Common Name : Methi / fenugreek
Plant Parts Used : Seeds, Leaves, Entire plant
Trigonella foenum-graecum has long stalked leaves up to 5 cm long stipules triangular, lanceolate, leaflets about 2.5 cms long, obovate to obanceolate. Flowers 1-2, axillary, sessile, racemed, whitish or lemon yellow. Pod 5.7 cms long with a persistent beak, hairy with 10-20 seeds.
Characteristics and Constituents :
The plant contains a number of steroidal sapogenins, specially diosgenin found in the oily embryo. Two furastanol glycosides, F-ring opened precursors of diosgenin have been reported, as also hederagin glycosides. The alkaloid trigonelline, trigocoumarin, trimethyl coumarin and nicotinic acid are also present. Mucilage is a prominent constituent of the seeds.
Actions and Uses :
This plant has been mentioned in early literature as a hypoglycaemic and anti-inflammatory agent. Its effect as an oral hypoglycemic has been evaluated. In rats trigonelline counteracts the hyperglycemic effect of cortisone given 2 hours before or simultaneously. Antiulcer property has been studied in rats. Hypocholesterolemic effects, and anti-inflammatory effects have been observed. The ether extract of the seeds had an effect on inflammation induced in rats by cotton - pellet insertion, or formalin or carrageenin
exposure, comparable to that of salicylates.
The antiarthritic property of methi seed powder is widely known in many parts of India. It forms an important medicinal use of the plant in rheumatic disorders and spondylosis. The drug is also used for chronic bronchitis and hepato and splenomegaly in the unani system of medicine. The seeds and leaves are also used in obesity.
In the doses clinically used, the plant has shown no adverse reactions.