An herb similar to clover, fenugreek is a small plant native to Western Asia and the Mediterranean. It’s most commonly used in India – it’s referred to as methi – where both the leaves and seeds are used in food and for medicinal purposes. Fenugreek is available in many forms: a fresh, leafy herb; as fenugreek oil; or as a spice powder made by finely grinding the brown fenugreek seeds.
Using Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds are available as supplements in both capsule form and as a concentrated fenugreek oil. Fenugreek seeds boast a nutty aroma along with a mildly bitter aftertaste. Fenugreek supplements are most commonly used by those looking to boost their testosterone levels – the chemical makeup of fenugreek is such that it may aid in the increase of natural testosterone production.
Using Fenugreek Powder
It’s also quite common to use fenugreek powder for hair, and the fenugreek benefits for hair growth have been touted for decades. Fenugreek powder for hair has long been used as a natural remedy in treating hair loss and a dry, irritated scalp. Make a quick paste for your hair by grinding presoaked fenugreek (methi) seeds in water before applying it to your hair. Let it soak in for 30 minutes before washing off, then follow your regular shampoo routine.
How to Make Fenugreek Oil
Fenugreek oil cannot be directly made by extracting the oil from fenugreek seeds. Instead, it must be diluted in a flavorless oil, creating a fenugreek seed extract oil which can then be ingested and also used topically for medicinal purposes and beauty regimens.
Fenugreek Seed Extract Oil Recipe
Making fenugreek seed extract at home is a time-consuming process, but you can make fenugreek oil in bulk batches. These will store well for a year or longer if kept in a dry, dark area.
Total Time: 2 weeks | Prep Time: 1 hour | Serves: 1 (16-ounce) canning jar
- 1 3/4 cup coconut oil
- 4 tablespoons fenugreek powder
- 1 (16-ounce) canning jar with lid
- In a 16-ounce canning jar, add the fenugreek powder and top with coconut oil leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top of the jar.
- Gently stir to combine. Close and cover the jar tightly with the lid.
- In a medium saucepan, create a water bath by adding water and warming over low-medium heat.
- Add the closed jar to the bath and let it warm for an hour. The jar should be hot, but still comfortable to hold.
- Remove from the heat and pat the jar dry.
- Macerate in the pantry for up to two weeks, making sure to shake the mixture daily.
- With a cheesecloth or coffee filter, strain the fenugreek oil mixture and store in a dark glass bottle.
Any good quality oil, like safflower, olive or jojoba can be used if coconut oil is not available. You can also boil fenugreek seeds in oil and follow this same process. Use 1/2 cup of fenugreek seeds in the recipe for similar results.
Side Effects of Fenugreek
While fenugreek seeds and oil are generally safe for consumption, some people may experience side effects from prolonged use of fenugreek. These include gas, diarrhea and bloating, as well as headaches. Fenugreek may cause an allergic reaction and nasal congestion in some people. For those allergic to green peas, soybeans and peanuts, fenugreek might also provoke similar allergic reactions. It is also known to affect and lower blood glucose levels, so diabetic people might need to monitor their sugar levels if taking fenugreek powder or supplements.
Christabel Lobo is a freelance writer focusing on all-things food, travel, and wellness. Her writing has appeared in Tenderly, SilverKris, Byrdie, Trivago, Open Skies, Fodor’s, London’s Evening Standard, Silkwinds, HuffPost, Barclays Travel, Pint Size Gourmets, and on her personal yoga & travel blog, Where’s Bel. Feel free to check out her design and writing portfolio: christabel.co