Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graeceum), or Greek Hay, is an annual herb native to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. The genus name Trigonella is derived from old Greek meaning “three-angled,” which accurately describes the corolla of the plant.1 According to historians, cultures have used it in various ways, such as cooking, fragrance and even as an aphrodisiac.2
In terms of physical features, the plant can grow to a height of 2 feet, with a single stem (or branched) at the base. Aside from the three-angled feature of the leaves, the plant is known for its strong, sweet aroma, as well as pods that produce 10 to 20 seeds.3 From these seeds, fenugreek tea is created — a drink that is known for its potential therapeutic properties.
What Is Fenugreek Tea?
In essence, fenugreek tea is made by brewing the seeds of the fenugreek plant, which is also where most of the nutrients lie. Ancient cultures have been utilizing these seeds to their advantage for thousands of years. The ancient Romans, for example, used them for treating respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia.4
Today, an affinity for fenugreek tea lives on and it is enjoyed by many people around the world. Research has attempted to discover what makes this beverage stand the test of time, and the findings are surely impressive.
Potential Benefits of Drinking Fenugreek Tea
Fenugreek tea is known for its nutty flavor, but it may have a bitter, maple-like taste as well.5 Nevertheless, drinking it may provide a wealth of potential benefits to your health. Some well-known examples include:
Lowering Cholesterol Levels
Steroid saponins found in fenugreek have been found to help lower total plasma cholesterol levels in rats, according to a study published in the medical journal Steroids.6
In a related study, researchers observed these claims in fenugreek extracts when they performed an experiment in arthritic rats.7
Regulating Blood Sugar
Diabetics may benefit from drinking fenugreek tea as it has been found to help lower blood sugar levels and regulate insulin production in the body, as suggested in a rat study published in Nutrition Research.8
Relieving Menstrual Cramps
Evidence suggests that fenugreek seeds may be helpful in relieving menstrual cramps, according to a study published in the Journal of Reproduction & Infertility.9
In light of this information, drinking fenugreek tea may have the same effect.
According to a study conducted among overweight women, fenugreek tea has been found to help suppress the appetite, which may help you control your caloric intake.10
Furthermore, the drink is low in calories, so you can be sure that it won’t pack on extra pounds.
How to Make and Store Fenugreek Tea at Home
Making fenugreek tea starts with the plant itself. If you’re a beginner gardener, you’re in luck because fenugreek is considered to be perfect for budding green thumbs. It grows fast and delivers quick results that will allow you to grow your interest in gardening.13
Start by making sure you have loamy, well-draining soil with full sun exposure.14 Next, sprinkle the seeds evenly on the surface, then water the ground without flooding. After a few days, the seeds will begin to germinate. From here, water regularly early in the day and maintain this pattern to keep the soil’s moisture intact.15
Allow the plants to complete their life cycle and die naturally. You will notice that you will be left with thin, long pods that contain the seeds. Snap off the stalk carefully so you don’t damage the seeds, and collect them in a container.16
To separate the seeds from the pods, you can peel them one by one. You may also rub the pods between your palms or place them in a bag and repeat the action vigorously to save time.17 Once you have your seeds, follow this procedure to make your own fenugreek tea:18
Refreshing Fenugreek Tea Recipe
1. Place the fenugreek tea in the teapot and pour the water over the seeds. Cover and steep for at least three minutes.
2. Strain and drink warm.
3. The seeds can be used for a second serving if desired.
Reported Side Effects of Fenugreek Tea
For the most part, fenugreek tea is safe to drink regularly, in moderate amounts. However, there are instances when the herb may cause side effects. Here are affected areas that have been associated with fenugreek, which may also occur when drinking fenugreek tea:19
• Gastrointestinal System- You may experience one or a combination of the following digestive problems: flatulence, stomachache, bloating and diarrhea.
• Blood Sugar- Drinking fenugreek tea may lower your blood sugar levels, which can result in hypoglycemia if not monitored. Symptoms of this condition include dizziness, hunger, sweating and irregular heartbeat.20 Diabetics who are currently taking blood sugar-stabilizing medicines should avoid drinking fenugreek tea to prevent amplifying the effects of the drugs.
• Pregnancy- Drinking fenugreek tea may cause uterine contractions, which may result in premature labor. When consumed before delivery, it may also produce an unusual body odor in the baby.
• Allergies- People who are allergic to the Fabaceae family of plants (soybeans, peanuts and green peas, to name a few) may develop negative reactions upon consumption of fenugreek.
Try Drinking Fenugreek Tea and See the Results for Yourself
Making tea from fenugreek seeds is an easy way to get the benefits of the herb. Best of all, growing the plant yourself is stress-free and allows you to avoid pesticides that usually come with conventionally grown products. Just be sure to consume fenugreek in moderation to minimize your risk of side effects. Who knows? You may even begin to enjoy gardening as a long-term hobby once you start planting fenugreek in your home garden.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fenugreek Tea
Q: Where can you buy fenugreek tea?
A: Fenugreek tea can be bought in local and online stores. However, it’s more important to thoroughly review the product you’re purchasing and make sure it’s made from high-quality ingredients.
Q: What is fenugreek tea good for?
A: Evidence suggests that drinking fenugreek tea may help alleviate inflammation, weight, menstrual cramps, and cholesterol and blood sugar levels.