The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians used fenugreek for both medicinal and culinary purposes. If you are interested in fenugreek for purely medicinal purposes, you can purchase it in pill form in most health food stores.
You should also be aware of possible side effects. If you are allergic to peanuts, you can also be sensitive to fenugreek. In addition, just about every positive effect has had the opposite side effect reported occasionally. None of the possibilities are severe, but you should stay away from fenugreek if you are worried about pre-term labor or hypoglycemia. All of the recipes I will suggest in the future will probably stay well under the recommended dosage of 6 grams (German Commission) or 1 tsp 3 times a day.
Nursing Moms: The most common use of fenugreek in the Western world is to increase milk supply in nursing mothers. Studies show it to be very effective and I have friends who rely on it to have enough milk for their babies. I think that it can effect the taste of the milk, and I wonder if the babies are also helping to increase the milk supply. If the baby likes the maple flavor of the milk with fenugreek, they may suck harder or drink more, and the mothers milk supply will increase. The resulting successful nursing can also relax the mother, further increasing milk supply. Either way, it's healthier than beer! Large amounts of fenugreek can also lead to mapley smelling sweat and other fluids.
It seems that fenugreek is said to ease just about every malady known to man, but here is a short digest of some more common indications:
Diabetes: can stabilize blood sugar. Several human intervention trials demonstrated that the antidiabetic effects of fenugreek seeds ameliorate most metabolic symptoms associated with type-1 and type-2 diabetes in both humans and relevant animal models by reducing serum glucose and improving glucose tolerance.(source link)
Pain: relieves joint pain and migraines, anti-inflammatory
Cholesterol: There are many stories of people successfully replacing their cholesterol meds with fenugreek, over time.
Symptoms of menopause and PMS: estrogen-like properties help increase libido and lessen the effect of hot flashes and mood fluctuations. Anti-inflammatory properties ease cramps and headaches.
Below is an excerpt from the Encyclopedia of Spices:
Fenugreek is a digestive aid. As an emollient it is used in poultices for boils, cysts and other complaints. Reducing the sugar level of the blood, it is used in diabetes in conjunction with insulin. It also lowers blood pressure. Fenugreek relieves congestion, reduces inflammation and fights infection. Fenugreek contains natural expectorant properties ideal for treating sinus and lung congestion, and loosens & removes excess mucus and phlegm. Fenugreek is also an excellent source of selenium, an anti-radiant which helps the body utilize oxygen. Fenugreek is a natural source of iron, silicon, sodium and thiamine. Fenugreek contains mucilagins which are known for soothing and relaxing inflamed tissues. Fenugreek stimulates the production of mucosal fluids helping remove allergens and toxins from the respiratory tract. Acting as an expectorant, Fenugreek alleviates coughing, stimulates perspiration to reduce fevers, and is beneficial for treating allergies, bronchitis and congestion. In the East, beverages are made from the seed to ease stomach trouble. The chemical make-up is curiously similar to cod liver oil, for which a decoction of the seed is sometimes used as a substitute. Many other properties are ascribed to it in India and the East and not surprisingly include aphrodisiac.