Seed and leaves
galactomannans (20%)-soluble dietary fibre (SDF), gum (19.0%), hemicellulose (23.6%), cellulose (8.9%), lignin (2.4%), diosgenin, tigogenin, yamogenin, gitogenin, neogitogenin, smilagenin, sarsasapogenin, yuccagenin, fenugreekine, Lipids (7.9%), trigonelline (0.13%), choline (0.05%), gentianine, carpaine, yellow colouring materials, trigocoumarin, trigomethylcoumarin, anthraquinone glycoside/piperidine, tannins, cyanogens glycosides, volatile oil (<0.02%), fixed oils (5%-7%), Trigofoenosides B, Trigofoenosides C, Trigofoenosides A, Trigofoenosides D, Trigofoenosides F, Trigofoenosides G (methanolic extract), 7-glucuronides: apigenin, luteolin, chrysoeriol,3-robinobioside; 3,7- diglucoside: kaempferol, quercetin-3,7-diglucoside, 4’,7-dihydroxyflavone, 3’,4’,7-trihydroxyflavone, formononetin, daidzein, 3 isomeric (2S, 3R, 4R-, 2S, 3R, 4S-, 2S, 3S, 4R-)-4-hydroxyisoleucine ketones, 4’-hydroxyisoleucyl-4-hydroxyisoleucine lactone, C14-dipeptide; TF1-A8, TF1-N2, TF1-B2; human trypsin (5-9mg), bovine trypsin (5-7mg), human chymotrypsin (2-6mg), bovinecymotrypsin (1-3mg).(1
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum
(L.); family Leguminoceae) is used as an ingredient in traditional medicine. This plant has been widely cultivated in Central and Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, India and Northern Africa. Its dried ripe seed is well known for its pungent aromatic properties(17
) and is often used to add flavour to foods in Malaysian homes.(18
) The plant is an erect, strongly aromatic, annual herb reaching 60 cm high. The leaves are trifoliate with a large petiole and leaflets 2-2.5 cm long. A stipule is found at the base of the petiole. The flowers are small and yellowish-white, borne singly or in pairs in the leaf axils. The fruit, a legume, which arises from the leaf axil, is 5-10 cm long, narrow, and pointed containing about 10-20 brownish-yellow seeds.(19
In Malaysia, the Malay usually use this herb as a spice but for other communities it has been used in the treatment of diabetes, abdominal colic, bronchitis and cough, sprains, anorexia, furunculosis, myalgia, lymphodenitis, gout, wounds, leg ulcer and epilepsy.
Seed 1-6 g or equivalent; three times daily.
Seed 1-6 g or equivalent; three times daily.
No standard marker reported. Other standard profiles have been documented in Malaysian Herbal Monograph.(20
Information is not available.
High doses of fenugreek are associated with primarily gastrointestinal symptoms such as cramping, diarrhoea and flatulence.
Fenugreek is reputed to be oxytocic with in-vitro
uterine stimulant activity.(21
) It is not advisable to use fenugreek in doses greatly exceeding those normally encountered in foods during pregnancy and lactation.
Safety in young people and in the elderly has not been established.
The oral administration of 0.5 and 1 g/kg of aqueous extract and 1g/kg of methanolic extract of Trigonella foenum-graecum
produces significant hypoglycaemic effects in normal fasting animals.(22
) The aqueous extract of Trigonella foenum-graecum
leaves given both orally and intraperitonelly possesses a hypoglycaemic effect in both normal and alloxan-induced hyperglycaemic rats.(23
) A possible mode of action is an effect on intestinal carbohydrate digestion. It was found to decrease digestion of starch and glucose absorption both in vivo
and in vitro
due to its inhibitory effects of its mucilaginous fibers.(24
The immunomodulatory effect of the extract was observed in mice treated orally with 50 and 100mg/kg of the extract. At the stated dose, it increased the bone marrow cell counts indicating its stimulatory effect on haematopoietic stem cells of bone marrow. It was most effective in inducing the immune functions at the dose of 100mg/kg.(26) Furthermore, the extract showed stimulatory effects on macrophage (the body's primary line of defense against infections). Macrophages play a role in cell mediated immunity by producing various kinds of cytokines like interleukin, interferon, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), active substances like prostaglandin, hydrogen peroxide, super oxide and nitrite.(27)
The ethanol extract of the seed of defatted fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) showed a tendency for lower concentrations of liver cholesterol. The hypercholesterolaemic rats were fed 30 or 50 g /kg of ethanolic extract for a 4 week period. The results indicated that the plasma cholesterol levels were reduced from 18 to 26%. The chemical constituent of Trigonella foenum-graecum, particularly saponins, interacted with bile salts in the digestive tract to cause hypocholesterolaemia.(28) In addition, the ethanol extract had the ability to inhibit taurocholate and deoxycholate absorption in a dose-dependent manner.
Fenugreek has also been reported to possess antiulcerogenic, antiviral activity against vaccinia virus and antineoplastic effects. It acts as an antihypertensive agent due to its high iron content, antioxidant for the gastric mucose by lowering mucosa injury, antinematodal agent and antiinflammatory agent where it acts as an internal emollient for inflammation of the digestive tract.
Uses reported in folk medicine, but not supported by clinical data:
Fenugreek has been used in the treatment of diabetes, abdominal colic, bronchitis and cough, sprains, anorexia, furunculosis, myalgia, lymphodenitis, gout, wounds, leg ulcer and epilepsy. It seems to have immunomodulatory effects and may lower blood lipids.