Ayurvedic Spice Cabinet: How Fenugreek Brings Radiance to Our Skin, Hair & Health
Fenugreek is not only an herb whose seeds and leaves are used to flavor dishes—though it does boast an appetizingly sweet, nutty taste. It is also a beauty and wellness salve that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
A nutritious herb rich in fiber, protein and iron, fenugreek’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties endow it with powerful benefits for the skin, hair, digestion and more. According to Ayurveda, fenugreek contains warming, nourishing and grounding properties that make it balancing for Kapha and Vata (however, it does increase Pitta).
Here’s a breakdown of the benefits of this impressive herb, as well as a few ways to incorporate it into your routine.
Benefits of Fenugreek
Reduces blemishes & dark circles
Rich in Vitamins K and C, fenugreek can effectively lighten dark spots by regulating the skin’s melanin production. In addition, it naturally regenerates and repairs the skin, helping to improve its overall tone and evenness.
Combats acne & oiliness
Fenugreek helps the skin to regulate its sebum production, preventing it from becoming too oily, which can lead to breakouts. Its antibacterial properties also enable it to combat and reduce the appearance of acne.
Promotes a youthful, taut complexion
The high antioxidant content of fenugreek means that it is able to combat free radical damage, which is what leads to the development of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and dullness. When used in a mask (we include instructions on how to make your own DIY fenugreek mask below), it can help reduce age spots, wrinkles and other signs of aging, leaving the skin firmer, tauter and more even as a result.
Alleviates inflammation & wounds
Fenugreek’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties also enable it to alleviate inflammation, which is at the root cause of conditions like sunburn, wounds, redness and eczema. When applied to the skin, it serves as a natural toner, reducing inflammation to promote a brighter complexion.
The antibacterial, anti-inflammatory benefits of fenugreek extend to the hair, too, making it a potent treatment for alleviating conditions like dandruff. As Ayurvedic specialist Zeel Gandhi tells Vedix, “The natural saponins present in fenugreek have rich antifungal and antibacterial properties that keep the microbial infections on your scalp at bay.’’
Prevents hair loss
The lecithin in fenugreek enables it to naturally condition and hydrate the hair while also delivering essential nutrients to the roots. These qualities help make the scalp and hair stronger, thicker and less susceptible to hair loss.
Heals & strengthens damaged hair
In addition to its antioxidant properties, fenugreek has lots of protein, both of which make it an effective natural remedy for hair that has been damaged by coloring, sun exposure, heat styling and the like. It promotes the repair of damaged hair by strengthening the hair shaft and promoting thicker growth.
Prevents premature aging
Rich in iron and potassium, fenugreek can stimulate melanin production in the hair, enabling it to remain its natural color and stave off premature greying.
Promotes radiance & shine
Deeply hydrating, fenugreek’s ability to provide nutrients and moisture to the scalp and hair not only help it to repair damage and promote growth, but also to imbue the hair with a natural shine and luster.
For overall health:
Helps control blood sugar levels
Several studies have suggested that fenugreek is effective in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, making it a promising aid for conditions like diabetes. It is believed that fenugreek’s ability to boost insulin function alongside its high fiber content may contribute to this capacity.
Improves breast milk production
One of the ancient traditional uses of fenugreek in Ayurveda is as a stimulant to breast milk production. Several studies that followed the consumption of fenugreek tea in lactating mothers backs up this wisdom, showing that it helped to increase the production of breast milk.
Promotes a healthy menstrual flow
In Ayurveda, it is believed that fenugreek seeds also stimulate vata, which dominates the lower half of the body, including our reproductive system. Is warming qualities help it to alleviate vata-related pains, like PMS symptoms, thereby promoting a more balanced, painless flow.
Given its vata-pacifying qualities, it makes sense that fenugreek would benefit our reproductive health in other ways, too. As research has demonstrated, fenugreek naturally boosts libido alongside overall energy, strength and stamina.
Thanks to its high fiber content, fenugreek is an excellent tool for stimulating regular bowel movements and promoting healthy digestion and elimination. Something as simple as eating fenugreek seeds in the morning can help ignite agni, or the digestive fire, and start off your day feeling balanced.
How to Use Fenugreek
There are an incredibly diverse number of ways to reap the benefits of fenugreek. You can incorporate it into your diet by using it as a supplementary herb in dishes, or simply by soaking or sautéeing the seeds to eat as a snack. You can also turn it into a soothing digestive tea by steeping 1 teaspoon fo fenugreek seeds in hot water for 5-10 minutes.
To reap the skincare benefits of fenugreek, you can make your own DIY mask. Here’s one to try at home: mix one tablespoon of fenugreek powder, one tablespoon of sandalwood powder and half a tablespoon of milk powder. Add water to form a thick paste and apply to the face for 20-30 minutes. Wash off with warm water. Apply once a week to promote wrinkle-free, even and radiant skin.
To use fenugreek as a hair-strengthening supplement, you can add 5-6 tablespoons of a carrier oil to a frying pan and heat it on low for 10-15 minutes. Then add one teaspoon of fenugreek (seeds or powder) and two teaspoons of brahmi (herbs or powder), which helps stimulate the scalp and treat inflammation and infection. Heat this combination for another 15 minutes, then allow it to settle for two days or so. Strain the mixture and store in a cool, dark place. To use, massage a few drops of the oil into the scalp.
- Ayurvedic herbs, Ayurvedic Spice Cabinet, clean skincare, herbal remedies, natural skincare, Words of Wellness
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