The nutraceutical benefits of Fenugreek for skin, hair and body
Fenugreek has been a part of the Indian cooking culture for years. The seeds of fenugreek are a staple in every Indian kitchen. Not just India; it has been used as a spice throughout the world to enhance the sensory quality of foods. But did you know that it has some great nutraceutical properties too? Yes, the medicinal and health-promoting properties that you will find in your supplements. Not just the seeds, the leaves of the plant too have amazing phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals that go beyond basic nourishment, making Fenugreek a must-have superfood in your diet.
The Ayurvedic texts praise this herb for its power as an aphrodisiac, but modern vaidyas seem to be using it more for digestive and respiratory problems stemming from an excess of kaph (phlegm) and vat (wind). In ancient Egypt, methi was used to ease childbirth and to increase milk flow, and modern Egyptian women are still using it today to relieve menstrual cramps, as well as making hilba tea out of it to ease other kinds of abdominal pain. The Chinese call it hu lu ba, and also use it for treating abdominal pain.
Though this cool season crop is grown in most corners of the world, its uses and people’s awareness of its value vary considerably. In India, fresh methi ka saag (the stems and leaves of the plant) is very commonly cooked as a winter vegetable, and the seeds are used year-round as a flavouring agent for various dishes. The seeds are also eaten raw as sprouts and used medicinally. In Egypt and Ethiopia, methi is used in baking bread, and the Swiss use it for flavouring cheese. In the USA, it is mainly used to make spice blends for soups and stews.
Scroll through to find out the various bioactive compounds present in fenugreek that give it its nutraceutical properties making it a superfood for healthy skin, hair and body.
BLOOD CLEANSER & DETOXIFIER – Fenugreek has a beneficial effect on cleansing the blood. Its diaphoretic properties bring out sweat onto the surface of the skin through perspiration and help detox the body. Fenugreek is also known for its lymphatic cleansing activity though its vital role is to irrigate the cells with nutrients and to remove toxic wastes, dead cells and trapped proteins from the body. Block in the lymphatic system can mean poor circulation of fluid, fluid retention, pain, energy loss and disease, anywhere in the body of a person.
SOOTHES COLD & SORE THROAT – Fenugreek maintains mucus conditions of the body, mostly the lungs, by helping to clear congestion. It also acts as a throat cleanser and mucus solvent that also eases the urge to cough. Drinking water soaked with fenugreek seeds helps in softening and dissolving, accumulating and hardening the masses of cellular debris to relieve colds, bronchial complaints, influenza, asthma, and sore throat.
LACTATION AID FOR NURSING MOTHERS – Breasts are modified sweat glands and fenugreek has been found to stimulate sweat production as it contains hormone precursor to increase milk formation. Some scientists reported that fenugreek can increase a nursing mother’s milk supply within 24–72 h after first taking the herb.
PROMOTES GUT HEALTH AND WEIGHT LOSS – Fenugreek seeds contain 45.4% dietary fiber that can promote gut health and aid digestion. The soluble fiber acts as a prebiotic, providing the gut bacteria with nutrients. Since soluble fiber is a powerful natural appetite suppressant, Fenugreek also helps curb hunger pangs and aids weight loss.
A POTENT ANTIOXIDANT – Antioxidant properties of Fenugreek make it an amazing superfood for skin and hair. The saponins, proteins and polyphenols present in Fenugreek seeds are responsible for its free radical scavenging activity and preserving the skin’s lipid barrier. It prevents premature aging, premature hair greying to give you youthful skin and shiny hair.
A BUNDLE OF ESSENTIAL SKIN & HAIR NUTRIENTS – The leaves of the Fenugreek plant contain about 86.1% moisture alongwith essential vitamins and minerals like ascorbic acid (vitamin C), calcium, zinc, phosphorus, B-carotene, thiamine and niacin. All of these essential nutrients are crucial for skin, hair and overall health. They nourish hair follicles, boost hair growth, moisturize skin and reduce appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Scientific studies have claimed better retention of nutrients in the leaves of fenugreek. The leaves of fenugreek should be stored either in refrigerated conditions, or dried in the oven, or blanched for sometime (about 5 min) and should be cooked in a pressure cooker to preserve its nutritional value.
AN EFFECTIVE ANTIMICROBIAL REMEDY – The antifungal and antibacterial properties of Fenugreek can be helpful in wound healing and treating inflammatory conditions such as dandruff, acne and skin sensitivities. Soak some Fenugreek seeds overnight. Strain the water next morning and bottle it up in a spritzer bottle. Spray some on your scalp, active acne or blemishes to fight inflammation and soothe skin.