Health Benefits of

fenugreek

Fenugreek, also known as Trigonella foenum-graeucum or greek hay, is famous for its use as a spice to impart flavor and aroma to the food. This semiarid crop is native to Southern Europe and Western Asia. Fenugreek is a medicinal herb that contains numerous compounds with biological effects and health benefits. [1] The health benefits of turmeric are stated as follows.

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Analgesic Property of Fenugreek

Topical application of fenugreek extract decreases the intensity of pain, particularly in postoperative patients. Topical fenugreek surpasses first pass mechanisms and has greater bioavailability. Fenugreek contains a steroidal compound called diosgenin that mimics the action of steroids and reduces anxiety among patients. Fenugreek acts on the serotonergic system and reduces the sensitivity of nerves to pain. [2]

Antifungal Activity of Fenugreek

Yeast infections of the scalp may cause seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff in the affected individuals. One such organism that gives rise to cutaneous conditions of the scalp is Malassezia furfur. Alkaloids in the fenugreek extract are highly responsible for antifungal action. Flavonoids and phenolic compounds in fenugreek also have antimicrobial properties that enable fenugreek extract to be effective against biofilms of pathogenic fungi. [3]

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Figure 2 A study comprising of patients treated for inguinal hernia compares the effects of fenugreek dermal patch, diclofenal dermal patch, and the placebo group on the overall pain score. As shown in the figure, fenugreek reduces pain more effectively. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30721143/

Fenugreek and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition characterized by the destruction of articular cartilage by the body's immune system. This condition deteriorates the quality of life and hinders routine activities. Osteoarthritis is the major form of inflammation and occurs due to wear and tear of the joint. Fenugreek inhibits the activity of inflammatory enzymes, cyclooxygenase, and lipoxygenase, as well as reduces inflammatory mediators including interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Fenugreek alleviates inflammation symptoms such as pain and edema. [4]

Emollient Properties of Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds contain galactomannans that reduce transepidermal water loss of the skin and make the skin feel soft and smooth. Fenugreek strengthens the protective skin barrier and restores the lipid layer over the skin. Polysaccharides in the fenugreek seeds act as a humectant and provide moisture to the skin. Fenugreek seeds also contain antioxidant flavonoids and phenolic compounds that protect the skin from oxidative stress and reduce melanin production. This improves skin complexion and makes the skin tone uniform. [5]

References

  1. Nagulapalli Venkata KC, Swaroop A, Bagchi D, Bishayee A. A small plant with big benefits: Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn.) for disease prevention and health promotion. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Jun;61(6). DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201600950. Epub 2017 Apr 27. PMID: 28266134.

  2. Ansari M, Sadeghi P, Mahdavi H, Fattahi-Dolatabadi M, Mohamadi N, Asadi A, Sharififar F. Fenugreek dermal patch, a new natural topical antinociceptive medication for relieving the postherniotomy pain, a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. J Complement Integr Med. 2019 Feb 5;16(3):/j/jcim.2019.16.issue-3/jcim-2018-0082/jcim-2018-0082.xml. DOI: 10.1515/jcim-2018-0082. PMID: 30721143.

  3. Kulkarni M, Hastak V, Jadhav V, Date AA. Fenugreek Leaf Extract and Its Gel Formulation Show Activity Against Malassezia furfur. Assay Drug Dev Technol. 2020 Jan;18(1):45-55. DOI: 10.1089/adt.2019.918. Epub 2019 Sep 16. PMID: 31524496; PMCID: PMC6998042.

  4. Suresh P, Kavitha ChN, Babu SM, Reddy VP, Latha AK. Effect of ethanol extract of Trigonella foenum graecum (Fenugreek) seeds on Freund's adjuvant-induced arthritis in albino rats. Inflammation. 2012 Aug;35(4):1314-21. DOI: 10.1007/s10753-012-9444-7. PMID: 22395729.

  5. Waqas MK, Akhtar N, Ahmad M, Murtaza G, Khan HM, Iqbal M, Rasul A, Bhatti NS. Formulation and characterization of a cream containing extract of fenugreek seeds. Acta Pol Pharm. 2010 Mar-Apr;67(2):173-8. PMID: 20369794.