Trigonella foenum-graecum, “Fenugreek” in English and “Fenugrec” in French, belongs to the Fabiaceae botanical family. It is a herb growing to 0.6 m, native to the Mediterranean region, the Ukraine, India and China. Its natural habitats are field verges, uncultivated ground, dry grasslands and hillsides.
The fragrance of its seeds and leaves have made it a culinary aromatic since ancient times, notably in curries, as well as tobacco, coffee and vanilla extracts.
As a drug, seeds are used for treating furuncles, boils, inflamed indurations and eczema. In folk medicine, for treating catarrh of the upper respiratory passages and as a roborant; also blood sugar-reducing, lactalogic and antipellagral activites are ascribed to the drug.
Its main constituents are carbohydrates, chiefly galactomannans with a small proportion of xylose; fibrous and starchy materials and oligosaccharides; protein, fixed oil, proteinase inhibitors, steroidal saponins, furostanol glycosides, sterols and flavonoids (formononetin, vitexin).