Herbs for Health

The seeds of Trigonella foenum-graecum – Fenugreek are a well know spice used in curries, but did you know it is also used medicinally?

Native to North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean, fenugreek grows on wasteland, but is now mainly cultivated.

Fenugreek has a slightly branched stem with trifoliate leaves and small pale yellow flowers.
This annual plant grows easily in a sunny position or even a pot, in light, rich soil.

The Egyptian Ebers papyrus (1500 BC) records a prescription for burns that includes fenugreek. The seeds were also used to induce childbirth. The Greek physician Hippocrates considered fenugreek to be a valuable soothing herb. Dioscorides (1st century AD) recommended it as a remedy for many gynaecological problems, and to this day they are used to induce childbirth and to increase breast-milk.

Medicinally the seeds are used during convalescence and to encourage weight gain, especially in anorexia. They help to lower fever, in a similar way to that of quinine. The seeds soothing effect makes them effective in treating gastritis.

Some research has shown Fenugreek to be anti-diabetic, and to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Externally, the seeds are applied as a paste to treat abscesses, boils, ulcers and burns.
The seeds also freshen bad breath and help restore a dulled sense of taste.

Use the seeds as an infusion or make a tincture

Caution: Do not take during pregnancy and consult your Health Care Professional before self-medicating with any herbal treatment.

Plant some fenugreek seeds in a pot and just as they reach 10 cm (as you would coriander) try this unusual dish to serve as a snack, or with curries and stews.

Fenugreek bread
1 cup chopped fresh fenugreek
1/2 cup gram flour
1 tin sweelcorn – or fresh cut and crushed mielies
1 2 cup rice,flour
1 medium grated onion
1/4 cup mielie meal
1 cup cooked veg in season – courgettes work well
2 1/2tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 small bunch fresh coriander
1/4 cup oil
Salt & black pepper to taste
3 eggs
1 tsp crushed garlic – to taste
2 tsp crushed chilies (optional to taste)
1 tsp turmeric
Oven 180 C
Mix all together. Pour into oven tray, sprinkle sesame or poppy seeds over the top and bake until firm. Delicious!

Until next time.
Yours in herbs,
Diane Aldworth 082 808 1519 dragonair@lantic.net