A multi-purpose herb, this is the best way to describe the versatility of fenugreek (Methi). Loaded with multiple properties that can significantly improve our overall well-being, fenugreek offers multiple benefits when used internally and externally. One of the most popular and handy herbs in India, it is a common ingredient in curries.
It is a small green, leafy herb that traces its origins to western Asia and the Mediterranean. The leaves and the seeds of the plant are used for culinary and medicinal applications.
Fenugreek has a warming, nourishing, and unctuous qualities, which form a strong grounding effect in the body. Often overlooked, it is highly effective in balancing aggravated Vata and Kapha. Therefore, having fenugreek seeds on hand can be very helpful as they can offer various benefits for your body, skin, and glorious locks.
Ayurveda recommends using spices and herbs readily available in our kitchens and gardens. Fenugreek is amongst the most prominent and most frequently used herb. Also referred to as Methi, the plant's seeds and leaves are known to offer a plethora of health and cosmetic benefits. Ayurveda attributes the following properties to fenugreek. It is considered to have Deepani (improves digestive fire), Vataraha (Vata balancing properties), Kaphahara (Kapha balancing properties), etc.
Ayurveda highlights multiple health benefits of fenugreek; however, the way it improves scalp and hair health is extraordinary. Ayurvedic texts underline the ability of fenugreek to promote hair growth, strengthen hair follicles and prevent hair fall, improve skin quality, etc.
Ayurveda highlights the Vataraha (Vata balancing properties) and Kaphahara (Kapha balancing properties) of fenugreek. Since it has warming qualities, Ushna (heating properties) might not be suitable for people with aggravated Pitta. Individually, fenugreek has the following effects on the three Doshas:
Vata: The Vatahara properties of fenugreek can help reduce Vata aggravation with its warming and grounding effect. Thus consumption of fenugreek can help people with Vata imbalance deal with bloating, constipation, and other digestive disorders.
Pitta: As far as Pitta is concerned, excessive intake of fenugreek may aggregate the Pitta dosha due to its Ushna (heating properties). Thus according to ayurvedic experts, fenugreek may increase Pitta slightly.
Kapha: Fenugreek works extraordinarily in balancing and pacifying aggravated Kapha. The Kaphahara (Kapha balancing properties) of fenugreek can potentially help reduce cough, cold, excessive sebum production, etc.
READ MORE: Fenugreek Uses, Benefits, Side Effects
Including fenugreek-infused water, oil, or mask in our daily routine can help us experience the benefits of the golden seeds. From helping maintain a healthy weight, menstrual cycle, cholesterol levels, and healthy skin to voluminous hair, fenugreek has plenty of benefits.
Beneficial in various skin conditions: Fenugreek can be used for a number of skin-related concerns, from cleansing the skin, moisturizing, fighting symptoms of aging, reducing damage from free radicals, and treating pimples. Women have long used fenugreek seeds to make homemade face masks for healthy and glowing skin. The antioxidative properties of fenugreek help remove dead skin cells and add brightness and moisture to the skin.
People can make a face mask using fenugreek seed powder and milk to make the skin luminous and healthy. The hydrating and anti-fungal properties1 of fenugreek can help prevent skin diseases that reduce the radiance and glow of the skin.
Anti-aging benefits of fenugreek: Free radicals in the body are often responsible for the appearance of wrinkles and age spots on the skin. The golden seeds of fenugreek are loaded with anti-aging ingredients that can help make the skin look and feel young and firm. When a fenugreek seed mask made with yogurt is applied on the skin or fenugreek-infused water is applied to the skin, it can help tighten and rejuvenate the skin. Multiple studies2 have highlighted that fenugreek seeds can help prevent the premature appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Improves damaged hair and adds shine: Pollution, sun damage, and hairstyling tools and products can take a toll on the quality of our hair. It makes them dry, damaged, brittle, and frizzy. Therefore Ayurvedic experts recommend using fenugreek. Research and Ayurvedic records suggest that regular application of fenugreek-infused coconut oil can help repair the damaged hair shaft and promote healthy hair growth. The amino acids and proteins help improve damaged hair, and the fiber in fenugreek helps maintain moisture and promote shine.
Improves hair growth and thickness: Fenugreek is rich in iron and protein, two nutrients vital for healthy hair growth. Apart from that, fenugreek is rich in flavonoids and saponins, which are believed to help in hair growth due to their anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. Even though research is limited, a trial3 in 2006 suggested that there was an 80% improvement in hair volume and thickness with a 300-mg daily oral dose of fenugreek seed extract.
Healthy scalp: Ayurvedic preparations for healthy hair use fenugreek extensively. Experts recommend applying an oil infused with fenugreek seeds to strengthen hair follicles, reduce hair fall, fight dry and itchy scalp, and reduce dandruff. Research4 highlights the proteins and acids present in fenugreek play a vital role in preventing hair loss and promoting scalp health.
Antifungal properties and reduction in sebum production: Fenugreek has been used to treat dry, irritated, itchy, flaking scalps. However, it is also effective5 in treating dandruff triggered by excess oil production, fungal growth, inflammation, etc. There are several animal and human studies that have highlighted that fenugreek seeds possess anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and antifungal properties6 that can reduce dandruff triggered by excessive sebum production often observed in cases of aggravated Kapha.
Manage diabetes and Cholesterol: When it comes to dealing with cholesterol and diabetes, fenugreek comes as an excellent solution. Research7suggests that fenugreek can act as an excellent cholesterol-blocking agent and lower the Low-Density Lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) level. Furthermore, trials8 and studies have highlighted that fenugreek can also help diabetic people as galactomannan present in it can decelerate the absorption rate of sugar into our bloodstream and potentially stimulate insulin production. Having 5-6 grams of fenugreek seed or seed powder can offer potential relief from diabetes.
Weight management: Fenugreek is known for its Kapha pacifying properties that can help soothe aggravated Kapha and weight gain issues. The high fiber content of fenugreek can help make a person feel full, suppress hunger, and promote weight loss. A study9 conducted in 2015 highlighted that a drink made from fennel and fenugreek before lunch made the participants feel full and less hungry.
Maintaining healthy menstrual health: Fenugreek powder is an effective remedy10 for women with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). It contains chemical compounds called isoflavones and diosgenin, which can offer relaxation during menstrual cramps, hot flashes, mood swings, etc. Ayurvedic texts also recommend consuming a tea made of fenugreek seeds or adding a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds to your food to experience the warming action of fenugreek.
Fenugreek is loaded with so many benefits that it has a long history of being used to deal with body, skin, and hair concerns. Our grandmothers and mothers would always keep fenugreek seeds handy to enhance the flavors and texture of curries they cooked at home and give some tender, love, and care to our skin and hair.
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