Hay fenugreek has long been used in medicine and veterinary medicine. The seeds of this plant are used in homeopathy as well as in some traditional systems of medicine.
The seeds contain about 6% fatty oil, up to 30% mucus, a small amount of essential oil - 0.3%, acaloid trigonelline - 0.3%, nicotinic acid (vitamin PP) - 3.5-18 mg%, rutin, and also steroidal saponins and phytosterols.
In recent years, scientists have become interested in the steroidal saponins of fenugreek as a source of plant materials for the synthesis of corticosteroid drugs. It was found that fenugreek seeds contain an impressive amount of steroids (up to 1.27-2.2%). Diosgenin, yamogenin, gitogenin, tigogenin and glycosides of dioscin and yamoscin were isolated from them, and p-sitosterol (0.16-0.28%) was isolated from phytosterols.
Modern research has shown that fenugreek is rich in protein and carbohydrates, and also contains potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, vitamins A, C, B1, B2, PP, folic acid; microelements are also present in it: vanadium, manganese, chromium. In terms of its chemical composition, hay fenugreek is very similar to fish oil.
Today this culture is included in the official Pharmacopoeia of many countries of the world. Fenugreek seeds are a part of many combined drugs that have a diuretic, laxative, anti-inflammatory, anabolic, hypoglycemic and anti-sclerotic effect.
Hay fenugreek in our country has attracted the attention of scientists, first of all, as a possible new source of steroid saponins and diosgenin for Russia, which is one of the most important initial products of the synthesis of cortisone and its analogs.
At the moment, domestic pharmacy is experiencing an acute shortage of medicinal plant materials containing steroid saponins. So, included in the "State Register of Medicines" (2001) Tribulus (Tribulis) and dioscorea (Dioscorea) are endangered plants, and the main natural places of their growth are outside of Russia.
The main sources of raw materials for the production of steroids are Caucasian Dioscorea, Nippon and Deltoid, Lobular nightshade, Anchorite creeping, various types of onions, etc. However, the raw materials obtained from these crops are far from satisfying modern needs. The introduction of hay fenugreek into agricultural production in Russia, as well as some other plant species that are grown in large areas in other countries and are widely used for food and medicinal purposes, would provide a reliable source of raw materials and rational conservation of the resources of many wild endangered plants.
Use in other areas
As a fodder plant, hay fenugreek is grown in Southern and Central Europe, India, China, South Africa and Ethiopia, in America, as well as in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.
Fenugreek is an early ripening crop (the growing season of most plants is 90 days, in early varieties - 65 days), so it can take an important place as a stubble crop with a yield of green mass up to 25 t / ha and 800-1400 kg / ha of seeds. It is used for the production of green mass, hay, haylage, concentrates, grass flour. Green mass is an excellent fibrous feed for cattle, well absorbed by the animal body.
As a legume, fenugreek can fix up to 70-90 kg / ha of molecular nitrogen during the growing season, quickly decompose in the ground and serve as a good green fertilizer.
Additives from fenugreek greens and flour from its seeds are included in animal feed and are used in veterinary practice to increase milk production.
Fenugreek is a good honey plant, capable of producing 30-70 kg of honey from 1 hectare of crops.
The seed powder has strong insecticidal properties and is used against moths and lice.
Read also articles:
- Growing fenugreek
- Hay fenugreek: a cultural history
- Hay fenugreek in cooking