Fenugreek, also known as Methi in Hindi, is a delicious spice used commonly in Ayurvedic cooking because it offers the pungent, bitter and sweet taste in different phases throughout the digestive process. Fenugreek is laghu, light to digest, and snigdha, oily. Along with being awesomely tasty, it also has numerous health benefits in food and as a powder and paste.
Fenugreek is a heating spice that balances Kapha, helping to relieve symptoms of imbalance such as coughs, asthma, bronchitis and chest congestion. It also pacifies Vata in a smaller way, helping to heal symptoms of excess Vata like neuralgia, paralysis, constipation and bloating. But it’s important to keep in mind that it increases Pitta, so it may increase bleeding disorders like bloody noses and heavy periods in women. People who tend to have imbalanced Pitta should use Fenugreek sparingly and avoid altogether during summer.
In Ayurveda, Fenugreek is used to strengthen digestion, heal stomach disorders and improve the quality of the skin and hair. It is also used when treating diabetes because of a special amino acid called 4HO-Ile. When using Fenugreek for diabetes relief, 5 grams should be taken once or twice a day of either the seeds or the powder. The powder should be taken with water and the seeds can be chewed thoroughly and then swallowed. Fenugreek is especially useful in increasing breast milk production. The lactating mother should take 5-10 grams of the powder once or twice a day. In the case of bloating, constipation and gastritis, a teaspoon of the seeds or the powder should be taken with buttermilk made from skim milk. This should be taken at night after eating dinner to promote the gentle laxative effect. The whole seeds are also rich in important vitamins: folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, B6 and vitamins A, C and K. They also have magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, potassium, calcium, selenium and iron.
When using Fenugreek in cooking, it’s best to sauté both the seeds and powder before stirring in the vegetables and grains (like with many Ayurvedic spices). Coriander, cumin, fennel, ginger and turmeric combine well with Fenugreek. In India, the leaves are also used as a vegetable.
With its many benefits and uses, Fenugreek is a highly versatile spice/vegetable. How do you use Fenugreek in your Ayurvedic routine?
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All views and information shared here is only for more Ayurvedic knowledge. Please do not try or prescribe any of the remedies and suggestions here without talking to your regular, qualified doctor. Kottakkal Ayurveda and no other person is responsible for any unwanted side-effects or contraindications in your health. Thank you!