Unani Hulbaa Methi

Trigonella incisa Benth. 675

Siddha/Tamil ► Vendhayam.

Action ► Seeds—used in loss of appetite, flatulence, dyspepsia, colic; diarrhoea, dysentery; enlargement of liver and spleen; and as a lactagogue and puerperal tonic.

Key application ► German Commission E reported secretolytic, hypermic and mild antiseptic activity of the seed. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia reported its actions as demulcent and hy-poglycaemic. ESCOP and WHO monographs indicate the use of seeds in adjuvant therapy for diabetes mellitus, anorexia, also in hypercholesterolemia.

The seeds gave alkaloids, including trigonelline, gentianine and carpaine; saponins, based mainly on the sa-pogenins, diosgenin and its isomer yamogenin, gitogenin and tigogenin; flavonoids, including vitexin and its glycosides and esters and luteolin; a volatile oil in small quantities. The mucilage (25-30%) is mostly a galac-tomannan.

A C-steroidal sapogenin peptide ester, fenugreekine, exhibited hypogly-caemic activity.

About 80% of the total content of free amino acids in the seeds is present as 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which appears to directly stimulate insulin. (Eur J Pharmacol, 390, 2000; Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.)

Saponin rich extracts reduce blood levels of the cholesterol. The fibrous fraction of seeds also causes a reduction in blood lipids.

The aqueous extract is demulcent, promoted healing of gastric ulcers produced experimentally in rats and exhibited a smooth muscle relaxing effect in rabbits without affecting either the heart or blood pressure.

Fenugreek has been reported to stimulate the liver microsomal cy-tochrome P450 dependent aryl hy-droxylase and cytochrome b5 in rats; increased bile secretion has also been observed.

Fenugreek extract containing trigo-nelline and trigonellic acid maybe used as a hair growth stimulant.

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