Family: Fabaceae

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Methi, Methishak.

English Name: Fenugreek.

Description of the Plant:
An erect, annual, aromatic herb, 30-45 cm high. Leaves pinnately 3-foliolate; leaflets 2-2.5 cm long, oblanceolate-oblong toothed. Flowers 1-2, axillary, sessile, corolla much exerted. Pod 5-7.5 cm long with a long persistent beak, often falcate, 10-20 seeded.

Using Information:
The plants and seeds are suppurative, aperient, diuretic and emmenagogue; useful in dropsy, chronic cough, and enlargement of the spleen and liver. It is also useful in hypertension, diabetes, sexual problems and rheumatism. Seeds are demulcent, diuretic, tonic, antipyretic, anthelmintic, carminative, emollient, aphrodisiac and astringent to the bowels; increase appetite, and cure bronchitis and piles. Toasted seeds are infused and given for dysentery. Leaves are cooling and mild aperient; useful in external and internal swellings and burns.

Ethanolic extract of the plant showed significant anti-tumour activity on human cell culture. The extract also showed antibacterial and antifungal activities. Preparation of normal and germinated seeds has been found to produce hypoglycemic effect in diabetic patients. Seeds also possess strong hypolipidemic effect and significantly reduce total cholesterol, LDL, VLDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Aquous suspention and extract of the seeds significantly promoted wound healing activity in rats (Ghani, 2003). Chloroform sub-fraction of the alcoholic extract of seeds exhibited significant antidiabetic activity and corrected the metabolic alterations in diabetic rats and this activity may resemble to insulin-like properties (Dhanabal et al., 2004).


Chemical Constituents:
Trigogenin, neotrigogenin, diosgenin, yamogenin, gitogenin, 4-hydroxyisoleucine, vitexin, isovitexin, saponaretin, homoorientin, vicenin-1, vicenin-2 and two flavonoid glycosides quercetin and luteolin and steroidal saponins have been isolated from seeds. Seeds also contain essential oil, fixed oil, fatty acids, proteins, large number of amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins A, B1 and C, nicotinic acid, minerals and several coumarins. Saponin isolated from stems on hydrolysis yield a sapogenin, while that isolated from leaves gave diosgenin, tigogenin and gitogenin. Presence of β-sitosterol, kaempferol, quercetin, saponins - graecunin A, graecunin B and graecunin C have been reported in leaves (Ghani, 2003; Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1990 & 93).

Cultivated in the western districts.

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Retutn from TRIGONELLA FOENUM-GRAECUM to Medicinal Plants: Part T