Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecum L.): Health, Medicine and Chemistry

Review Article

Austin Pharmacol Pharm. 2023; 7(1): 1027.

Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecum L.): Health, Medicine and Chemistry

El Kahkahi Rahal¹*; Moustaine Meryama²; Zouhair Rachid¹

1Laboratory of Plant Biotechnology and Molecular Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University Moulay Ismail, PO. Box 11201, Zitoune, Meknes, Morocco

2Laboratory of Botany and Plant Protection, Faculty of Sciences, University Ibn Tofail, BP 133, University Campus, Kenitra, Morocco

*Corresponding author: Rahal El Kahkahi Laboratory of Plant Biotechnology and Molecular Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University Moulay Ismail, PO. Box 11201, Zitoune, Meknes, Morocco. Email: [email protected]

Received: June 14, 2023 Accepted: July 19, 2023 Published: July 26, 2023


Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.), is widely destributed throughout the world and belongs to the Fabacecae family. It is an old medicinal plant and has been commonly used as a traditional food and medecine. Fenugreek is known to have hypoglycemic, and hypocholesterolaemic effects. Recent research has identified fenugreek as a valuable medicinal plant with potential for multipurpose uses and also as a source for preparing raw materials of pharmaceutical industry, especially steroidal hormones. This review article summarizes and reviews puplished experimental studies and scientific literature from the databases including PubMed, Google, Scpous and Local library.

Keywords: Trigonella foenum-graecum; Medicine; Pharmaceutical industry et steroidal hormones


Morocco, it is a country known by these natural resources, has a singularly rich and varied flora. There are approximately 7000 species of plants, 22% of which are endemic and belong to several botanical families [38].

Among the medicinal plants that make up the plant cover is Trigonella foenum-graecum L., it is an annual herb belonging to the Fabaceae family. It is found all over the world, but it is of Mediterranean origin. It is widely known for its very important medicinal and nutritional properties due to the phytochemicals present in the extracts to the seeds of this plant [34]. The pharmaceutical and biological activities of fenugreek are attributed to different constituents such as alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids and coumarins [29]. In the past, fenugreek was mainly used as lavouring agent in foods and as a spice and recently it has been reported as being used in the pharmaceutical industry as a source of steroidal diosgenin [32].

Use of plant derived medicinal compounds has been inpractice since antiquity in many cultural systems including India, China, Egypt and Middle Eastern countries. In recent times plant derived medicinal compounds are being widely used and are suggested by doctors to be used in a number of ailments due to their minimal side effects and numerous positives effects on human health. Out of many such medicinal plant, fenugreek recently attracted the attention of scientists from across the globe [46].

Botanical Description

It is as annual herbaceous plant belonging to the Fabaceae family, its foot can reach a height between 30 to 60 cm. Its cultivation requires only calcic soil and a little humidity. There are also many branches on the stem and it has oval-shaped leaves separated into three parts (trifoliolate) [51]. The flowers of Trigonella foenum-graecum L., have a yellowish_white color which subsequently gives rise to the fruit in the form of a pod whose length varies around 20 cm and which contains the seeds (10 to 20) [51]. The seeds of Trigonella foenum-graecum L., are solid seed with a light brown to yellowish brown color, with a thickness of 2mm and a length of 5mm, they gather at pebbles and have a special spicy smell [49].

The inflorescence shows axillary flowers, grouped in pairs, rarely solitary. The fenugreek flower is sessile, called papilionaceous, quite large, pale yelou to light purple in color, consists of a calyx xith five undivided sepals, a corolla with five free triangular petals (hence the name trigonalla) and ten stamens and a pluriovulated ovary [30].

Fenugreek is native to North Africa, the Middle East and India, the nit is widely distributed around the Mediterranean basin. Fenugreek proudcers are India, Iran, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Argentina, Egypt, France, Spain, Turkey, Morocco and China. However today it grows all over the world [43]. Often eaten as sprouted seeds that can be grown indoors year round, these plants are outdoor, summer-producing annuals. Sow in spring directly in place, in the sun, in well-drained soil, and thinned to 10 cm apart [9].


Chemistry data has shown that the seeds contain protains, an oil rich in unsaturated fatty acids and phytosterols, carbohydrates, steroidal saponins, alkaloids includint tribonellin, mucilage, vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6 and C), phosporus, magnesium and calcium and as essential oil responsible for the smell of the plant. The average physical and nutrional characteristics for 100 g of genugreek seed are shown in Table 1.

Citation:Rahal El K, Meryama M, Rachid Z. Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecum L.): Health, Medicine and Chemistry. Austin Pharmacol Pharm. 2023; 7(1): 1027.