Table of Contents
Why is fenugreek oil so beneficial?
Fenugreek seeds are a storehouse of minerals, rich in folic acid, has Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. The fenugreek seeds are processed to obtain its oil and has antioxidant, antitumorigenic, antidiabetic, hypocholesterolemic, immunological and antioxidant properties. In many developed countries, the trend of herbal supplement consumption is growing in different age groups and FDA has also approved the fenugreek as a GRAS plant (Generally recognized as safe). The data shown by WHO says that 80% worldwide population depends on plant based medicines for meeting the healthcare benefits.
Studies reported that the fenugreek alkaloids when extracted as concentrate have similar effects as morphine. Fenugreek contains a range of powerful medicinal compounds such as flavonoids, plant sterols, alkaloids, terpenoids, tannins, cumarins, saponins and curcumins these compounds has anti-inflammatory effect and relieves pain.
Historical facts of fenugreek
Fenugreek is one of the important medicinal plant known since ancient times, it is cited for its health benefiting properties in Ayurveda, Traditional Tibetan and Chinese Medicinal system. The ancients Egyptians used fenugreek to embalm and incense the mummies and as an aid for lactation. It is a native plant of southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, cultivated in western Asia, India, northern Africa and central and southeastern Europe. It is widely known for its nutritional and aromatic value and used in various food products and many medicines.
Chemical composition of Fenugreek
Benefits of consuming fenugreek oil or in any form
1. Antioxidant: Fenugreek oil exhibits an antioxidant radical scavenging property, it is rich in flavonoid and polyphenol content and thus it is used in a range of pharmaceutical compositions.
2. Antitumor genic / Anti-cancer: Fenugreek extract is a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid) which has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also beneficial for the preventions of coronary heart diseases.
3. Anti-inflammatory: Fenugreek is also helpful for treatment of inflammations within/outside the body such as: tissue infection beneath the skin, mouth ulcers, kidney ailments, boils, gout, sciatica etc.
4. Aromatherapy: It is a pseudoscience that believes the usage of oils and other compounds for maintaining the well-being of an individual. Fenugreek seed oil is essentially used in aromatherapy because of its healing properties , reduces fever as it stimulates the production of sweat, maintains blood pressure and relaxes the nervous system. Fenugreek contains a chemical aroma compound Sotolon which is responsible for its false maple syrup like smell.
5. Antidiabetic: Fenugreek oil contains amino acid 4-hydroxyisoleucine which has anti-diabetic properties and increases insulin production. Galactomannan present in fenugreek is also helpful for slowing down the carbohydrate absorption and digestion and maintains the blood sugar level.
6. Aids in digestion and weight loss: It is rich in fiber and antioxidants, so helps removing the harmful toxins from the digestive system. It also soothes the stomach and intestine and also acts as an effective treatment for stomach ulcers.
7. Lowers LDL cholesterol: Fenugreek seed extract reduces the cardiovascular disease risks and also protects the heart if it has developed the disease. It helps in reducing the production of cholesterol especially LDL the bad cholesterol. A study University of Michigan Health System states the relationship between fenugreek and reduce in cholesterol level. It suggests that the steroidal saponins present in fenugreek helps in reducing the absorption of cholesterol in intestine and triglycerides from fatty foods.
8. Increased milk production: Fenugreek seed oil is rich in Galactagogue which stimulate the production of milk in lactating females who has difficulty in producing breast milk, helpful in breast enlargement as it mimics the hormone estrogen and results in firm and fuller breasts.
9. Boost testosterone level: Fenugreek is rich in saponin Protodioscin that is beneficial for increasing the testosterone level in males. Testofen® is a commercial fenugreek extract currently sold in US and worldwide for increasing the free testosterone level in males, improving the sexual desire, androgen deficiency and increase in muscle mass.
10. Preventing neurodegenerative disorder: Fenugreek oil acts as a neuroprotective agent, trigonelline a compound isolated from fenugreek has nerve regeneration capacity and enhances memory.
11. Treatment for menstrual pain: Dysmenorrhea is a condition of having painful cramps on lower abdomen before and during mensuration. The use of fenugreek to relieve pain from menstrual cramps is reported from females all over the world. Studies suggest that the unique medicinal components of fenugreek could be the reason to treat menstrual cramps and fight PMS. Furocyst, the fenugreek extract is known to increase the luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormones.
12. Healthy skin: Massaging fenugreek oil on skin reduces acne problems, reduces skin inflammation, stimulates the production of new healthy skin and reduces blackheads. Fenugreek contains mucilage that moisturizes and soothes the dry skin texture without causing any irritation.
13. Hair Strengthening: Fenugreek oil is rich in high protein and nicotinic acid content and it is beneficial for hair problems like hair fall, hair thinning and baldness and also used for the treatment for scalp dryness. It also contains lecithin which hydrates and strengths the hair and its follicles and maintains the silky texture of hair.
14. Respiratory diseases: The fenugreek aqueous seed extract is beneficial for asthma treatment. It is a wonder lung tonic, improves breathing conditions and lung secretion. The regular consumption of fenugreek extract is helpful to get rid of mucus accumulation in the lungs.
15. Antimicrobial activity: Fenugreeks extract contains Defensin which inhibits the growth and spread of microbes, thus it has wound healing capacity and protective against the common ulcers.
Precaution and risks
1. No significant proof that it is safe for nursing mother.
2. Avoid during pregnancy.
3. May cause unconsciousness in children.
4. May decrease the blood sugar level below normal.
5. In 2011, an E.coli O104:H4 outbreak in European countries was observed due to importing contaminated fenugreek sprouts from Egypt.
6. Can cause intestinal discomfort.
7. Can cause allergic reactions.
8. Can produce harmful drug interactions.
9. False maple syrup like smell in urine and sweat can be observed; because of Sotolon present in fenugreek.
Studies on Fenugreek Oil and Extract
1. This study  revealed the antioxidant properties of fenugreek seed extract due to the polyphenolic compounds naturally present in fenugreek. Another study reveals that the antioxidant properties of fenugreek extract has ameliorative effects , this study reveals  that the mice treated with cancer drug CPA produce less testis damage on male mice models when given with fenugreek extract.
2. In this study  the anti-cancer effect of fenugreek oil on cancer cell lines was evaluated. The study revealed the decrease in viability of cancerous cells when exposed to fenugreek oil.
3. Another study  suggests the use of fenugreek seed extract as a potential candidate for breast cancer and type 2 diabetes. The study revealed the potential of compound galactomannan present in fenugreek extract as a candidate for designing drug against cancer cells and diabetes.
4. This study suggests  the use of fenugreek seed extract as a neuroprotective agent against the neurodegenerative diseases, it inhibits the activity of acetyl cholinesterase which causes the neurodegenerative diseases. The study suggests that the fenugreek oil could be a potential agent for preventing Alzheimer and Parkinson disease.
5. A study published by Allergy Asthma Clinical Immunology  evaluated the use of fenugreek seed extract mixed with honey for the treatment of mild asthma. This formulation was recommended by the TPM (Traditional Persian Medicine) for the treatment of asthma and for enhancing the lung function in patients. The study revealed the efficiency of this formulation for the treatment of mild asthma and the FEV1 and FEV1/FVC levels were increased to a greater extent.
6. This study suggests  the potential benefit of fenugreek extract as an ovulation stimulator. It reveals that the extract stimulates the production of sex hormones in female mice models and has effect on process of folliculogenesis.
Fenugreek Extract does has a potential in benefitting you with all the above mentioned health benefits and can be taken in small amounts depending on how your body reacts to it, Sudden large dosages should be taken as can do more harm than benefitting you. Many Dietary supplements, oils and extracts are present in market; which have a substantial amount of dosage in them which is difficult to consume via raw food. These supplements can be taken in your daily routine and are pretty affordable.
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