Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an annual herb with a clover-like appearance native to the Indian subcontinent, though now widely cultivated in the Near East and Mediterranean regions. Known in India as Methi, Fenugreek is an integral part of Indian and Near Eastern cuisine. Both the fresh leaves and the seeds (first soaked overnight) are used in cooking, and they impart a unique sweet, nutty and slightly bitter flavor to many regional dishes.
But it is not all about the flavor! Cooking with Fenugreek not only adds taste, but also helps with digestion and metabolism. Fenugreek has powerful Ayurvedic healing properties—in both Ayurvedic Internal Medicine as well as externally in Ayurvedic Body Care.
kuñcikā bahuparṇī ca pittajidvāyunuddvidhā | methikā vātaśamanī śleṣmaghnī jvaranāśinī | tataḥ svalpaguṇā balyā vājināṁ sā tu pūjitā
“An herb with many leaflets and twisted seed pods, [Methi] conquers heat and removes wind. Methi pacifies vāta in the body, clears excess mucus and phlegm, and destroys fever and inflammation.Furthermore, Methi enhances strength and vitality, and is thus honored among athletes and warriors.”From the bhāva prakāśa nighaṇṭu
- Warming: Methi is gently warming by nature. It both reduces vāta and balances excess kapha.
- Digestive: Methi is considered a powerful digestive herb, said to be very helpful in cases of indigestion, bloating, constipation, gastritis and heartburn.
- Expectorant: As Methi works on clearing unbalanced kapha, it helps to clear congestion and phlegm and to relieve coughs.
- Nourishing: Methi is also prescribed in India for overall nourishment of the blood and tissues of the body. It stimulates the body’s metabolic fire (agni). It is also said in Ayurveda to increase blood circulation and lactation in mothers and to stimulate hair growth.
- Anti-inflammatory: Methi also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, useful in both internal and external medicine (body care and cosmetics). It is traditionally prescribed to reduce fever and swellings.
Due especially to its moisturizing, nourishing and anti-inflammatory properties, Methi is a traditional ingredient in many Ayurvedic body care formulations. It has a rejuvenating effect on both skin and hair and is considered very helpful with problem conditions like dandruff, dermatitis and acne. Methi is said to stimulate the growth of new hair and skin cells, and to tone and firm the skin. Methi also helps to clear up oily hair and skin (due to excess kapha) and imparts to them a youthful luster. As such, it is often found in Ayurvedic soaps, shampoos or herb-infused oils (tailam).
If you’ve not tried them before, now might be a good time to experience the rejuvenating properties of Methi and other premium Ayurvedic herbs—and let your hair and skin thank you!
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