Fenugreek: Health Properties and Culinary Uses



Not long ago, friends of ours came back home after a few months spent in India, and during a leisurely catchup visit, they produced a large bag full of some dried-up leaves. “This is a magic spice!” they bragged. “It’s good in soups, stews, roasts — everything! We made sure to bring plenty from India because we’ve never seen it around here.”

Curious, we took some of the wonder-spice to smell and … had to laugh, because it turned out to be no more and no less than dried Fenugreek leaves — and though I can’t exactly say it’s available everywhere, we can definitely obtain it in Israel with little difficulty, usually in shops specializing in Yemenite cuisine.

Health Benefits of Fenugreek

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), more commonly known as hilbe in Israel, has some wonderful health properties. In fact, I was first introduced to this wonder herb in university, by a professor who had spent many years researching the connection between Fenugreek and diabetes. It turns out Fenugreek counters high blood sugar, lowering and stabilizing it.

Later, when I became a mother, I also became aware of Fenugreek as a plant to aid lactation — it can improve milk supply (though the effects, from my observation, are inconsistent and very dependent on the individual) up to a point that one has to be careful not to overdo.

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