Fenugreek Oil Benefits and Uses: Exploring Its Versatility
Fenugreek is a popular medicinal herb that has been used for millennia across Iran, India, Pakistan, China, and Rome. Its leaves and seeds have been used for many applications, such as in foods, spice mixes, broths, and medicinal supplements. In Sudanese folk medicine, fenugreek is made into porridge and medicinally consumed by lactating women. This practice is also found in India. In China, fenugreek is used to treat fluid build-up and weakness.
The Ayurvedic perspective on fenugreek is also interesting. In Ayurvedic medicine, fenugreek is known as a ‘balancing herb’ due to its supposedly warming and bitter quality. From this perspective, fenugreek is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat spiritual imbalances.
In modern scientific research, fenugreek is proven to have many pharmacological properties, from antimicrobial, antidiabetic, antioxidant, and wound healing. This article will discuss the benefits of fenugreek oil and the ways you can use it.
Origins of Fenugreek Oil
Fenugreek is nearly the oldest plant that has records in medicinal history. The earliest traces of fenugreek seeds were found 6000 years ago in Iraq. Today, fenugreek is cultivated in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Argentina.
The fenugreek plant, scientifically known as Trigonella foenum-graecum, comes from the Fabaceae, or legumes, plant family. Other plants in the family include peas, beans, and peanuts. The carrier oil is extracted from the seeds of the fenugreek plant through steam distillation and cold pressing.
The oil is yellow to golden in appearance and has a warm, earthy scent with a hint of spice. It blends well with soothing essential oils, such as sandalwood and jasmine.
Chemical Profile and Therapeutic Potential of Fenugreek Oil
The bioactive compounds in fenugreek oil have been widely researched in clinical and experimental studies for their medicinal efficacy. Fenugreek comprises beneficial components, including amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, flavonoids, and vitamins.
Carbohydrate compounds called galactomannans make up approximately 50 percent of fenugreek oil. It is also rich in amino acids, like tryptophan and lysine, making up around 30 percent. Other important compounds present in fenugreek oil are lipids, alkaloids, steroidal saponins, and vitamins A, B, and C. These bioactive compounds have prominent potential pharmacological effects, ranging from improving cardiovascular health to nourishing hair.
Galactomannan is a soluble polysaccharide that plays a crucial role in various health benefits. It aids in reducing cholesterol levels, regulating blood pressure, and enhancing cardiovascular health. The compound is also effective in breaking down glucose in type 1 and type 2 diabetes by delaying the digestion of carbohydrates.
Steroidal saponin is another compound found in fenugreek and is present in several other leguminous plants. Clinical studies have proven that saponins may lower the risk of cancer, decrease blood lipid content, and even lower blood sugar levels.
Among the compounds isolated from fenugreek, 4-hydroxy isoleucine has several potential medicinal effects, including regulating blood glucose, cholesterol, and fat levels. In addition, fenugreek also contains vitamins A, B, and C in abundance. These, combined with useful amino acids, as well as potassium, are beneficial for nourishing and repairing hair and skin cells.
Health Benefits of Fenugreek Oil
Fenugreek oil abundantly contains bioactive compounds that are beneficial for several health concerns, such as lowering blood cholesterol, blood pressure, enhancing diabetes care, and promoting sexual wellness. The following sections provide detailed insights on the pharmacological effects associated with fenugreek oil.
Fenugreek Oil for Reducing Hair Loss and Nourishing the Scalp
In the Indian subcontinent, fenugreek is commonly known as methi, and it is a staple in hair care regimens. It is thought to promote blood flow in the scalp while also reducing hair loss. A 2011 study conducted on the topical application of shampoo containing fenugreek extract demonstrated that the compound trigonelline has significant biological activity affecting the hair and scalp.
Trigonelline boosts growth in the epidermal cells in the scalp and encourages hair growth. This reduces hair thinning and hair loss. Additionally, trigonelline was found to increase the dilation of the blood vessels in the scalp, delivering oxygen to the hair follicles and stimulating hair growth. Participants in the study also reported that consistent application of the fenugreek shampoo made their hair shinier and more manageable.
In addition to these effects, fenugreek oil may also help reduce graying hair. The oil contains vitamins A and C, which help in reducing sun damage caused to the melanocytes in hair follicles. These vitamins have antioxidant properties and may not only prevent hair graying but also reverse it.
To use fenugreek oil for your hair, mix in a few drops of cedarwood essential oil and massage it on your scalp. Leave the treatment in your hair for around 30 minutes. Make sure to patch test before use, and wash your scalp and hair thoroughly after.
Fenugreek Oil for Radiant and Healthy Skin
If you like exploring natural skincare, you’ll find fenugreek seeds being referenced quite commonly in DIY skin treatments. While kitchen ingredients such as fenugreek seeds are not completely safe to use directly on the skin, fenugreek oil is safe for topical use.
An experimental study conducted in 2010 tested the effect of applying a cream enriched with fenugreek extract to facial skin. After 4 weeks of consistent application, results were positive for indicators of skin health, including skin elasticity, hydration, firmness, and reduction of skin fatigue.
Fenugreek oil contains the steroidal saponin diosgenin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It may help to alleviate symptoms of skin conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
Furthermore, the oil is rich in vitamins A and C, which are powerful antioxidants and anti-aging compounds. These vitamins effectively combat oxidative stress to the epidermal cells, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Vitamin C also supports collagen production, further enhancing the anti-aging effect and making the skin appear brighter and firm.
To apply fenugreek oil to the skin, mix the oil in your moisturizer or facial cream, and apply as usual. To enhance its effectiveness, consider adding skin-friendly essential oils, like rosemary and frankincense. Be sure to patch test before using fenugreek oil on facial skin, as it may trigger an allergic reaction in some individuals.
Fenugreek Oil for Sexual Wellness
Sexual wellness is impacted by several external and internal factors, such as sleep, hormones, stress, and fatigue. Researchers focusing on this area have recently taken a significant interest in the potential of fenugreek seed extract in promoting sexual desire and libido in both men and women.
A 2010 study investigated the potential of fenugreek as an ergogenic aid and performance-enhancing compound. At the conclusion of the study, findings showed that fenugreek increased testosterone levels, and also improved body fat and capacity for physical work.
When utilizing fenugreek oil for sexual wellness, it is important to select the oil from a reliable source. The efficacy of the oil may be compromised if it is impure or has been extracted from poor-quality plants. The presence of an active compound called protodioscin plays a key role in influencing testosterone levels, and it must be present in appropriate concentrations for the oil to be effective. Wholesale Botanics’ fenugreek oil has been sourced from its native soil in India and ensures the optimal concentration of important compounds.
To enjoy the aphrodisiac effects of fenugreek oil, simply add it to a diffuser, along with a few drops of clary sage and ylang-ylang essential oils. This combination of fenugreek oil and essential oils creates a sensual ambiance that can help enhance the mood and stimulate desire.
For an enhanced experience, engage in a massage with the blend. This not only delivers the effects of the scent, but also heightens the sensual effect by increasing blood flow.
Fenugreek Oil to Lower Blood Cholesterol Levels
Fenugreek possesses medicinal qualities that make it potentially highly effective in reducing bad cholesterol levels in the blood. Several scientific studies have confirmed the hypolipidemic action of fenugreek seed extracts.
A clinical study conducted in 1991 showed that regular intake of fenugreek lowered both LDL and VLDL. The cholesterol levels in 80 percent of the subjects were reduced by 25%. The study also revealed that withdrawal from fenugreek did not immediately reverse prior blood cholesterol levels. Another study conducted recently in 2020 confirms this hypothesis, providing evidence for the use of fenugreek as a cholesterol-lowering medicinal plant.
These studies provide theoretical evidence that the inhalation of fenugreek oil through a diffuser may lower blood cholesterol levels. To use, mix in a few drops of lemongrass essential oil and diffuse them into your room. While this is not a replacement for professional treatment, it may help with regulating blood cholesterol.
Fenugreek Oil for Managing Diabetes
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that impacts the quality of life. Many people try to manage diabetes by making lifestyle changes, such as eating healthy, exercising, and taking medication. Essential oils and carrier oils with medicinal properties may help improve how the body turns food into energy, and help manage diabetes.
Researchers have found that fenugreek mimics the mechanism of insulin in the body and slows down the absorption of glucose. Fenugreek seeds contain 4-hydroxy isoleucine, a compound that is known to boost insulin secretion and improve glucose tolerance in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
To use fenugreek to manage diabetes, combine a few drops of cinnamon, cumin, and pumpkin seed oil, and add the mixture to your diffuser. According to research, consistently using this blend for at least 4 weeks has shown significant results in people with diabetes.
Side Effects of Fenugreek Oil
Since fenugreek oil has medicinal qualities, it may interact with bodily mechanisms in a way that is undesirable. The ingestion of fenugreek oil is not recommended; however, the oil can be applied topically or used via diffusion.
The use of fenugreek internally is not safe for women who are pregnant, as it may cause birth defects. Additionally, it should not be used in the presence of children or pets.
Fenugreek oil, when used in large amounts internally, may cause diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, and headaches. It can also have the unintended effect of lowering blood sugar levels.
In some people, fenugreek oil can trigger an allergic reaction, so it is important to patch-test fenugreek oil before use.
Nurturing Wellness With Fenugreek Oil
Fenugreek oil has numerous potential benefits for health that make it an essential part of aromatherapy and wellness routines. It is a versatile carrier oil with an earthy scent that pairs well with nearly any essential oil.
Our recommendation is a fenugreek oil blend with jasmine, ginger, and sandalwood essential oils. The character of the scents in this blend, with jasmine’s floral sweetness, ginger’s spicy warmth, and sandalwood's grounding notes, balances the warm and slightly bitter scent of fenugreek oil. This combination enhances the olfactory experience while also delivering the soothing and calming therapeutic effects of the essential oils.
Before incorporating fenugreek oil into your routine for relieving medical issues, always consult with your doctor.