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Fenugreek seed is the ripe fruit of an annual herb. This robust herb has light green leaves, is 30-60 cm tall and produces slender, beaked pods, 10-15 cm long, each pod contains 10-20 small hard yellowish brown seeds, which are smooth and oblong, about 3mm long, each grooved across one corner, giving them a hooked appearance.
Fenugreek is a native of South Eastern Europe and West Asia, now cultivated in India, Argentina, Egypt and Mediterranean countries (Southern France, Morocco and Lebanon). In India it is grown extensively in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab. It is a cold season crop and is fairly tolerant to frost and very low temperature. It is best suited to tracts of moderate to low rainfall and is sown in all types of soil but perform better in loam and clayey loam with proper drainage. It can also be grown on black cotton soils.
Fenugreek is used both as a food and food additive as well as in medicines. Fresh tender pods, leaves and shoots are eaten as curried vegetable. As a spice, it flavours food. Powder of dried leaves is also used for garnishing and flavouring variety of food. Fenugreek extract is used as a flavouring agent of imitation maple syrup. It is one of the principle constituent of curry powder. The seeds are used in colic flatulence, dysentery, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, chronic cough and enlargement of liver and spleen, rickets, gout and diabetes. It is also used as a carminative, tonic, and aphrodisiac. Fenugreek oil is used in the manufacture of hair tonics.
Hindi : Methe Bengali : Methe Gujarati : Methe Kannada : Menthya Malayalam : Ventayan, Uluva Marathi : Methe Oriya : Methe Punjabi : Methe Sanskrit : Methe Tamil : Vendayam or Venthiyam Telugu : Mentulu or Menthulu Urdu : Methe
Spanish : Alholva French : Fenugrec German : Bockshorklee Swedish : Bockshornklee Arabic : Hulba Dutch : Fenegriek Italian : Fieno Greco Portuguese : Alforva Russian : Pazhitnik Japanese : Koroha Chinese : K'u - Tou