Origin of Fenugreek (Helba)
The basis for our tea is the seeds of the Fenugreek plant (Trigonella foenum-graecum), also known as helba, or methi in India. Use of this herb can be traced back to 4000BC. It has a long history of therapeutic usage, having been used by the Ancient Egyptians to ease childbirth, increase lactation and treat burns, by the Ancient Greeks to treat infections, and by the Ancient Romans for the treatment of fevers, respiratory and intestinal issues and for healing wounds. It was also utilised in the mummification process by the Ancient Egyptians, and its importance to them is further clarified by the discovery of Fenugreek seeds in the tomb of Tutankhamun. The use of Fenugreek has been mentioned in ancient texts and scriptures by Islamic scholars and physicians.
This tea has a sweet and nutty aroma and flavour, reminiscent of maple syrup combined with the bitterness of burnt sugar. It contains vitamins A, C, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), D, plus protein and carbohydrates, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, folic acid, diosgenina, choline, inositol, soluble and insoluble fibre, in addition to alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, coumarins and amino acids. It has antioxidant, anti-diabetes, lipid-lowering, antinociceptive, anti-inflammation, antispasmodic, antitumor, immunoregulation, antipyretic, hepatoprotection, anti obesity, diuretic, antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. This delicious tea is a powerhouse of health benefits and deserves a place in everyone’s daily diet.
A naturally occurring compound called diosgenin is found in Fenugreek, which mimics the estrogen hormone that the body produces, helping to balance hormonal imbalance and regulate the menstrual cycle. It can reduce menstrual cramps during PMS, whilst alkaloids contained in Fenugreek help to block pain sensory receptors to the brain. It is also an excellent aid for women experiencing menopause symptoms. Studies have reported significant reductions in hot flashes, one of the major symptoms of the menopause, and it can further help to balance the hormones reducing mood swings. Fenugreek has long been accredited with boosting breast milk production in lactating women and various studies have confirmed its ability to significantly increase milk production, and subsequently accelerate the rate of weight gain in babies.
Compounds called furostanolic saponins contained in Fenugreek have been shown through studies to increase testosterone levels in male subjects. Men showed an increase in strength during their resistance training and demonstrated a boost in their sex drive by over a quarter. Hypogonadism, or testosterone deficiency, can impact on health with conditions such as diabetes and obesity which are associated with low levels of testosterone regardless of age. Over 39% of men over the age of 45 are estimated to suffer from reduced testosterone levels which affects libido, energy levels, bone health, mood, cognitive function and more. One study showed increased testosterone levels by up to 46% in 90% of the participants, showing improvements in libido, sperm count and mood, thus allowing Fenugreek to confirm itself as a scientifically proven aphrodisiac.
Detoxify, Boost and Protect the Body
Fenugreek contains high levels of antioxidants, together with anti-inflammatory properties, to help rid the body of harmful free radicals, protecting against protein, DNA, and lipid damage, and helping to protect the body against oxidative stress and certain chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and a weakened immune system. Meanwhile the vitamins and nutrients within the tea will boost the body’s natural immune system, preparing the body to fight common infections, viruses, and afflictions. In fact, Fenugreek is known to be immunoregulatory. As a natural diuretic, this tea can flush toxins from the body, cleansing, purifying, and stimulating the kidneys and liver.
Fenugreek is a traditional remedy for diabetes, and studies have upheld this belief, showing that it can help in addressing insulin resistance and regulating blood sugar levels for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Even for non-diabetics, it can have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity, improving glucose tolerance. A warm cup of low calorie, sugar-free fenugreek tea is an excellent choice for diabetics.
Steroidal saponins in the tea also lower bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood and increase the beneficial HDL cholesterol, thereby reducing the accumulation of cholesterol within the blood vessels and preventing hardening and blocking of the arteries, and a study showed that drinking the tea daily did indeed lower cholesterol levels of patients suffering from coronary artery disease.
Fenugreek tea is also known to increase levels of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione which boosts heart health. Anti-inflammatory properties can also reduce inflammation in the arteries and veins, thus allowing blood to travel easier, lowering the risk of a platelet build-up and clots within the blood vessel. Fenugreek, being rich in potassium, can also control blood pressure and thus reduce the risk of a stroke.
By ensuring a good supply of well oxygenated blood to the kidneys, coupled with its diuretic properties, the tea can help to remove toxins and excess fluid and sodium from the body, keeping the kidneys healthy, preventing the formation of stones, and reducing fat content in the body.
Test-tube studies to date have been very promising regarding the anticancer properties and have demonstrated that it can kill certain cancer cells such as breast cancer cells and lymphoma, although more research is needed. Fenugreek also contains a powerful compound called trigonelline which boosts the brain and, according to research, can slow age-related memory loss, and reduce the risk of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Furthermore, by reducing aluminum toxicity it can also inhibit brain disease. Antibiotic, antimicrobial and antiviral properties help to reduce and protect against viral and bacterial diseases, and are great for oral health, helping to protect against gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis and eliminating bad breath. In addition, its antinociceptive property also makes it ideal for rheumatoid arthritis pain, or any joint or muscle injury by blocking or reducing the pain receptors, while its anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce swelling.
Since Fenugreek mimics estrogen it can also help to lower the risk of developing arthritis or other auto-immune conditions. It is also a good remedy for gout since it can reduce inflammation both internally and externally.
Long used as a digestive aid, studies have proven that fenugreek reduced the symptoms of heartburn sufferers, with the effects in line with those of antacid pharmaceutical products. It keeps the digestive system functioning smoothly and helps to keep acidity and ulcers at bay, also eliminating bloating and constipation. It is known to be an excellent dietary addition for patients suffering from IBS and ulcerative colitis and is recommended to be taken directly after a meal.
Promotes Weight Loss
Drinking hot Fenugreek Tea can give your metabolism a boost and help to shed those excess pounds. It is rich in galactomannan, a healthy polysaccharide responsible for the breakdown of fat and sugar metabolism in the body, and can trigger the burning of adipose tissue, including that stubborn belly fat. Studies have shown that it can inhibit fat accumulation, therefore encouraging the body to burn excess fat, whilst also enhancing the feeling of fullness and reducing the appetite. The tea is also excellent for eliminating bloating and as a diuretic can dispel water retention.
Fenugreek tea was used as a respiratory aid in Ancient times, and science has now upheld this belief after studies have revealed that it is advantageous in the treatment of asthma. It can help to loosen and dissolve the mucus in the respiratory tract and sinuses, as well as soothing a sore throat, whilst its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce inflammation. Antibiotic, antimicrobial and antiviral effects can also help to dispel any infection, and reduce the symptoms of a cold, flu or laryngitis, as well as seasonal allergies.
High levels of protein and nicotinic acid content in Fenugreek are very beneficial to the hair, as confirmed in tests, and the tea can be used as rinse to combat seborrhoeic dermatitis and dandruff and protect against thinning hair and hair loss.
Preparation of Fenugreek Tea
Add one teaspoon of Fenugreek Tea to a cup of boiling water, cover, and steep for 2-3 minutes. Sieve and sweeten as required with honey or sugar
Not recommended for people suffering from a peanut or chickpea allergy or during pregnancy.