Feb 12, 2014
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Family ► Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat ► Widely cultivated in many parts of India.

English ► Fenugreek.

Ayurvedic ► Methikaa, Methi, Vastikaa, Selu, Methini, Dipani, Bahupatrikaa, Bodhaini, Gand- haphala.

Unani ► Hulbaa, Methi.

Siddha/Tamil ► Vendhayam.

Action ► Seeds—used in loss of appetite, flatulence, dyspepsia, colic; diarrhoea, dysentery; enlargement of liver and spleen; and as a lactagogue and puerperal tonic.

Key application ► German Commission E reported secretolytic, hypermic and mild antiseptic activity of the seed. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia reported its actions as demulcent and hy- poglycaemic. ESCOP and WHO monographs indicate the use of seeds in adjuvant therapy for diabetes mellitus, anorexia, also in hypercholesterolemia.

The seeds gave alkaloids, including trigonelline, gentianine and carpaine; saponins, based mainly on the sa- pogenins, diosgenin and its isomer yamogenin, gitogenin and tigogenin; flavonoids, including vitexin and its glycosides and esters and luteolin; a volatile oil in small quantities. The mucilage (25-30%) is mostly a galac- tomannan.

A C-steroidal sapogenin peptide ester, fenugreekine, exhibited hypogly- caemic activity.

About 80% of the total content of free amino acids in the seeds is present as 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which appears to directly stimulate insulin. (Eur J Pharmacol, 390, 2000; Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.)

Saponin rich extracts reduce blood levels of the cholesterol. The fibrous fraction of seeds also causes a reduction in blood lipids.

The aqueous extract is demulcent, promoted healing of gastric ulcers produced experimentally in rats and exhibited a smooth muscle relaxing effect in rabbits without affecting either the heart or blood pressure.

Fenugreek has been reported to stimulate the liver microsomal cy- tochrome P450 dependent aryl hy- droxylase and cytochrome b5 in rats; increased bile secretion has also been observed.

Fenugreek extract containing trigo- nelline and trigonellic acid maybe used as a hair growth stimulant.

Dosage ► Seed—3-5 g powder. (CCRAS.)

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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