The hypocholesterolaemic properties of an ethanol extract from defatted fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seeds were investigated. Purification of the crude extract by dialysis produced an isolated component with haemolytic properties. The dialysate was also found to contain saponins demonstrated by thin-layer chromatography. Experiments in vitro employing the everted-sac technique showed that the ethanol extract had the ability to inhibit taurocholate and deoxycholate absorption in a dose-dependent manner. In two separate feeding experiments, hypercholesterolaemic rats were fed on 30 or 50 g ethanol extract/kg for a 4-week period. Reductions in plasma cholesterol levels ranged from 18 to 26% and a tendency for lower concentrations of liver cholesterol was observed. These results indicate that the ethanol extract from fenugreek seeds contained hypocholesterolaemic components which appear to be saponins that interact with bile salts in the digestive tract.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Support for this research was provided by the Wolfson Foundation of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Hypercholesterolaemic rats