Fenugreek, is a crop plant grown as a potherb and for the spice made from its seeds. The fenugreek plant grows wild from the eastern Mediterranean area to China; it is cultivated worldwide. The name fenugreek or foenum-graecum is from Latin for "Greek hay".
Fenugreek is used both as a herb (the leaves) and as a spice (the seed). The yellow, rhombic fenugreek seed is frequently used in the preparation of pickles, curry powders and pastes, and is often encountered in the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent and Thailand. The young leaves and sprouts of fenugreek are eaten as greens and the fresh or dried leaves are used to flavor other dishes. In the Arabian nation of Yemen it is the main condiment and an ingredient added to the national dish called Saltah. The similarity in the Arabic word Hulba and Mandarin Chinese word Hu lu ba reveal the significance of fenugreek in history. Fenugreek is also one of four herbs used for the Iranian recipe Ghormeh Sabzi.
Fenugreek is frequently used in the production of flavoring for artificial syrups. The taste of toasted fenugreek is additionally based on substituted pyrazines, as is cumin. By itself, it has a somewhat bitter taste. Fenugreek seed is widely used as a galactagogue (milk producing agent) by nursing mothers to increase inadequate breast milk supply. It has also been used to increase breast size. It can be found in capsule form in many health food stores. In India it is mixed with yogurt and used as a conditioner for hair. It is also one of the ingredients in the making of Injera, a type of bread unique to Ethiopia. Fenugreek in Amharic (Ethiopian national language)is ABESH. Most Ethiopians, who often turn to natural and herbal medicine, use ABESH to treat diabetes as well. Fenugreek powder is also used in India for treating diabetes.