Fenugreek Oil: Benefits, Uses, Properties, and Side Effects
From helping you to grow new hair to stimulating lactation, the fenugreek oil benefits are enormous and much beyond than you can imagine. To make you aware of what this wonderful herb could do to your health, here is this detailed article.
What Is Fenugreek Oil?
Fenugreek essential oil is extracted from the seeds of Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) of the Fabaceae family. Fenugreek is an annual and leguminous herb. Both the seeds & leaves of the fenugreek plant are used as food and medicine from the ancient times.
It has erect and smooth stems with alternatively placed leaves, white to yellowish flowers, and greenish-brown seeds. The plant helps in atmospheric nitrogen fixation, which enriches the soil. (1)
The leaves, stem, and seeds of the fenugreek plant are edible. The seeds are rich in Vitamin E. The leaves are used to treat indigestion for centuries now. Also, the paste of both fenugreek leaves and seeds help promote hair growth (2).
The plant is indigenous to the Mediterranean regions. The principal places of production are India, Nepal, Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Argentina, France, Egypt, Spain China, Turkey, and Morocco.
Scientific Name Of Fenugreek Oil
The botanical name of fenugreek is Trigonella foenum-graecum.
History Of Fenugreek Oil
The use of fenugreek dates back to around 4000 BC. The name Trigonella foenum-graecum is derived from Latin which means "Greek hay" because people in those days used it as a cattle fodder.
Fenugreek has been a part of Siddha and Ayurvedic medicine for a very long time. Historically, Fenugreek was used mostly for therapeutic purposes. It is one of the most commonly used spices and even used as an instant home remedy for various health issues.
Different people around the world used fenugreek for different purposes. In Egypt, it was used to embalm the dead.
In the First Jewish-Roman war, Jewish defenders of Jerusalem combined fenugreek with boiling oil and then poured down on the city wall, preventing Romans from climbing the city wall.
Apart from its culinary use, both fenugreek seeds and fenugreek essential oil have been a vital part of ancient medicines to treat indigestion, menstrual cramps, wounds, bronchitis and much more.
Colour, Consistency, and Smell Of Fenugreek Oil
- The colour of fenugreek oil is pale yellow to light brown.
- The consistency of fenugreek oil is thin.
- The smell of fenugreek oil is bitter and pungent with a tinge of wood.
Properties Of Fenugreek Essential Oil
The therapeutic properties of fenugreek essential oil include (3):
- Antiviral - Prevents viral infections and growth
- Analgesic - Reduces pain sensation
- Antibacterial - Inhibits bacterial growth
- Anthelmintic - Repels intestinal parasites
- Antidepressant - Treats depression
- Anti-inflammatory - Alleviates inflammation
- Anti-infectious - Prevents infections
- Antioxidant - Inhibits oxidation
- Antimicrobial - Prevents microorganism growth
- Antispasmodic - Relieves spasms, contractions, or convulsions
- Antiseptic - Kills the microbes and prevents them from further growth
- Carminative - Relieves bloating, flatulence, and eases abdominal pain
- Calmative - Sedative and a calming agent
- Cicatrizing - Prevents the formation of scars
- Circulatory - Promotes healthy blood flow
- Decongestant - Reduces congestion
- Depurative - Detoxifier and cleanser
- Digestive - Aids in a healthy digestion
- Emmenagogue - Regularises and induces menstruation
- Emollient - Softens and soothes skin
- Expectorant - Helps remove excess mucus from the body
- Galactagogue - Induces the flow of breastmilk
- Hypotensive - Lowers blood pressure
- Nervine - Helps get rid of nervous disorders
- Restorative - Revives and strengthens the bodily systems
- Spasmolytic - Eases muscle spasms
- Stimulant - Increases the overall function of the body
- Stomachic - Good for the stomach; gastric tonic, digestive aid
- Tonic - Invigorates, restores, and refreshes the body & bodily functions
- Vulnerary - Heals wounds and sores (external application)
Chemical Compounds In Fenugreek Oil
The major compounds present in fenugreek essential oil include Neryl acetate 17.3%, Camphor 16.3%, b-Pinene 15.1%, b-Caryophyllene 14.6%, 2,5-Dimethylpyrazine 6.1%, Geranial 4.8%, 6-Methyl-5-hepten-2-one 4.5%, 3-Octen-2-one 4.3% and a-Selinene 4.0% (4).
Health Benefits of Fenugreek Oil
Though the fenugreek oil benefits are enormous, the most notable ones are:
1. Nourishes the hair
Dandruff, hair loss, split ends, dry hair, heat damaged hair, grey hair, hair thinning, and baldness are a few common hair problems that most people face today.
The one solution to all these hair problems is fenugreek. Recent researchers have studied the compounds in it and have demonstrated that it acts as an efficient food supplement for hair loss.
Fenugreek seed oil works well when mixed with coconut oil and sesame oil. Mix 4 to 5 drops of fenugreek seed oil with two tablespoons of either warm coconut oil or sesame oil. Massage your scalp with it thrice in a week. Let the oil sit on your scalp for 2-3 hours and then, wash off with a mild shampoo.
2. Leaves the skin glowing
Be it acne, wrinkles, boils, dry skin, or skin irritation, you can cure all of these using fenugreek oil. Traditionally, fenugreek seed paste has been used for its skin benefits - ranging from skin whitening to treating acne. Various scientists have studied the antimicrobial and antiseptic properties of fenugreek oil (7).
When used in the right method, fenugreek oil exfoliates, cleanses, tones, and nourishes the skin. You get glowing and radiant skin in a few weeks.
Mix 3 to 4 drops of fenugreek oil with Aloe vera gel. Apply the mixture on the skin and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Massage the surface in a circular motion to exfoliate and then wash your face with lukewarm water. This helps in rejuvenation.
3. Aids weight loss
Its nutty, maple-like flavor has made fenugreek seeds an integral part of many cuisines. However, its uses don't stop with just enhancing the food's taste. It also helps in digestion and assimilation.
Fenugreek essential oil stimulates metabolism and burns bad cholesterol from the body. It significantly helps you to lose some extra pounds (8).
You can add a few drops of fenugreek oil in your food to uplift the taste and stimulate metabolism. For a massage, mix 5 drops of fenugreek oil with 4 drops of chamomile oil and 3 drops of ginger oil. Take 3 to 4 drops of it and dilute it with 1 tablespoon of castor oil. Massage your abdomen using this diluted mixture before sleeping to help you lose weight.
4. Eases menstrual cramps
Being an emmenagogue, fenugreek oil stimulates menstrual cycle and regulates it. Pre-menstrual syndrome is one of the most common problems faced by many women these days. Various factors including stress and malnutrition are attributed to this problem.
However, fenugreek seed water has been a traditional remedy for this problem. You can also use fenugreek oil for relieving menstrual cramps. A gentle massage on our abdomen and back using diluted fenugreek oil accompanied with good rest gets rid of the pain (9).
5. Improves stomach health
Fenugreek can do wonders to your stomach health. Just use fenugreek for a day, and you will find an immense difference in your stomach health. Fenugreek essential oil is a carminative, anthelmintic, stomachic, and stimulant. It helps you to get rid of stomach acidity and ulcer as well (10).
Add 2 to 3 drops of fenugreek oil to 1 tablespoon of castor oil. Blend it well and let it sit for a few minutes. Apply the blend on your stomach with your hand. Make sure you apply the mixture three hours post dinner.
6. Tones your breast
Fenugreek seeds help in the process of breast enlargement and keeping them toned. Though a lack of scientific evidence makes it difficult to prove, there is still anecdotal evidence. People used the paste made from fenugreek seeds to treat sagging breast in olden days.
Similarly, fenugreek essential oil can also be used to tone your breasts. The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil make it a promising remedy for breast issues.
Dilute the oil with either coconut oil or sesame oil. Gently massage the area around the breasts, without touching the nipples to get rid of saggy breasts. (11)
7. Stimulates milk production
Fenugreek has been used to stimulate milk production in feeding mothers for centuries now. Fenugreek as a "galactagogue" has faced many debates in the scientific world. However, it has been a household medicine since historical times.
Fenugreek essential oil is also believed to stimulate milk production in breastfeeding women with hypogalactia (12).
It is believed that the anti-inflammatory property of the fenugreek oil helps to get rid of swollen milk ducts and thereby, enhancing milk production.
A gentle massage using diluted fenugreek oil around the breasts would help immensely. However, it is strongly recommended to consult a doctor before using it.
8. Maintains respiratory health
Fenugreek oils can also be used to remove frozen mucus from your respiratory tract. Apply the diluted fenugreek oil on your chest and let the skin absorb the aromatic components. This gives instant relief.
Being an effective expectorant, fenugreek essential oil expels phlegm and makes you less susceptible to respiratory infections (13).
You can also inhale the aroma of fenugreek oil. Add 5 to 6 drops of fenugreek oil to 2 tablespoons of sea salt and a pinch of turmeric in boiling water for steam inhalation. When you inhale the steam of this mixture, it breaks the phlegm and eliminates it from the body. Also, the toxins come out through sweat.
9. Enhances kidney functions
Not many are aware of the fact that our kidney produces hormones that are crucial for regulating blood pressure, controlling calcium metabolism, and stimulating the red blood cells' production.
Adrenal glands, which sit top on the kidneys, respond well to stress, affecting kidney functions in return. Fenugreek essential oil being a calmative help in maintaining kidney functions. It also restores the kidneys to function better (14).
Inhalation and a gentle massage on the back using diluted fenugreek oil is an excellent way to treat any kidney disorder.
10. Lowers blood pressure
High blood pressure often goes unnoticed for years. It rarely comes with noticeable symptoms and the causes are still unclear. Stress, tension, obesity, age, and sedentary lifestyle are considered to be the primary risk factors.
A balanced diet, active life, reduced stress, and aromatherapy can help you to treat hypertension. Since fenugreek oil is a hypotensive and calmative agent, it helps lower blood pressure naturally (14).
Mix 2 drops of fenugreek oil to 2 drops of Lavender oil, 2 drops of geranium oil, and 2 tablespoons of carrier oil of your choice. Get help from your loved ones for this.
Ask them to massage your back gently with a flow such that it is very soothing. It helps in reducing blood pressure. You can also use it in baths to reap its benefits.
What Blends With Fenugreek Oil?
Fenugreek oil blends best with:
- Aniseed oil
- Basil oil
- Black Seed oil
- Bergamot oil
- Cassia oil
- Cypress oil
- Chamomile oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Dill oil
- Geranium oil
- Frankincense oil
- Fennel (Sweet) oil
- Lemongrass oil
- Lemon leaf oil
- Lavender oil
- Melissa oil
- May Chang oil
- Myrtle oil
- Rose oil
- Oregano oil
- Tea tree oil
- Rosemary oil
- Ylang Ylang oil
- Thyme oil
How To Use Fenugreek Oil?
Fenugreek essential oil has been given GRAS status by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), which means it is recognized safe for any intended use. Always make sure you buy solvent-free and high-quality fenugreek essential oil.
- Topical Application: Undiluted fenugreek oil is known to cause adverse skin reactions like allergies. Always dilute the fenugreek essential oil with a suitable carrier oil before using it topically. It is always recommended to do a patch test prior application to find whether the oil is safe for you or not.
- Aromatherapy: It is always best to diffuse the fenugreek essential oil using a diffuser or vaporizer.
- Ingestion: Since FDA has given fenugreek essential oil the GRAS status, it is safe to use it in the food, provided the oil is solvent-free.
Side Effects of Fenugreek Oil
- Pregnant women should avoid using fenugreek essential oil, as it can stimulate the menstrual cycle.
- Avoid using fenugreek oil orally if you are taking any medication for diabetes. The constituents of fenugreek oil influence blood sugar level. It may lead to hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
- Few drug interactions were studied in fenugreek oil. Hence, avoid using the oil if you are suffering from any illness or undergoing any treatment.
- Always consult a professional before applying the oil.