Fenugreek a multipurpose crop: Potentialities and improvements

Saudi J Biol Sci. 2016 Mar;23(2):300-10. doi: 10.1016/j.sjbs.2015.09.015. Epub 2015 Sep 14.


Fenugreek is one of the oldest medicinal plants with exceptional medicinal and nutritional profile. Fenugreek seeds contain a substantial amount of fiber, phospholipids, glycolipids, oleic acid, linolenic acid, linoleic acid, choline, vitamins A, B1, B2, C, nicotinic acid, niacin, and many other functional elements. It may grow well under diverse and a wide range of conditions; it is moderately tolerant to drought and salinity, and can even be grown on marginal lands in profitable way. Owing to these characteristics and heavy metal remediation potential, fenugreek may well fit several cropping systems. In addition to its medicinal uses, it may serve as an excellent off-season fodder and animal food supplement. However, efforts should be initiated to develop strategies for improving its biomass production; genetic diversity among different accessions may be mapped, breeding and crop improvement programs may be initiated to improve the biomass and nutritional and functional elements. This review highlights the morphology, adaptability, nutritional constituents and associated functionality and medicinal significance of fenugreek; its ethno-historical uses, pharmacological assumptions have also been discussed. Researchable areas are also indicated to improve its production and adaptability.

Keywords: AAS, Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer; Antioxidants; CAT, catalase; Crop improvement; EMS, ethylmethane sulfonate; ESP, exchangeable sodium percentage; Gaps; HDL-C, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol; HPLC, high performance liquid chromatography; ISSR, inter-simple sequence repeat; IU, international unit; LDL-C, low density lipoproteins-cholesterol; Marginal lands; NAEs, N-acylethanolamines; PGRs, plant growth regulators; Pharmacological; RAE, retinol activity equivalents; RAPD, random amplified polymorphic DNA; SOD, superoxide dismutase.

Publication types

  • Review