I talked to my mom on the phone earlier and she said she could tell I was getting lazy with my Herb Blurbs... But, I take my cues from my dog who is presently snuggled up against me under a pile of blankets, so that's how I plan to spend my time as soon as possible.
So, what's up with fenugreek? I didn't immediately recognize the name when I first learned about it, but the second I smelled it I recognized it! It's a staple of Indian cooking and has a very fragrant & some say peculiar smell. This is what it looks like (see below).
Fenugreek has a bitter taste which helps with detoxification, has a cooling effect on the body and improves gastrointestinal health. Sometimes I feel like all I say this about all of the herbs, ha! It is particularly good for debility in the nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems. Since times of yore, fenugreek has been used to increase milk production in lactating mothers and fenugreek tea is great for a sore throat. Some research has shown that fenugreek can lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and promote good cholesterol (HDL). As well, other research has shown that when fenugreek is taken 15 minutes before a meal it can relieve Type 2 diabetes.
And, since I love anything that is good for us ladies, I should mention that fenugreek has phytoestrogen qualities. Phytoestrogen benefits women in menopause, and helps with osteoperosis and bone loss. It is sometimes used to enhance the female libido, as well! But, pregnant ladies must use with caution! Fenugreek promotes vaginal bleeding and can lead to preterm labor. So, while it is completely safe for mama and baby while lactating, pregnant women should stay away.
I use it all of the time when making kitchari, but am most excited to try it as a face mask. Fenugreek is great for relieving inflammation pain so is great to apply to PItta type skin (oily, acne prone) and is often used to treat dandruff and dry scalp and even to promote hair growth. The seeds can be made into a paste and combined with honey and water to help draw out toxins, repair damaged skin cells and regenerate new ones. It is anti-aging, protects your skin from sun damage and can even help minimize dark circles under the eyes!
So eat it in your food, make it into a paste and apply to hair before washing or mix it with honey and PUT IT ON YOUR FACE!
And that's what I know about fenugreek, fools!
Ooh, and I made a giant cookie in the cast iron today. If chocolate chip cookies are an herb, then they are my favorite herb!
(Most of my information comes from my textbooks, teachers, personal experience and the book "The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine," by Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad. None of this is to be taken as medical advice, but as a way to learn a little more about herbs and Ayurveda.)