:
Glossary References Links Contact