Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
Fenugreek is a clover-like butterfly plant native to the Mediterranean region, the Near East, India and China. The plant grows up to 50 cm high. It develops legumes that contain 10 – 20 orange-yellow, hard seeds. These were already used in classical antiquity by the Egyptians and Greeks as a mucilage drug for respiratory diseases and digestive problems.
The aromatic fenugreek seeds are a combination of stimulant and medicine. In India, for example, they are an essential ingredient of “curry powder” and in South Tyrol they are traditionally used as a bread and cheese seasoning.
Of particular pharmaceutical interest are the high content of mucilage, the steroid saponins and the traces of essential oil in the seeds.
Fenugreek seeds are used especially for respiratory diseases and to regulate digestion and stimulate appetite. Due to their oestrogenic component, they are also said to have a beneficial effect on the formation of milk and on the course of childbirth. Since ancient times, the seeds have also been used in tonics for humans and animals to overcome general states of weakness.