08 July, 2011
Fenugreek's seeds and fresh leaves add a piquant, slightly bitter taste to Indian curries, pickles and chutneys. Cooks rely on thyme to add flavor to savory dishes. In addition, both fenugreek and thyme are therapeutic plants with numerous health benefits. Encapsulated supplements of a combination of the two herbs are advertised as a treatment for sinus infections. Please discuss all medical and nutrition questions with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal treatments.
The fenugreek plant produces small, rectangular, yellowish-green seeds that are frequently used in East Indian cuisine. In addition, these odd-looking seeds are one of the most ancient and treasured herbal remedies. Herbalists recommend fenugreek seed for many conditions including high cholesterol, dyspepsia, constipation, scant breast milk production, and fever. The seeds are sometimes fed to invalids as a tonic and to increase weight gain. According to the Plants for a Future website, each 100 grams of fenugreek seed contains over 23 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat and more than nine grams of fiber. The powdered seeds are mixed with water and applied as a poultice for boils and burns. Consult a qualified healthcare professional if your medical condition is severe or persistent.
Thyme, or Thymus vulgaris, is a perennial low-growing plant, often used as ground cover. Bees love the thyme plant’s tiny white or lilac-colored flowers, and chefs hold thyme honey in high regard. Favored in Mediterranean and Greek cuisine, thyme also has been used as a therapeutic herb for centuries. Many conditions are purported to be helped by thyme tea, including anxiety, fatigue and depression. In ancient times, herbalists used thyme as an antispasmodic to treat convulsions, according to Gaea and Shandor Weiss authors of “Growing and Using the Healing Herbs.” Oil of thyme, called thymol, is antiseptic and can aid wound healing. Ask your physician which herbal remedies are appropriate for you.
The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reports that human and animal research into fenugreek demonstrates the plant’s ability to treat high cholesterol and diabetes as well as protect the liver. Test-tube research indicates that fenugreek may be protective against some cancers and may also have additional health benefits. The herb’s capacity to increase production of human breast milk needs further study. Fenugreek should be avoided if you have a hormonal-sensitive cancer. In regard to thyme, phytochemicals in the leaves seem to relax the digestive tract and bronchial tubes, explaining its long-time use for chest congestion and indigestion. In clinical research, the oil of thyme also demonstrated antibacterial and antioxidant activity, according to a 2011 article in the “Natural Products Communications” journal. Consult a qualified healthcare provider before adding these herbs to your regimen.
You should not ingest thyme oil, explains “Complete Guide to Safe Herbs.” It is wise, in addition, to stay away from toothpaste containing thyme oil. Pregnant women need to steer clear of fenugreek and large doses of thyme, as these herbs may cause miscarriage. Diabetics should only use fenugreek under their physician’s supervision.
- “Natural Products Communications”; Comparison of Volatile Constituents, and Antioxidant and Antibacterial Activities of the Essential Oils of Thymus Caucasicus, T. Kotschyanus and T. Vulgaris; S. Asbaghian, et al.; January 2011
- Plants for a Future: Trigonella Foenum-Graecum
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Fenugreek
- “Growing and Using the Healing Herbs”; Gaea and Shandor Weiss; 1992.
- “Complete Guide to Safe Herbs”; Chris D. Meletis; 2002
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