Fenugreek seed has long been usedby civilisations to treat ailments and has recently been thought of as useful for diabetes.
It has a taste like maple syrup or licorice, and is a popular ingredient for curries, soups and stews.
However it can also be brewed to make a tea for medicinal purposes. Some people make it to control blood pressure, others for the common cold, but researchers are still speculating about whether it helps the body produce insulin. (Always talk to your doctor before regularly consuming fenugreek tea.)
It’s easy to make the tea. Steep 1 teaspoon of organic whole fenugreek seeds in a cup of boiled water for 5 minutes. Pour the water through a strainer to remove the seeds. You won’t have to sweeten it because the tea will naturally be very sweet.
One of the Q&A’s that passed my desk today – quite interesting I thought? The surprising properties of herbs and spices – amazing.
Q: I have been taking fenugreek to help my hormones and to increase energy. Now I read that it also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. How much do I need to take to gain these benefits? And is there anything else fenugreek is good for?
A: Fenugreek is a plant that is native to southeast Europe and west Asia. Its small seeds, which have a bitter taste, are often used in Middle Eastern or North African cooking. But generations of Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans have also used fenugreek for its many medicinal properties.
As you have learned, the spice can improve cholesterol levels. In a 24-week study where subjects were given 25 g a day, “good” HDL cholesterol rose by 10 percent, while “bad” LDL cholesterol steadily decreased.
Studies have also shown that fenugreek can help stabilize blood sugar in diabetics. It works so well that sometimes it can cause the blood sugar to dip too low, so be sure to talk to your doctor before trying it for this condition.
Fenugreek can also aid digestion. Occasionally it can cause diarrhoea, though. Decreasing your dose should alleviate this side effect. In addition to seeds and capsules, fenugreek also comes in powder and gum forms.