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Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek or popularly known as Methi, in India is an aromatic plant.

· Spice

Caller : Hello,
311 operator: Thank you for calling the city of New York. This is Rachel. How may I help You?
Caller: There is a very strange mysterious smell, here in the west side of Manhattan…
311 operator: Are you okay? Are you able to breath?
Caller: No No, we are fine… its sweet maple syrup like smell. It picks up and descends, every now and then …
311 operator: oh ok…let me note down your complaint.. thank you…

On a Thursday night in 2009 around 80 people called the 311 hotlines to complain about the mysterious smell...Apparently, it wasn’t the first time.
Back in the year 2005, 35 people from areas in Manhattan called in just a few hours reporting smelling the sweet scent across the East River in Queens.

Finally, the mystery was solved… Investigators found out that the scent came from a facility that used fenugreek seeds. One New Jersey food company processed fenugreek seeds for flavoring. The wind blowing west to east from New Jersey across the Hudson carried the fenugreek seed aroma towards Manhattan in certain weather condition. That explained the recurring elevated and subsiding incidents of the sweet smell.

What is Fenugreek?

Fenugreek or popularly known as Methi, in India is an aromatic plant. It grows erect around 1-2 ft about (30-60 cm)
Fenugreek is a native from South Eastern Europe and West Asia, now cultivated in India, Argentina, Egypt and Mediterranean countries (Southern France, Morocco and Lebanon). Fenugreek spice is popular in India, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Iran, and Turkey, where it is used to make curries, chutneys, pickles, relishes, and in range of vegetarian dishes.

Fenugreek seeds are firm, yellowish-brown ovals pretty much like tiny pebbles. They have a deep groove across one side. You can get them as whole or ground spice in Indian markets. Fenugreek is available in specialty spice shops and online, typically in ground form.

Fenugreek seeds used around the world..

  • In India, the seeds are dry roasted or fried in hot oil and used whole to flavor curries (especially fish curry), broth-based stews called sambars, and fermented flat breads, such as dosas and idlis. It is also an ingredient in many Indian spice mixes, including curry powder. A few fenugreek seeds are always added to starchy vegetables and hard-to-digest legumes. It’s very common to relish fresh fenugreek leaves curry in Indian home. Indians also use the dried fenugreek leaves for flavoring the curry.
  • In the Middle East, seeds are soaked overnight in cold water and mixed into a paste with other spices to make a condiment called hilbeh and a sweetmeat called halva. Cooks also grind fenugreek into a paste and rub it into salted meat, which is then dried.
  • In Yemen, fenugreek is mixed with other spices to make zhug, which is put on top of stews.
  • Armenians mix it with garlic and red chili to make a peppery spice mix called chemen, which is used to spice beef.
  • The Greeks boil the seeds and eat them with honey.

Health benefits

1. Fenugreek helps control diabetes
Fenugreek seeds are high in soluble fiber, which helps lower blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. The Fenugreek can help the body to improve the uses of sugar and increases the amount of insulin released. This proves to be very effective in treating people with diabetes.1.

2. Fenugreek helps stimulate lactation
For generations, fenugreek is and was used by nursing mothers to help stimulate the production of breast milk following childbirth. Fenugreek contains plant chemicals phytoestrogens, which are like female sex hormone estrogen. A crucial compound, diosgenin from fenugreek also helps increase milk flow.

It’s a good idea to sprout the fenugreek seeds before consumption. One of the reasons why seeds/grains are healthier after soaking and sprouting, is because sprouting transforms the seeds. Its nutritional values increase and makes the nutrition far more digestible. The enzymes start to pre-digest, the starch is broken down into more easily digestible, simpler compounds and the level of vitamins goes up. Even the vitamins and minerals become more bio-available.

3. Fenugreek helps relieve from Sciatica nerve pain, arthritis pain or muscular pain 
Sciatica is another term used for sciatic nerve pain. This pain typically extends from the lower back and radiates towards your knees. Fenugreek’s amazing anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties can help release sciatic nerve pain and its symptoms.

How can you use fenugreek?

• Add a sprinkle of ground fenugreek seeds to the breading for fried foods.

• Sprinkle a few seeds in vegetable casseroles.

• Add a pinch of ground fenugreek to cookie recipes.

• Add a pinch or two to mayonnaise to give it a mustard-like bite.

• Mix roasted ground seeds with dried, ground chilies and other spices, and use as a dipping sauce for bread.

• Add roasted and coarsely chopped seeds to salads, which adds an interesting crunchiness.

Home Remedies

1. For diabetes, take a teaspoon fenugreek seeds in a glass of water, keep it for overnight. Next morning drink the water and chew the seeds, thoroughly. Repeat this routine for at least 3 months, and you will find the diabetes is under control.
2. For maximum health benefit, take powder of fenugreek seeds, dried ginger and turmeric in equal quantity and mix it well. Store it in airtight container and eat 1 tsp daily twice a day.
3. For muscular pain, mix the powdered fenugreek seeds with boiled milk. Apply the paste all over the affected area and allow it to dry. Wash it off with warm water.
4. Boil fenugreek seeds in water and consume it daily.