Preliminary trials have suggested possible hypoglycaemic, hypolipidaemic and immunomodulatory properties of the fenugreek plant. Here, we evaluated and compared the efficacy of Egyptian fenugreek seed powder (FSP, 0·5 and 1·0 g/kg body weight) in alleviating the experimentally induced metabolic syndrome (in type 1 diabetic and obese rat models) and experimentally induced immunosuppression and delay in burn-healing (in cyclophosphamide (CP)-treated rats). FSP significantly alleviated (P < 0·05–0·001) most signs of the metabolic syndrome resulting from experimentally induced type 1 diabetes and obesity by 40–76 and 56–78 %, respectively, including hyperglycaemia, hyperlipidaemia, elevation in atherogenic indices, impairment of liver functions, severe changes in body weight and oxidative stress. Besides, FSP (especially the high dose) completely modulated the immunosuppressive activity of CP including leucopenia (resulting from neutropenia and lymphopenia), decrease in weights and cellularity of lymphoid organs, serum γ-globulin level, delayed type of hypersensitivity response and delay in the skin-burning healing process. FSP decreased the immunosuppressive activity of CP by 57–108 %. These beneficial effects of FSP were dose dependent in most cases, and FSP doses used here were considered safe in general. FSP was more efficient in alleviating the signs of the metabolic syndrome in the obese animals (over 9 %) than in the type 1 diabetic animals. Moreover, the immunostimulant activity of fenugreek seeds exceeded their anti-metabolic syndrome activity by 15–24 %. In conclusion, fenugreek seeds may be useful not only as a dietary adjunct for the control of the metabolic syndrome in diabetic/obese patients, but also as an immunostimulant in immunocompromised patients such as those under chemotherapeutic interventions.