Every Herb Has a Story: Fenugreek Uses

By Staff
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Randy Buresh (Registered Nurse and Herbalist), is the co-owner and founder of Oregon’s Wild Harvest. Oregon’s Wild Harvest grows, harvests and produces their own medicinal herbal products, many of which use the herbs grown on their certified Biodynamic® and Organic farm in Sandy, Oregon.www.oregonswildharvest.com

Open a bottle of fresh fenugreek and the smell is distinctive: maple abounds! Fenugreek is among the best-selling herbs in the United States, and it has been for many years.  Commonly used by nursing mothers, fenugreek is widely known for its lactation support–its ability to increase milk flow.

Fenugreek originates from India and northern Africa, and has a long history of medicinal and culinary use. Medicinal applications of fenugreek were documented in ancient Egypt, where it was used for embalming mummies.

Fenugreek has historically been valued across many cultures and eras.

As an aid to increasing milk flow, fenugreek has been historically valued across many cultures and eras, from the relatively recent use by wet nurses in the southern United States to other cultures such as Sudan, Egypt, Iraq and Argentina. In India, once a child has been born, women are encouraged to eat fenugreek seeds as a supplement to encourage the healthy flow of milk.

The benefits of fenugreek in breastfeeding likely stem from the diosgenin in its seeds, a compound similar to estrogen. As such, it increases milk production and stimulates breast tissue.

Fenugreek also contains a gumming substance called mucilage. When mixed with water mucilage expands and becomes gelatinous, and effectively soothes irritated tissues, making fenugreek an effective aid for digestion.

It’s an herb with a story–and many helpful uses. That’s why fenugreek is Oregon Wild Harvests’ herb of the month.

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