Botanical name: Trigonella foenum-graecum L (family: Leguminosae)

fenugreekseedThe name fenugreek or foenum-graecum is from Latin for “Greek hay”. The plant’s similarity to wild clover has likely spawned its Swedish name: “bockhornsklöver” as well as the German: “Bockshornklee”, both literally meaning: “ram’s horn clover”.

Zohary and Hopf note that it is not yet certain which wild strain of the genus Trigonella gave rise to the domesticated fenugreek but believe it was brought into cultivation in the Near East. Charred fenugreek seeds have been recovered from Tell Halal, Iraq, (radiocarbon dating to 4000 BCE) and Bronze Age levels of Lachish, as well as desiccated seeds from the tomb of Tutankhamen. Cato the Elder lists fenugreek with clover and vetch as crops grown to feed cattle (De Agri Cultura, 27).

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Recipe

Methi (Fenugreek) Murgh

fenugreekmasalaIngredients:
1 kg chicken, washed and cut into medium sized pieces
1 cup packed fresh methi leaves, add little salt+sugar+water, keep aside for 15 mts and squeeze out water
2 large onions, sliced, saute in a tbsp of oil till brown and cool
1 tsp green chilli paste (2-3 green chillis)
3/4 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tomato, pureed
7-8 cashewnuts, soak in warm water and make paste
large pinch turmeric powder
3/4 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin powder
garam masala powder
(2 cloves, 1″ cinnamon, 1 elaichi)
salt to taste
1/4 cup yogurt
2 tbsps oil

Method:

  • Make a paste of browned onions and curd. Keep aside.
  • Heat 2 tsps oil in a cooking vessel, add the methi leaves and saute for 7-8 min or till they turn crisp. Remove and keep aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the same vessel, add ginger garlic paste and green chilli paste and saute for 3-4 min.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and combine.
  • Add the tomato puree and cook for 3 min. Add the onion-curd paste and cook for another 3 min.
  • Add the chicken pieces and combine well. Cook on medium high flame for 3-4 min. Reduce flame, place lid and let the chicken cook till three fourth done.
  • Add the cashewnut paste, garam masala powder and sauteed methi leaves and combine well. Add few tbsps of water. if necessary at this point of time. Cook till the chicken turns soft and you get the gravy consistency of your choice. It should be a thick creamy gravy.
  • Turn off heat and serve hot with white rice, biryani, flavored rice or rotis (Indian Bread).
Home Remedies
  • Fenugreek seeds helps to control type I and II diabetes.
  • It reduces high serum cholesterol.
  • This seeds relieves constipation may be because the seeds contain a gum which when mixed with water expands in the gut and adds bulk to the stool.
  • It can be prescribed to nursing mothers to increase their milk production.
  • Since fenugreek seeds contain chemicals (diosgenin and estrogens isoflavones) similar to the female sex hormone oestrogen is considered as a potent menstruation promoter (menstrual discomforts), minimise symptoms of menopause.
  • Fenugreek sprouts can be incorporated in your salads to help to minimise these problems.

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Medicinal Value

Fenugreek, most popularly known as “Methi” is an Indian herb, the stems, leaves and twigs of which are used for cooking, medications and for nutritional value. The leaves and seeds of the plant in particular, are of high medicinal and nutritional value.

Fenugreek seeds are rich sources of carbohydrates, proteins, Vitamin A and C, iron, calcium and minerals. Apart from providing energy and roughage, Fenugreek prevents constipation, improve digestion, stimulates liver and spleen, purifies blood and serves as appetizer. The twigs and leaves of the plant are also used as poultice for ulcers, boils and abscess.

The Fenugreek seeds contain “Diosgenin” which is more of a raw material substance used in medical steroids by pharmaceutical industries. The seeds of Fenugreek have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used for relieving pain. Fenugreek seeds can be boiled and made to a thick paste and applied on skin injuries like rashes, wounds and boils as a first-aid measure.

Also a tablespoon of powdered fenugreek seeds can be mixed in a cup of warm water, simmered for ten minutes and strained. This can be used for gargling, which provides relief from sore throat. Also one tablespoon of fenugreek seeds when boiled in 300ml of water and reduced to half, and when the mixture is drunk regularly for ten days, it provides relief from sinusitis.

The seeds of Fenugreek are beneficial for diabetic patients too. When regularly given in varying doses, they reduce reactive hyperglycemia in diabetics. Apart from reducing glucose levels, the triglycerides and serum cholesterol levels can also be significantly reduced by use of Fenugreek. The easiest method to consume would be by preparing decoctions (two tablespoons of seeds in a cup of water, reduced to half, thrice a day). This decoction also helps in better lactation in nursing mothers.

Due to the cooling and soothing effects of Fenugreek seeds, they are considered beneficial in skin irritation and inflammation. The other benefits of this herb includes solving digestive disorders, numbness of the organs, anemia, fever, bad breath, respiratory infections, mouth ulcers, dandruff, prevents blackheads, pimples, and premature ageing.

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