Medicinal Properties of Ginger


Botanical Name :- Trigonella foenum graecum
Indian Name :- Methi 

Other names: Venthayam (Tamil), Foenum-graecum (Greek), Hilbeh (حلبة) - Arabic, Shambalîleh (شنبليله) - Parsi

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Fenugreek is an erect, strongly scented, robust, annual herb about 30 to 80 cms. high. It has compound leaves of light green colour. The seeds are brownish-yellow and have a peculiar odour. Fenugreek is a native of Eastern Europe and Ethiopia.

Zohary and Hopf note that it is not yet certain which wild strain of the genus Trigonella gave rise to the domesticated fenugreek but believe it was brought into cultivation in the Near East. Charred fenugreek seeds have been recovered from Tell Halal, Iraq, (radiocarbon dating to 4000 BC) and Bronze Age levels of Lachish, as well as desiccated seeds from the tomb of Tutankhamen. Cato the Elder lists fenugreek with clover and vetch as crops grown to feed cattle (De Agri Cultura, 27).

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Fenugreek has excellent medicinal virtues. Its regular use helps the body clean and healthy. The leaves of Fenugreek are aromatic, cooling and mild laxative. The seeds are exercise soothing effect on the skin and membranes, relieving any irritation of skin and removing the swelling and pain. They are the best cleansers within the body and highly a soothing agents. Fenugreek leaves are beneficial in the treatment of indigestion, flatulence and sluggish liver. Fenugreek seeds can also be taken for diabetes. The normal dose is 2 teaspoons of powdered seeds taken daily in soup or milk. Fenugreek seeds are useful in the removal of dandruff also. Other uses of Fenugreek is in the treatment of anaemia, fevers, stomach disorders, respiratory infections, Bad Breath and Body Odour

In India, fenugreek seeds are mixed with yogurt and used as a conditioner for hair. It is one of the three ingredients of idli and thosai. It is also one of the ingredients in the making of khakhra, a type of bread. It is used in injera/taita, a type of bread unique to Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine. The word for fenugreek in Amharic is abesh, and the seed is reportedly also often used in Ethiopia as a natural herbal medicine in the treatment of diabetes. It is also sometimes used as an ingredient in the production of clarified butter (Amharic: qibé, Ethiopian and Eritrean Tigrinya: tesme), which is similar to Indian ghee. In Turkey, fenugreek gives its name, çemen, to a hot paste used in pastırma. The same paste is used in Egypt for the same purpose. The Arabic word hulba حلبة (Helba in Egypt) for the seed resembles its Mandarin Chinese counterpart hu lu ba. In Yemen it is the main condiment and an ingredient added to the national dish called saltah. Fenugreek, or shanbalîleh شنبليله in Persian, is also one of four herbs used for the Iranian recipe Ghormeh Sabzi.

In India, one tablespoon of whole Fenugreek seeds are taken early morning on an empty stomach for controlling diabetes.

Fenugreek seeds are used as and herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine under the name Hu Lu Ba. In TCM it warms and tonifies kidneys, disperses cold and alleviates pain. Main indications are cold hernia, pain in the groin. It's used raw or toasted.

Ginger Recipes -  Fenugreek Aloo Recipe

  • Directions:

    500 grams picked fresh fenugreek leaves (methi)
    4 big potatoes unpeeled and cubed
    1 teaspoon(s) cumin seeds
    2 teaspoon(s) coriander seeds powdered
    2 tablespoon(s) each of ginger and garlic finely chopped
    2 while dry red chillies roasted
    2 green chillies finely chopped
    ½ teaspoon(s) each of turmeric and asafoetida powders
    4 tablespoons butter / ghee (clarified butter) / oil
    salt to taste

    Method :

    1. Wash the fenugreek leaves thoroughly several times and chop them fine. Sprinkle some salt over them and keep aside for about half an hour.
    2. Heat the butter / ghee / oil in a heavy-bottomed pan on medium level and lightly fry all the spices for about 1 minute(s).
    3. Add the potato cubes, fenugreek leaves and adjust salt to taste. Mix well and cook covered on low level for about 15 minutes or till the potatoes are tender and all the water from the fenugreek leaves has evaporated.

    * As a variation, the potatoes can be boiled first and then cubed. In this case, the fenugreek leaves should be first squeezed of all the salt water and added to the oil seasoned with spices. Cover and cook for a few minutes and then add the boiled potato cubes. Mix well and cook covered for a little while.

    Serve hot with: Indian bread (Pooris, Roti, Chapati) / Green Peas Rice (Matar Pulav)

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