Also known as Trigonella foenum-gracecum, organic fenugreek is an herb that is native to sections of eastern Asia and the southern portion of Europe. The herb can be used as a spice as well as for medicinal purposes. In most instances, the leaves of the plant are used in herbal combinations, while the seeds are ground into a spice that is often used in different curry dishes.
Considered an essential member of the group of Ayurvedic herbs, organic fenugreek offers an impressive array of nutrients. The herb is rich with vitamins A and D, while also providing moderate amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Organic fenugreek is also a good source of vitamin C as well as selenium. Trace amounts of niacin, zinc, and manganese are also present.
Many of the purported benefits of fenugreek have to do with treating ailments involving the digestive tract. The combination of nutrients found in organic fenugreek is said to help soothe an upset stomach as well as aid in easing ulcer pain. Proponents of various forms of herbal medicine also encourage the use of fenugreek extract or fenugreek capsules for dealing with congestion in the lungs, especially during a cold or flu. As a topical agent, ground organic fenugreek can be combined with lemon juice to make an effective poultice that helps to prevent infections in open wounds.
There are some claims that the herb can aid in reducing bad cholesterol in the system, as well as easing the pain of a sort throat by gargling with a mixture of fenugreek powder, honey, and a little lemon juice. This same mixture may also be used to help reduce fever and ease a headache. Boiling whole fenugreek seeds in water is said to produce a refreshing tonic that helps to restore vitality and minimize fatigue.
In the way of side effects, the herb has been known to cause bloating. When taken in certain amounts, there is also some potential for developing diarrhea. Allergic reactions such as itchy skin or the development of a rash are less common, but can occur in some people. In rare situations, organic fenugreek may cause individuals to have difficulty swallowing or breathing. As with any herbal remedy, fenugreek should not be taken in conjunction with a prescription medication unless approved by a physician. Should any side effects appear, use of the herb should cease immediately and not be continued until after discussing the nature of the reaction with a healthcare professional.