Fenugreek benefits, side effects and nutrition value (methi)

Native to South Europe and Asia, fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an annual herb with white flowers. It grows erect to a height of 20 cm. The seeds are hard, yellowish brown and angular. The common names are methi in Hindi, and Vendhayam in Tamil; it finds use in cooking.

Fenugreek (methi) seeds, leaves: Health benefits and how to eat

Fenugreek seeds and methi leaves benefits

Benefits of eating fenugreek seeds and leaves

The benefits of fenugreek are due to its rich content of saponins and fibres. It also has a rich content of 1-tryptophan, lysine, and trigonelline.

Regulates blood sugar: Fenugreek has an unusual amino acid 4 HO – Ile that shows anti-diabetic properties. It has been found only in fenugreek so far and shows insulin secretion enhancing properties under hypoglycaemic conditions. Further, it increases insulin sensitivity. They are now considering using methi seeds to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Reduces cholesterol: The saponins in fenugreek helps prevent the absorption of cholesterol from the food we eat. There are a few indications showing the reduction of the production of cholesterol when we eat fenugreek seeds or leaves. In a study, it was seen how it reduced cholesterol gallstones in mice.

Gives cancer protection: You get protection from certain types of cancer due to the fibre content in fenugreek. Research has shown it to have estrogenic effects. Due to this, there is the possibility that it could be used instead of Hormone Replacement Therapy. The action of the fenugreek is in the way the saponins and mucilage bind to the cancer cells and move them out of the body.

Increases breast milk production: This is one of the most well-known herbal galactagogues. People have used it since ancient times to enhance the production of milk in new mothers. Studies are insufficient to support their use medicinally however. Some studies noted how the use of fenugreek increased the production of milk and increased the baby weight in the early postnatal days.

Helps digestion: Use of fenugreek as a remedy for heartburn and acid reflux is well-known.  The gastrointestinal inflammation is soothed by the mucilage in the fenugreek seeds. This mucilage coats the lining of the stomach and the intestine.  You must eat fenugreek leaves or paste twice a day before meals to reduce the intensity of the heartburn.

Keeps the testosterone levels up: Fenugreek has a positive effect on the physiological aspects of male libido. It helps maintain healthy testosterone levels. Having fenugreek increases sexual arousal and orgasm in men.

Helps with weight loss: If you are trying to lose weight, having fenugreek seeds or leaves will help you. The herb has thermogenic properties. Further, it suppresses appetite and shows a short-term increase in energy. Thus, it aids weight loss. This is due to the modulatory action on carbohydrate metabolism.

Reduce menopause symptoms: Menopause causes endless trouble for women. They have annoying symptoms such as depression, cramps, hunger pangs, and mood swings. Since many people prefer natural methods over conventional methods to cure menopause symptoms, they have fenugreek. The main agents in fenugreek for this ailment are disogenin and isoflavones, both of which have estrogenic properties. They resemble the female sex hormone, oestrogen. However, the use of fenugreek powder has not been supported by medical evidence. Moreover, if you take excess of fenugreek, it could lead to unwanted side-effects.

Relieves sore throat: You can get relief form sore throat. This is a common inflammatory problem that affects the mucus membranes of the pharynx. This happens due to bacterial and viral infections. Gargle with the water in which you boiled a handful of fenugreek seeds. Do this twice a day for three days.

How to eat fenugreek seeds at home

Boost immunity: Drink water in which you soak fenugreek seeds early in the morning. Use 2 teaspoons in 1 glass of water.

Lose weight: Chew the soaked fenugreek seeds on an empty stomach. It will make you feel full and help you feel satiated.

Cure heartburn: By eating the soaked fenugreek seeds, you release the mucilaginous material in the seeds. This helps to coat the inner lining of the stomach and intestine. This will cure your heartburn.

Maintain sugar levels: Eat methi chutney with your food. This will slow the absorption of sugar because of a soluble fibre galactomannan. It also has an amino acid that makes the body secrete insulin.

Prevent pimple eruption: Make a paste of the leaves and apply these to the pimples at night before going to bed. The antibacterial action of the fenugreek will prevent the pimples from erupting. Wash without soap in the morning.

Prevent hair fall: Soak fenugreek seeds in water. Make a paste of the seeds and add some curd. Apply this mixture to your hair and scalp. Let it dry completely. Wash with plain water without soap or shampoo.

Side effects of eating methi seeds

When taken in excess, fenugreek seeds can cause many side effects. One of this is internal bleeding.

If you eat too much, it can cause birth defects. This is due to its teratogenic potential. So, pregnant women must avoid taking fenugreek seed in excess, its preparation, or supplements.

When you have methi seeds or leaves, you will experience urine odour, bloating, heartburn, indigestion, and diarrhea.

People also develop skin irritation and allergy. A few people experience severe symptoms such as difficulty in breathing or swallowing, facial swelling, and chest pain.

Nutrition facts of fenugreek seeds

Nutrition Summary:

Total Calories       323

Protein                   23 g

Fat                          0.4 g

Carbohydrate       58.4 g


Nutrients                       Amount               %Daily Value

Calcium, Ca                      175 mg                  18.6 %

Iron, Fe                              33.51 mg              184.28 %

Manganese, Mn               1.23 mg                 62.4 %

Copper, Cu                         1.09 mg                55.5 %

Potassium, K                      777 mg                  22 %

Magnesium, Mg               189 mg                  48.75 %

Phosphorus, P                   295 mg                  28.6 %

Selenium, Se                      6.2 mcg                 9 %

Sodium, Na                        67 mg                    2.78 %

Zinc, Zn                               2.4 mg                   16.5 %

Vitamin A                            60 IU                      1.3 %

Vitamin C                             3 mg                      5 %

Vitamin B6                          0.5 mg                   30 %

Riboflavin                            0.36 mg                21.53 %

Niacin                                    1.63 mg                8.2 %

Thiamin                                0.33 mg                21.47 %

Folate, DFE                         56 mcg                  14.25 %

Fibre                                     24.5 g                    98.4 %

Cholesterol                         0 mg                      0 %

Water                                   8.82 g

Taken in normal amounts, the fenugreek seeds, powder and leaves are highly nutritional. If you feel any discomfort, discontinue use and consult a doctor. 


  1. Med India Fenugreek – Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects http://www.medindia.net/
  1. Axe 8 Fenugreek Benefits that Could Change Your Life https://draxe.com/
  1. WebMD Find a Vitamin or Supplement Fenugreek http://www.webmd.com/
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Anoop Sharma

About Anoop Sharma

Anoop Sharma is an IT professional, freelance health writer and creator of www.medicinalplantsanduses.com. He is passionate about helping others learn about health issues and their natural remedies, yoga and healthy food.

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