It grows spontaneously especially near the coasts and in the submontane areas fenugreek, plant with a scientific name Trigonella foenum-graecum and originally from western Asia. There are those who love it and those who hate it because of its particular smell, certainly very strong and definitely impossible to confuse with anything else. It is used precisely for this reason also in the production of perfumes and cosmetics.
But let's get back to the scientific name "Trigonella" which derives from the shape of the fenugreek flowers, in a triangle while the name fenugreek wants to remind us of the fact that this herbaceous plant is also used as a feed for livestock.
Not only animals feed on this plant, in fact in different parts of the world it is used at the table, as food. For example, in Arab countries we find this hay in some typical dishes that are "dedicated" to engaged girls. The seeds are inserted because it seems to have a particularly precious effect, that of soften female forms. It is the way to appear more sensual in the eyes of the future husband. Another country that uses this herb in cooking is India, which puts it in curry and at the same time, in America, the seeds produce an oil that is widely used for the preparation of baked goods and even ice cream.
The seeds make up the drug, they are hard and grayish. To obtain it, it is necessary to let the fruits ripen and harvest them only once they are ready, then drying them in the open air. Once hardened, they must be subjected to beating and husking in order to obtain and use the alkaloid stored inside them. Is called trigonellina and it is at the base of the emollient and expectorant virtues of Trigonella, just like the mucilages.
In this way, the drug is obtained in powder form, starting from the seeds, and it looks like a grayish or reddish powder, with shades that can also tend to yellow. To be able to use this substance, natural aromas such as raspberry, lemon balm and anise are often used, due to its terrible, almost impossible taste. It is also very important to pay attention to when this powder is used because precisely because of its terrible taste, for example, it can create problems for women who are breastfeeding: their milk could take on an unpleasant taste that the baby could refuse.
The main properties of fenugreek, those that make it highly appreciated despite its bad taste, are those restorative and stimulants which are attributed to the extract of its seeds. For this reason it is an excellent remedy to cure situations of malnutrition or cases of anemia, infantile frailty. Even during a simple convalescence, fenugreek can be really useful and it has been used for this purpose for centuries, even by the ancient Egyptians.
Both the stimulating and restorative properties are explained by the presence of minerals and vitamins inside this dust. Of the former, the most present are iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, while the latter are B6, thiamine and riboflavin. Other elements that contribute to the properties of fenugreek are vegetable oils, organic phosphates, fats.
There are also several proteins which, however, are associated with anti-nutritional factors, present in almost all vegetable protein sources. This means that they limit or reduce the action of digestive enzymes and the nutritional value of the product actually decreases. The situation improves if the food is cooked.
Fenugreek is also referred to as aphrodisiac remedy, it is actually a mere hypothesis which is not confirmed and which is based on the good balance of vitamins and minerals contained.
There are studies that investigate the hypocholesterolemic and hypotiglyceridemic properties of these seeds and the dust obtained from them. In fact, it seems that the seeds are able to act on blood glucose levels and to modulate the absorption of sugars thanks to the presence of dehydrated fibers. In fact, when they arrive in the intestine, they absorb the water they find and increase intestinal motility and at the same time reduce our ability to absorb nutrients.
In this way the fenugreek seeds also stimulate the excretion of bile acids which facilitates the elimination of excess cholesterol from the body. This is why we speak of cholesterol-lowering properties. Another benefit to mention, although not certain, is that relating to colon and breast cancer prevention, again due to the abundant presence of fiber).
Fenugreek extracts are taken and can be taken every day one to three grams depending on what you want to treat and also on the weight and age of the person. It is not a particularly toxic substance and in general it should not cause problems other than some problems in the intestine. The only subjects to which it is strongly advised against are the pregnant women because it could lead to unwanted increases in uterine contractility. Even when breastfeeding it is better not to take these seeds because they make the milk unpleasant to the taste.
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