Trigonella. Greek Hay Seed. T. Foenum-graecum L. Fenugreek. Semen Foenugraeci, P. G. Bockshornsamen, G.—A European annual leguminous plant cultivated in southern Europe, Northern Africa and India for its seeds. These are oblong-cylindrical, somewhat compressed, obliquely truncated at each extremity, 3 to 5 mm. in length, brownish yellow externally, internally yellow and marked with an oblique furrow running half their length. They have a strong peculiar odor resembling that of elm bark, and an oily, bitterish, farinaceous taste, and contain fixed and volatile oils, mucilage, bitter extractive and a yellow coloring substance. E. Jahns (Ber. d. Chem. Ges., xviii, 2518-2523) has obtained choline, C5H15NO2, and trigonelline, C7H7NO2. The yield of the former was 0.05 per cent., and of the latter 0.13 per cent. Trigonelline is isomeric and probably identical with pyridine-betaine. By heating trigonelline with concentrated solution of potassium hydroxide, a distillate is obtained which appears to contain pyridine. An ounce of the seeds, boiled in a pint of water, renders it thick and slimy. They yield the whole of their odor and taste to alcohol. On the continent of Europe they are employed in the preparation of emollient cataplasms, enemata, ointments and plasters. They are never used internally for human beings, but the ground seeds are used to an enormous extent in the manufacture of cattle powders or condition powders and to give a maple flavor to confectionery.
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.