Etymology of Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek belongs to ‘Leguminosae’ family. The botanical name of Fenugreek is ‘Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn’. There are several other names of fenugreek in different languages of India. Like for instance, it is called ‘Menthya’ in Kannada language, ‘Vendayam’ in Tamil language, ‘Menthulu’ in Telugu language and ‘Uluva’ in Malayalam language. This plant is known as ‘Methi’ in Hindi language, Bengali language, Gujarati language, Marathi language, Oriya language, Punjabi language, Sanskrit language and Urdu language.
Origin of Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek is largely produced in India. The major Fenugreek producing states in India are Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and Punjab. Approximately 80% of this herb is produced in Rajasthan. This plant is cultivated as a semi-arid crop.
Properties of Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds are rich in protein, mineral matters, starch, sugars, mucilage, volatile oil, fixed oil, vitamins, enzymes and essential amino acids.
Usage of Fenugreek Seeds in Medicine
While the seeds and leaves are first and foremost used as a culinary spice, it is also used to take care of a variety of health problem. According to ancient beliefs, fenugreek increases digestive process in human bodies. Its seeds are used in curing several diseases like colic flatulence, dysentery, dyspepsia with loss of appetite, diarrhoea, chronic cough, dropsy, enlargement of liver and spleen, rickets, gout, type 2 diabetes, etc. Even today, fenugreek is used in hair tonic preparations and as a cosmetic. It helps in increasing milk production in lactating woman. It is largely used to reduce fever. This plant is also used in Herbal therapies and treatments in many parts of India as well as in abroad.
Usage of Fenugreek Seeds in Indian Cuisine
Fenugreek seeds are used as a spice and fenugreek leaves are eaten as vegetable in India. Fenugreek seeds are frequently used in India to make pickle, curry powder and paste. The dried leaf which is called ‘Kasuri Methi’ is broadly used to prepare Punjabi dishes. The dried leaves can be used to give flavour to curries and the fresh leaves teamed with other vegetables make delicious preparations. It is an indispensable ingredient in Indian five spice mixture commonly known as ‘Panch Phoron’ in Bengali. The roasted ground seeds are used in India to make dhal and vegetable curries.