Description : An erect annual to 50 cm. which may be branched, the leaves are trifoliate and the leaflets oblong-lanceolate, to 5 cm. Its yellowish flowers 12 – 18 mm long (1 – 2) are in the leaf axils. The fruits are almost straight and flattened with a pronounced beak ;they are 50 – 110 mm long excluding the beak of 10 – 35 mm. Chromosome number 2n=16. The seeds are brownish, about 1/8 inch long, oblong, rhomboidal, with a deep furrow dividing them into two unequal lobes; they are contained, ten to twenty together, in long, narrow, sickle-like pods. There are about 50 000 seeds per kilogramme.
Fenugreek is a fodder of very ancient cultivation in Mediterranean countries. A highly aromatic plant which is used as a pot-herb, spice and fodder. It is widely grown in India and neighbouring countries as a flavouring and fodder, and in North Africa and Western Asia as a fodder and spice. The dried leaves of a small, clover-like, rosette forming, small-seeded type (Kasuri methi) var. corniculata (or sometimesTrigonella corniculata) is grown in Punjab and its foliage marketed dried as a flavouring.
Uses : Fenugreek has a long history as a breast enlarger and contains diosgenin which is used to make synthetic estrogen. It has been found to promote the growth of new breast cells and increase the size and fullness of the breasts. Of all the herbs used for breast enlargement fenugreek has the highest concentrations of the effective plant compounds.
Fenugreek is considered the finest herb for enhancing feminine beauty it also aids in sexual stimulation, balances blood sugar levels, and contains choline which aids the thinking process. Fenugreek has been the focus of several studies concerning the treatment of diabetes and the prevention of breast cancer. Its ability to balance hormone levels aids in treating PMS and menopause. Its antioxidants slow ageing and help prevent disease.
The plant has also been employed against bronchitis, fevers, sore throats, wounds swollen glands, skin irritations, diabetes, ulcers, and in the treatment of cancer. Fenugreek has been used to promote lactation and as an aphrodisiac.
Fenugreek contains an amino acid called 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which appears to increase the body’s production of insulin when blood sugar levels are high.