Fenugreek Seeds

fenugreek_seeds

History
Fenugreek is an important and one of the oldest medicinal plants on record. It is native to the Mediterranean, India, China, Northern Africa and the Ukraine, as well as being widely cultivated there. Cultivated commercial products in the United States come mainly from Morocco, Turkey, India and China. The first recorded information dates back to ancient Egypt when it was mentioned as a plant to induce childbirth as well as an embalming agent. Its use spread throughout the Arab world, Greece and India, and then eventually spread to China where it is still used today for abdominal pains, hernia, edema and “cold-damp” conditions.
In the 1800s, it was used in the U.S. as part of an infamous Lydia Pinkham formula called “Vegetable Compound”— for menstrual cramps and for postmenopausal vaginal dryness. It also has a food based tradition, used to supplement wheat and maize flour for making bread, and as a condiment. Historical and theoretical uses abound and the list is long, but a sampling includes: abortifacient, appetite stimulant, baldness, boils, breast enhancement, bronchitis, cellulites, constipation, cough, diarrhea, eczema, flatulence, galactagogue, hepatitis disease, hernia, indigestion, leg ulcers, menopausal symptoms, myalgia, postmenopausal vaginal dryness, hyperglycemia, tuberculosis and wound healing.
Production

  • India
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Iran
  • Nepal
  • Bangladesh
  • Argentina
  • Egypt
  • France
  • Spain
  • Turkey
  • Morocco

Production of fenugreek in India

  • Rajasthan
  • Gujarat
  • Uttarakhand
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Maharashtra
  • Haryana
  • Punjab

Uses
The leaves and seeds of the fenugreek plant are used as powders and extracts for medicine use. Fenugreek seeds contain 45-60% carbohydrates, most of which is a mucilaginous fiber which is 30% soluble and 20% insoluble fiber. It also contains about 20-30% proteins that are high in lysine and tryptophan, a small amount of oils (5-10%), a small amount of pyridine alkaloids (mostly trigonelline), and a few flavonoids, free amino acids, sapogenins, vitamins and volatile oils. Constituents in fenugreek that are thought to be responsible for its hypoglycemic effects include the testa and endosperm of the defatted seeds called the A subfraction, the 4 hydroxyisoleucine and the fiber. It is also thought that the saponins in the seeds are transformed in the gastrointestinal tract into sapogenins and this is responsible for the lipid lowering effects.
In foods, fenugreek is included as an ingredient in spice blends. It is also used as a flavoring agent in imitation maple syrup, foods, beverages, and tobacco. In manufacturing, fenugreek extracts are used in soaps and cosmetics. Fenugreek leaves are eaten in India as a vegetable.The herb is a characteristic ingredient in some curries and chutneys and the fenugreek extract is used to make imitation maple syrup. Because of its high nutritive contents, it is an important ingredient in vegetable and dhal dishes eaten in India. In India, Young fenugreek plants are used as a pot herb. The leaves are widely used, fresh or dried, in Indian cooking and are often combined with vegetables. Fenugreek seeds are used in a wide range of home-made or commercial curry powders. In northern Africa the plants are used for fodder.
New crop
February-March