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medhika - Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn.

medhika :

medhika  : Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn. Used for improve the shine of jewels, to wash cloths, hair and also for medicine purposes, Reetha – soapnut is a versatile medicinal herb. It is used for treating skin diseases and psychiatric disorders.

is an annual plant in the family Fabaceae, with leaves consisting of three small obovate to oblong leaflets. It is cultivated worldwide as a semiarid crop. Its seeds and leaves are common ingredients in dishes from South and Central Asia.


Fenugreek is believed to have been brought into cultivation in the Near East. It is uncertain which wild strain of the genus Trigonella gave rise to domesticated fenugreek, charred fenugreek seeds have been recovered from Tell Halal, Iraq (carbon dated to 4000 BC), and Bronze Age levels of Lachish and desiccated seeds from the tomb of Tutankhamen.Cato the Elder lists fenugreek with clover and vetch as crops grown to feed cattle.

In one first-century A.D. recipe, the Romans flavoured wine with fenugreek.In the 1st century AD, in Galilee, it was grown as a food staple, as Josephus mentions it in his book, the Wars of the Jews.

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Trigonella
Species: Trigonella foenum-graecum

Allied species:

-In Ayurvedic classics, Methika Trigonella foenum is categorized as follows –

Haritakyadi Varga
Aushadhi Varga
Pippalyadi Varga


Sanskrit: methika, methini, dipani, gandhaphala, vallari, amnthya, mishrapushpa, kairavi, pitbija
English: fenugreek
Hindi: Methi Danaमेंथी
Urdu: Methi
Telugu: Menthulu
Bengali: Methi মেথি-গাছ
Marathi: Methya
Konkani: Methi
Gujarathi: મેથી
Tamil: Vendayam
Malayalam: uluva
Kannada: Menthya
Punjabi: Menthiya
Arabic: hulba, hilbeh
Spanish: Fenogreco
Japanese: koruha, fenu-guriku
Chinese: 胡芦巴(hú lú bā)
French: Fenugrec
German: Bockshornklee
Burma: Penantazi
Nepal: Menthiyam
Persian: Shanbalileh
Sinhalese: fenugreek
Greek: Fenugreek


There are two species of the genus Trigonella viz. Trigonella foenum graecum (common methi) and Trigonella corniculata (Kasuri methi).

There are two varieties of Methika Trigonella foenum –

  1. Laghu methika – It is used as vegetable (Patra shaka).
  2. Brihat methika – It is used as cattle food (Pashu khadya)


मेथिका मेथिनी मेथी दीपनी बहुपत्रिका | 
बोधिनी बहुबीजा च जातिर्गन्धफला तथा ||८३|| 
वल्लरी चन्द्रिका मन्था मिश्रपुष्पा च कैरवी | 
कुञ्चिका बहुपर्णी च पित्तजिद्वायुनुद्द्विधा ||८४|| 
मेथिका वातशमनी श्लेष्मघ्नी ज्वरनाशिनी | 
ततः स्वल्पगुणा बल्या वाजिनां सा तु पूजिता ||८५|| 


Synonyms in Ayurveda: methika, methini, dipani, gandhaphala, vallari, amnthya, mishrapushpa, kairavi, pitbija

The English name derives via Middle French fenugrec from Latin faenugraecumfaenum Graecum meaning "Greek hay

Methika, Methi, Pitabija – Seeds are yellow in color.
Methini, Dipani – The plant which acts as appetizer.
Bahupatrika – The plant which has abundant leaves.
Jyoti, Gandhaphala – The fruit which gives odor.

Rasa: Katu Tikta
Guna: Laghu Snigdha
Veerya: Ushna
Vipaka: Katu
Karma: Vathakaphahara

They are used externally in poultices for boils, abscesses and ulcers, and internally as emollient for inflammations of the intestinal tract. They find application also in Veterinary medicine, and are used in poultices, ointments and plasters, and form a constituent of condition powders for cattle, horses and sheep. 


Fenugreek was originally from temperate Asia and Europe, but is now cultivated in many warm temperate to tropical areas of the world. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 13 - 27°c, but can tolerate 5 - 32°c[418
. Plants are hardy to about -15°c  It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 600 - 800mm, but tolerates 380 - 1,550mm

Succeeds in ordinary garden soil, preferring a well-drained loamy soil in full sun
 Prefers a pH in the range 7 - 7.5, tolerating 5.3 - 8.2
Plants take about 16 weeks to mature their seed in warmer climes, probably about 4 weeks longer in temperate areas
The seed is ripened intermittently over a period of some weeks making harvesting more complicated[87
The expected yield of seed is 0.5 - 3.8 t/ha
In India, yields of green forage are about 9 - 10 t/ha
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby
 When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.


Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in situ.


Fenugreek can be hand-cut or mechanically harvested by farm cutting equipment or by conventional mowers, conditioners and rakes. The use of rectangular balers and forage harvesters have also been recommended. If fenugreek is cut under dry conditions, the plant can be left in thin layers to cure on the soil. If harvesting conditions are wet, it is recommended to oven-dry the plant or to make it into silage. Another way to use fenugreek forage is to cut it after seed harvest, forage being thus similar to straw, with a relatively low palatability


Fenugreek herb contain chemical composition like diosgenin, gitogenin, tigogenin, trigonelloside, yomogenin, tetosides, graceunin A, B, C, H, I, J, K, L, M, trigofoenosides, choline, trigonelline, yamogenin, gitogenin, diosgenin, neotigogens, and tigogenin etc. It contains nutritional contents like thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, B6, vitamins A, C, and K, copper, calcium, selenium, zinc, manganese, magnesium, and potassium.


Pharmaceutical Preparations of Methika Trigonella foenum – 

Methi modaka
Pancha jiraka paka

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Leaves, Seed, ,


  • In powder form: Take three to six grams of Fenugreek powderonce or twice daily with plain water after meals.


-not known


In India, the roasted ground seeds are infused for a coffee substitute or adulterant.


-Except for three, all 50 food items tested in a government laboratory have been found adulterated.
Only two spices -- fenugreek (methi) and black pepper -- and sesame oil (seed oil with medicinal value) were found pure.


-Fenugreek acts as an estrogen receptor modulator and was shown to stimulate breast cancer cells in vitro  Patients with hormonal-sensitive cancers should consult their physicians before using fenugreek.

 The genusTrigonella  L. (Fabaceae) is composed of annual or perennial herbs, with  pinnate leaves, trifoliate, fragrant, and legumes that are characteristic of the family. Trigonella species are widely distributed in the dry regions around Mediterranean, West of Asia, Europe, North and South Africa,  North America, and South Australia . There has been much controversy regarding the number of species, which includes the genus, Fazli  considered 97 species, Vasil’chencko  recognized 128 species, Hector and Hutchinson  recorded about 70 species. In recent studies, Martin et al.  included approximately 100 species and Govaerts et al.  recognized about 93 species. However, the exact number depends on accepted synonymies. Several authors have proposed artificial classifications within the genus to recognize groups of species, in this sense Tutin and Heywood  considered the genus into three subgenera: Trigonella Trifoliastrum, and Foenumgraecum. These subgenera are recognized with based on characters of the shape and outline of calyx and pod. On the other hand, Furry divided cultivated species according to corolla color and calyx characteristics. Ingham  created three groups withinTrigonella, based in its capability results to release cumarine in macerated tissues. However, these classifications do not permit understanding of the genus natural history, for that reason is necessary phylogenetic systematic studies for knowledge of species and their relationships. Several authors have studied the taxonomy of the genus for regions or countries as well as aspects of morphology, cytology, and pollen  The genusTrigonella has a wide diversity of species, including among these toT. foenum-graecum which is the most  popular species in the genus by its countless uses and properties. The taxonomic position of this species is described below based on Snehlata and Payal 
:Kingdom: Plantae  Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order:Fabales Family:Fabaceae Genus:Trigonella Species: foenum-graecum Linn.

Commercial value:

India is a major producer, with fenugreek production in Indiaderived from numerous states. Rajasthan accounts for over 80% of Indias output.


Plant habit  Erect or prostrate, straight or profusely branched  20-130 cm in length Stem Circular to slightly quadrangular, greenish, often characterized by pinkish color due to anthocyanin accumulation under field condition 0.5-1 cm in diameter  Leaf Simple and trifoliate, distinctly petiolate, stipulate; leaf lamina oval or orbicular with an entire margin. The petioles and leaf lamina varies form greenish to pinkish in the field 1.5-4.5 cm × 0.8-1.5 cm Petiole  Pale green, pubescent, often anthocyanin tinged  Very small; 0.5-1.1 mm Flower  Yellow when young but white on maturity  1.6 - 2.2 cm Calyx  Campanulate, pale green, pubescent  6 - 8 mm Individual sepal  Pale green, pubescent  1 3 - 19 mm Corolla  Papilionaceous, white, papery  1.5-1.9 cm Standard/Vexillum/Banner  White, papery  1.5 - 1.8 cm Keels/Carina White, papery  6-10 mm Wings/Alae  White, papery  4.5 - 5.5 mm Anther lobes  Bright yellow, rectangular  1 -1.5 mm × 0.4- 0.5 mm Filament  Hyaline, tubular  1. 7 - 1.9 mm Ovary  Deep green, glaucous  1.8-2.5 mm Stigma  Pale green, glaucous  1.5 - 2.1 mm Style  Pale green/hyaline glaucous  0.2 - 0.5 mm Pollen grain Oval (70-90 %) to circular, orbicular, ellipsoidal grains (10-30 %). Hyaline; stained pink or red when treated with 0.5 % acetocarmine 0.032- 0.042 mm × 0.025 -0.027 mm Ratio of terminal to axillary flowers All flowers yellow when immature and white when matured Extremely rare, however the ratio varies as 1:8/1:10/ 1:11/1:13 Number of pods per plant and pod dimensions Pods brownish or yellowish brown with mucronate tips 2-8/plant 9.5-18.6 cm × 0.2-0.4 cm Seed Rectangular to oval in shape with deep grooves between the radicle and cotyledon Varies in color form pale brown to golden yellow 10-20/pod 3-5 mm × 2-3 mm


Leaf anatomy -The upper (adaxial) and lower (abaxial) epidermis cells formed the boundary of the leaf blades as a continous covering of the leaf as observed in cross section. Epidermis was protected by a layer of cuticle. Mesophyll was differentiating into pallisade and spongy parenchymatous cells having large intercellular spaces. These cells were filled with densely packed chloroplasts along with the other cell organelles. The midrib was composed of single vascular bundle. The phloem was composed of sieve tubes, companion cells and parenchyma. Xylem was made up of rows of bluntly angular vessels interspersed with parenchyma. The anatomy of healthy fenugreek leaf is characterized by epidermis, parenchyma cells and usually by large intercellular spaces in photosynthetic areas.

 Seed shows a layer of thick- walled, columnar palisade, covered externally with thick cuticle; cells flat at base, mostly pointed but a few flattened at apex, supported internally by a tangentially wide bearer cells having radial rib-like thickenings; followed by 4-5 layers of tangentially elongated, thin-walled, parenchymatous cells; endosperm consists of a layer of thick-walled cells containing aleurone grains, several layers of thin walled, mucilaginous cells, varying in size, long axis radially elongated in outer region and tangentially elongated in inner region; cotyledons consists of 3-4 layers of palisade cells varying in size with long axis and a few layers of rudimentary spongy tissue; rudimentary vascular tissue situated in spongy mesophyll; cells of cotyledon contain aleurone grains and oil globules.

Geographical distribution:

Fenugreek is naturally found in field verges, uncultivated ground, dry grasslands and hillsides in semi-highland and highland regions (Alaoui, 2005). Fenugreek is grown as a cool season crop in India and the Mediterranean region, both irrigated and as a rainfed crop. It grows on a wide range of preferably well drained soils with a pH ranging from 5.3 to 8.2. Wet soils are not suitable. In cooler areas, growth is slow and weak during cold periods and it is better grown as a summer crop. The seeds require warm dry weather for ripening and harvest (FAO, 2017; Alaoui, 2005). Fenugreek optimally grows in places where annual temperatures are in the range of 8-27°C and where annual rainfall is between 400-1500 mm. It is a full-sunlight species (Alaoui, 2005).


-Ecology Fenugreek is basically a warm temperate crop with cultivars adapted by long domestication to warmer and colder environments. 

Plant conservation:

-not threatened

General Use:

  • The herb is helpful in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
  • On external application, Fenugreek helps heal superficial wounds more quickly.
  • Because of its rich protein content, the herb is an excellent ingredient in haircare and skincare products.

Therapeutic Uses:

  • Deepani: This herb improves the digestive fire.
  • Vatahara: It balances vata dosha disorders like paralysis, constipation, neuralgia, and bloating etc.
  • Kaphahara: It balances kapha disorders like asthma, bronchitis, chest congestion, and cough etc.
  • Prameha: This herb is very much effective in type 2 diabetes mellitus, and urinary tract disorders.
  • Aruchi: Beneficial in anorexia.

Systemic Use:

  • In constipation (Vibandha) – The leaves used as a vegetable (curry) is helpful in bowel clearance.
  • For Inflammation (Shvayathu vilayana) – Methika patra (fenugreek leaves) are pounded and applied over affected parts to relieve swelling and inflammatory conditions.
  • For Diarrhoea and small pox – Roasted seeds of Methika Trigonella foenum in the form of infusion are indicated.
  • As galactogogue – Porridge of Methika Trigonella foenum is used to increase lactation in feeding mother.
  • In Diarrhoea – Roasted seeds along with dry grapes and common salt are given.
  • In hair fall and dandruff – Seeds powder or leaf pulp is used locally.



  • For diabetes: 5-100 grams of powdered fenugreek seed added to one or two meals daily for 4 days to 3 years has been used. A dose of 1 gram daily of an extract of fenugreek seeds has been used.
  • For painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea): 1800-2700 mg of fenugreek seed powder three times daily for the first 3 days of menstruation, followed by 900 mg three times daily for the remainder of two menstrual cycles, has been used.
  • For increasing interest in sex: 600 mg of fenugreek seed extract (Libifem, Gencor Pacific Ltd.) each day for two menstrual cycles.
  • For improving sexual performance: 600 mg of fenugreek seed extract (Testofen, Gencor Pacific Ltd) each day alone or with magnesium 34 mg, zinc 30 mg, and vitamin B6 10 mg, for 6-12 weeks has been used.


Diabetes, Constipation, Greasy stools, Loss of appetite, Gastric problem, Peptic Ulcers, Intestinal Gas, Flatulence, Abdominal Distension, Colon Cancer.

Clinical trials:

Pharmacological effects of Trigonella foenum-graecum L. in health and disease.

Yadav UC1, Baquer NZ.


Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) As a Valuable Medicinal Plant
August 2013 · International journal of Advanced Biological and Biomedical Research
Zahra Moradi Kor
Jalal Bayati Zadeh


Pregnancy: Fenugreek is LIKELY UNSAFE in pregnancy when used in amounts greater than those in food. It might cause malformations in the baby, as well as early contractions. Taking fenugreek just before delivery may also cause the newborn to have an unusual body odor, which could be confused with "maple syrup urine disease." This odor does not appear to cause long-term effects.

Breast-feeding: Fenugreek is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth to increase breast-milk flow in the short-term. Some research shows that taking 1725 mg of fenugreek three times daily for 21 days does not cause any side effects in infants.

Children: Fenugreek is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in children. Some reports have linked fenugreek tea to loss of consciousness in children. An unusual body odor resembling maple syrup may also occur in children drinking fenugreek tea.

Allergy to plants in the Fabaceae family: People who are allergic to other plants in the Fabaceae, including soybeans, peanuts, and green peas might also be allergic to fenugreek.

Diabetes: Fenugreek can affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use fenugreek.

Toxicity studies:

  • Allergic reaction.
  • Asthma.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Gas (flatulence)
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Wheezing.
  • Unusual body odor (pediatric)
  • Loss of consciousness (pediatric)

Use in other system of medicine:

In traditional medicine, fenugreek is thought to promote digestion, induce labour, and reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics, although the evidence that fenugreek has any therapeutic worth is lacking.

In herbalism, fenugreek is thought to increase breast milk supply in nursing mothers.This is not supported by good medical evidence and fenugreek intake is not recommended for this purpose.


Trigonella foenum-graecum is an annual plant in the family Fabaceae, with leaves consisting of three small obovate to oblong leaflets. It is cultivated worldwide as a semiarid crop, and its seeds are a common ingredient in dishes from the Indian subcontinent. Its leaves and seeds of medhika plant are widely used in Indian cuisine.Foenum-graecum leaf is used as a green, leafy vegetable and is a good source of calcium, iron, β-carotene and several vitamins. 

Ayurvedic Formulations:

Common Ayurvedic Formulations of medhika with their Indications
Trichup Herbal Hair Pack Powder
Lala Dawasaz Herbal Hair Oil
G3 Triple Action Ayurvedic Hair Wash - G3 Hair Wash keeps hair soft, silky and manageable. It is completely safe & free from harmful chemicals.
Hairvit Oil

KEY WORDS: Fenugreek Trigonella foenum-graecum methika

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