Asafoetida facts and health benefits

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Asafoetida facts and health benefits

Asafoetida Quick Facts
Name: Asafoetida
Scientific Name: Ferula assafoetida
Origin Central Asia, eastern Iran to Afghanistan,
Colors Greyish-white when fresh but dries to a dark amber color
Shapes Oval, flat, thin and have a milky juice.
Taste Bitter
Calories 297 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Iron (487.50%)
Calcium (69.00%)
Carbohydrate (52.31%)
Total dietary Fiber (10.53%)
Protein (8.00%)
Health benefits Nervous Disorders, Fertility Boost, Reproductive Health, Analgesic, Blood Sugar Control, Toothaches and Earaches, Digestive Issues, Lowers Blood Pressure, Headache Relief, Cancer Prevention, Asthma Relief, Respiratory System, Skin Protection
More facts about Asafoetida
Ferula assafoetida, popularly known as asafoetida, is dried latex (gum oleoresin) exuded from the rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula. Asafoetida gets its name from the Latin word foetid, which means stinking. It is a perennial herb and is also known as devil’s dung, giant fennel, stinking gum, or hing. True to these names, asafetida has a strong pungent smell, but adds a delicate flavor to dishes when cooked with other spices. All parts of the plant have the distinctive fetid smell. It is native to central Asia, eastern Iran to Afghanistan. The plant grows to 2 m (6.6 ft.) tall and is not harvested until four years old. It is also known as asant, food of the gods, jowani badian, stinking gum, hing, hengu, ingu, kayam, and ting. The plant is in the same genus as the now extinct Silphium. Asafoetida is mainly of two types i.e. white (milky white asafoetida) and blackish (black asafoetida).


Ferula assafoetida is a monoecious, herbaceous, perennial plant of the family Apiaceae. It grows to 2 m (6.6 ft.) high, with a circular mass of 30–40 cm (12–16 in) leaves. Stem leaves have wide sheathing petioles. Flowering stems are 2.5–3 m (8.2–9.8 ft.) high and 10 cm (3.9 in) thick and hollow, with a number of schizogenous ducts in the cortex containing the resinous gum. Flowers are pale greenish yellow produced in large compound umbels. Roots are thick, massive, and pulpy. They yield a resin similar to that of the stems. All parts of the plant have the distinctive fetid smell.


The plant later produces oval fruit which is thin, flat, foliaceous, and reddish brown, with pronounced vittae. It yields a milky juice having a powerful odor of asafetida. Apart from that resin-like gum comes from the dried sap extracted from the stem and roots and is used as a spice. The resin is greyish-white when fresh but dries to a dark amber color. They have pungent smell and bitter taste. As its name suggests, asafoetida has a fetid smell, but in cooked dishes, it provides a smooth flavor reminiscent of leeks.

Asafoetida varieties

Asafoetida is mainly of two types i.e. white (milky white asafoetida) and blackish (black asafoetida). White asafoetida consists of strong smell and has a crystalline form. It is also known as diamond like asafetida, and has more medicinal value. The blackish is used in cooking and has unusual taste. Now- a- day, many varieties of asafetida are available in the market. To remove the impurities of asafetida, it should be dissolved in water and then boiled in an iron pan till all the water is evaporated.


Asafoetida is considered to have originated from central Asia, eastern Iran to Afghanistan, where it grows from 600 to 1200 m above the sea level. Although not native to India, it has been used in Indian medicine and cookery for ages. Today it is grown chiefly in Iran and Afghanistan, from where it is exported to the rest of the world.

Nutritional Value

Apart from their bitter taste, Asafoetida is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 100 gram of Asafoetida offers 39 mg of Iron, 690 mg of Calcium, 68 g of Carbohydrate, 4 g of Total dietary Fiber, 4 g of Protein, 50 mg of Phosphorus and 1 g of Total Fat.


Health Benefits of Asafoetida

Asafetida, also known as hing, is a latex gum extracted from several species of a perennial herb, Ferula. It is available in the market as a solid brick or smaller pieces, as well as in tablet or powder form.

Along with its culinary uses, asafetida has a prominent place in traditional medicine. Its health benefits come from its carminative, antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, antispasmodic, expectorant, sedative, diuretic, vermifuge, emenagogue, aphrodisiac and anti-carcinogenic properties. Listed below are some of the popular health benefits of Asafoetida:

1. Skin Protection

Insect bites are certainly annoying no matter what country you’re from, and that itching irritation can almost drive you mad. Fortunately, if you create a paste based of asafoetida and applies it directly to the spot of the bug bite to speed healing and reduce inflammation, which should also eliminate your desire to continually scratch it!(1)

2. Respiratory System

As an antiviral, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant substance, asafoetida is perfect for treating respiratory disorders. It can help to eradicate excess mucus and phlegm from the system, while also neutralizing bacteria or pathogens that may be in the respiratory tracts, efficiently boosting your immune system and letting you breathe easy, even if you suffer from conditions like asthma. (2)

3. Asthma Relief

As a potent respiratory stimulant and expectorant, asafoetidas help release phlegm and relieve chest congestion naturally. It’s used in traditional medicine for asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis. The volatile oil in the asafoetida gum is removed through the lungs, which is why it can be an excellent treatment for asthma and other lung-related issues.

4. Cancer Prevention

Number of research in the world regarding the prevention and treatment of cancer are going on and as such, asafoetida has received significant attention. High concentration of antioxidant compounds, namely ferulic acid and umbrelliprenin found in asafoetida have been shown to actively seek out and neutralize free radicals within the body, and have been directly associated to a reduction in cancerous cells.(3)

5. Headache Relief

Frequent use of asafoetida has long been trusted on to soothe the pain of headaches. By improving blood flow within the capillaries and removing excess free radicals, asafoetida can help to eliminate the tension and pain of headaches and migraines quite efficiently.(4)

6. Lowers Blood Pressure

Asafoetida is considered one of the good natural blood thinner and help to lower blood pressure. It is packed with coumarin, a compound that helps in improving your blood flow and thinning your blood, thus avoiding blood clotting.

Scientists have been able to separate certain phytochemicals in Ferula species (the source of asafoetida) that have supportive cardiovascular effects. Research using animal subjects has shown that Ferula asafoetida gum extract considerably reduces average arterial blood pressure. The gum extract seems to contain relaxant compounds that have an optimistic effect on blood pressure and cardiovascular health.(5)

7. Digestive Issues

As mentioned earlier, asafoetida is normally recommended for those suffering from gas, intestinal worms, IBS, indigestion, and basically any disorder that is affecting your gastrointestinal system. This can include reducing cramping, diarrhea, ulcers, bloating, constipation and excess flatulence, as well as food poisoning and more serious stomach issues, such as colorectal cancer. (6)

8. Toothaches and Earaches

Asafoetida is traditionally used in the treatment of toothaches and earaches. You can make a mouth rinse with asafoetida and water for toothaches as well as an ear drop mixture with coconut oil for earaches. Both of these benefits are due to the anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antibacterial effects of this useful and multipurpose resin.(7)

9. Blood Sugar Control

Research has shown that asafoetida is effective and natural way to keep blood sugar levels in check and sustain normal blood sugar. When asafoetida extract is given to diabetic individual at a dose of 50 milligrams per kilogram for four weeks, researchers observed a blood sugar-lowering effect. The research concluded that this effect is due to the presence of phenolic acids, especially ferulic acid, and tannins in asafoetida extract.(8)

10. Analgesic

Though the exact mechanism of pain relief is bit mysterious, asafoetida has been recommended as a safe analgesic for a wide range of pain levels and symptoms, from chronic pain from injuries or surgeries to the colic pain of children. Asafoetida is known to eliminate many of the primary conditions that cause pain, such as eliminating bloating and flatulence build-up in infants, thus relieving their crying and pain. Regular use of asafoetida is quite beneficial for almost all pain symptoms happen within our body.(9)

11. Reproductive Health

Progesterone is one of the most important elements for female reproductive health, and asafoetida encourages the production of this important hormone. This can help to increase the safety of expectant mothers by avoiding premature births, extreme bleeding, and sterility, while also decreasing the symptoms of menstruations for women in general.(10)

12. Fertility Boost

One of the ancient uses of asafoetida is as a sexual stimulant, and it is well-known to remove symptoms of impotence or infertility in men and women. By encouraging hormonal activity and boosting energy and blood flow, asafoetida is mostly an aphrodisiac that is easily accessible and has no side effects except a better sex life.(11)

13. Nervous Disorders

Frequent use of asafoetida helps to soothe the body and mind, making it an effective treatment for hysteria, mood swings, chronic anxiety, depression, and stress. This is an important health benefit of asafoetida, as all of these disorders can cause disaster on your overall system if not appropriately regulated and controlled.(12)

How to Eat

  • This spice is used as a digestive aid, in food as a condiment, and in pickling.
  • It typically works as a flavor enhancer and, used along with turmeric, is a standard component of Indian cuisine, mainly in lentil curries, like dal and in numerous vegetable dishes.
  • It is widely used in South Indian and Maharashtrian cuisine, which is mainly vegetarian, and is often used to harmonize sweet, sour, salty and spicy components in food.
  • Sometimes dried and ground asafoetida can be mixed with salt and eaten with raw salad.
  • It is used in many vegetarian and lentil dishes to add both flavor and aroma as well as to reduce flatulence.

Other Traditional uses and benefits of Asafoetida

  • Hot water extract of the dried gum is taken orally for hysteria and whooping cough and to treat ulcers.
  • Hot water extract of the dried leaf and stem is taken orally by males as an aphrodisiac.
  • Extract is taken orally as nerve and general tonics.
  • Oleoresin powder, crushed with the fingertips, is used as a condiment.
  • Decoction of the plant is taken orally as a vermifuge.
  • Dried gum is used vaginally as a contraceptive before or after coitus.
  • Hot water extract of the dried root is taken orally as an antispasmodic, a diuretic, a vermifuge, and an analgesic.
  • Paste made from the dried resin is applied to the chest for whooping cough.
  • Fried Ferula is taken with Allium sativum and sugar to cleanse the new mother.
  • Fried Ferula, Piper nigrum, and Cinnamonum camphora is taken orally for headache and toothache.
  • Hot water extract of the dried resin is taken orally for upset stomach.
  • Extract of dried Ferula asafoetida with Brassica Alba and rock salt is diluted with vinegar and taken orally as an abortifacient.
  • Hot water extract of the dried gum is taken orally as a carminative, an antispasmodic, and an expectorant in chronic bronchitis.
  • Mixed with cayenne pepper and sweet flag, it is used as a remedy for cholera.
  • Exudate of the dried gum resin is eaten to prevent guinea worm disease.
  • Gum resin with salt and the bark juice of Moringa pterygosperma is used externally for stomach aches.
  • Dry Lampyris noctiluca without head is mixed with 200– 300 mg of Ferula and taken mornings and evenings for gallstones and kidney stones.
  • Hot water extract of the dried resin is taken orally as an emmenagogue.
  • Gum is chewed by females for amenorrhea.
  • Gum is chewed as an antiepileptic.
  • Water extract of the resin is taken orally as an anthelmintic.
  • Dried gum is used medicinally for whooping cough, asthma, and bronchitis.
  • Fluid extract of the resin is taken orally as an emmenagogue, a stimulating expectorant, an anthelmintic, an aphrodisiac, and a stimulant to the brain and nerves.
  • It is claimed to be a powerful antispasmodic.

Other Facts

  • It is used as one of several possible scent baits, most particularly for catfish and pike.
  • It is used to kill the trees by making a hole to a tree and filling it by asafoetida in coastal belt of south India.
  • May also be used as a moth (Lepidoptera) light trap attractant by collectors—when mixed by approximately 1 part to 3 parts with a sweet, fruit jelly.
  • Asafoetida is traditionally applied to a baby’s anterior fontanel to prevent spirits from entering the baby through the fontanel in Jamaica.
  • Asafoetida is used in magic spells, as it is believed to have the power both to protect and to curse in the African-American Hoodoo tradition.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Asafoetida

  • Taking a combination of a quarter teaspoon of dry ginger powder, a pinch of asafoetida as well as black salt in the cup of warm water helps in reducing flatulence.
  • Having a pinch of asafoetida combined in a cup of buttermilk functions as a great natural home cure for bloating as well as gas problems. If you don’t have buttermilk, just use lukewarm water.
  • Prepare a powder of the mixture composed of one tablespoon each of dried ginger, long pepper, curry leaves, Bishop’s weed (ajwain), black pepper as well as cumin. Fry this mix in the teaspoon of sesame oil together with one teaspoon of asafoetida. Finally, add some rock salt within it. Take one teaspoon of this natural medicine (combined with clarified butter) together with steamed rice to avoid indigestion.
  • Taking 250 mg of hing combined in one teaspoonful each of betel (paan) juice as well as honey is effective in respiratory disorders just like asthma, bronchitis and cough.
  • Dissolve a piece of asafoetida in the cup of water. Soak the solution in the cloth and utilize like a fomentation on stomach to calm stomach ache brought on by indigestion.
  • Smelling asafoetida gum is extremely valuable in coping with Hysteria.
  • Take one teaspoon each of asafoetida, dried ginger, camphor and two teaspoons of tailed pepper (cubeb). Add some milk within it, enough to make a paste. Use this therapeutic paste in your forehead to cure tension as well as migraine headaches.
  • Fry about 6 centigrams of asafoetida in cleared up butter, combine a teaspoon of fresh latex of banyan tree plus some honey in it. Using this home medication every day just before sunrise is considered to avoid issues just like premature ejaculation as well as spermatorrhoea. Benefits of asdafoetida (Hing) include enhanced libido and feminine sterility.
  • Consuming two teaspoons of bitter gourd juice combined with a quarter teaspoon of asafoetida powder is effective in managing Diabetes.
  • Add a quarter teaspoon of asafoetida and half a teaspoon each of onion juice as well as betel leaf juice in two teaspoons of honey. Take this particular asafoetida home cure 3 times in one day to cope with the signs of asthma along with other respiratory problems.
  • Mix half a teaspoon of asafoetida powder in two teaspoons of lime juice. Heat the solution a bit. Lastly, dip a cotton ball within this solution and put it in your aching tooth to ease toothache.
  • Applying this particular herb directly on skin may serve as one of the simplest possible asafoetida natural home remedies for corns and calluses.
  • Hing or Asafoetida benefits in lessening Dysmenorrhoea or even painful menstruation. For this, you have to consume a cup of buttermilk combined with a pinch of asafoetida, half a teaspoon of fenugreek powder and little salt.
  • A thick emulsion of the herb put on the infected area offers immediate rest from snake and insect bites.
  • Combined with limejuice it really is probably the most helpful cures for the treatment of toothache.
  • In the aromatherapy process, the essential oil of Asafoetida is extremely valuable.
  • Improving Voice: Gargling along with Asafoetida or even consuming buttermilk with a teaspoon of Asafoetida within it helps enhance the voice. This really is very theraputic for the singers who would like to have a sweet voice permanently.
  • Rubbing this spice in the impacted areas cures corns.
  • Due to its unpleasant smelly nature, Asafoetida is utilized as the ingredients in a few mosquito as well as insect repellents.
  • Asafoetida works as an antidote for opium to combat the effect of the drug
  • You may also mix together one-half teaspoon each of asafetida powder as well as dry ginger powder and two tablespoons of honey. Have this mix a minimum of three times each day to get rest from a dry cough, whooping cough, bronchitis and asthma.
  • Heat a dash of asafetida in one and one-half cup of water. Let it simmer for around 15 minutes after which drink it a few times each day to ease mild tension headache.
  • Another choice is to take one teaspoon all of asafetida, dried ginger, camphor and two teaspoons of tailed pepper. Include enough milk or rose water to create a paste. Use this particular paste in your forehead to deal with tension as well as migraine headaches.
  • Simply place a very small piece of asafetida around the aching tooth to get quick rest from a toothache.
  • Make a poultice simply by heating one-half teaspoon of asafetida in two teaspoons of lemon juice. Soak a cotton swab within it and use it around the affected tooth.
  • Stomachache/Gas/Burping: Mix a pinch of asafoetida in hot water as well as use throughout the navel. 1/2 gram of asafoetida could be consumed together with any food too.
  • If there is pain because of gas build up within the stomach then, boil 2 grams asafoetida in 500 ml of water until 125 ml remains. Drink this particular while still warm for relief.
  • Pain In Ribs: Mix asafoetida in hot water and apply around the area of pain.
  • Headache Due To Cold: Mix asafoetida in hot water and apply within the forehead.
  • Migraine: Combine asafoetida in water as well as smell this for relief.
  • Indigestion: Mix equivalent amount of asafoetida, rock salt, carom seeds and Inknut or Terminalia chebula fruit (choti harad). Grind them fine. Consume 1 tsp of the combination along with hot water Three times each day.
  • Burping/Hiccups: Place a piece of asafoetida equal in size to the grain of Pearl Millet (bajra) in piece of banana or even jaggery and consume this for relief.
  • Worms In Children: Combine some asafoetida in water and use this solution on the anus using a cotton ball.
  • Toothache: Keep a small piece of asafoetida underneath the aching tooth for rest from pain.
  • Urticaria: Mix asafoetida in clarified butter (ghee) as well as massage using this.
  • Hysteria: Smelling asafoetida reduces hysteria.
  • Pneumonia: Mix a pinch of asafoetida in water and drink.
  • Menses Pain: Mix a pinch of asafoetida in buttermilk. Add 1/2 tsp fenugreek powder as well as salt to taste. Consume this.
  • Poisoning: Mix a pinch of asafoetida mixed in water. It causes vomiting as well as eliminates the poison and its particular effects.
  • Cold: Smell asafoetida. It eliminates gathered mucus.
  • Hoarseness: Mix 1/2 gram asafoetida in hot water and gargle with this particular water.
  • Weak Heart: Asafoetida provides strength to the weak heart, helps prevent blood from clotting and enhances blood circulation.
  • Corns/Callus: Apply asafoetida right on the affected spot.
  • Diabetes: Mix 1/4 tsp asafoetida in 2 tsp bitter gourd juice and consume. It manages blood glucose levels.

How to Select

  • Two main varieties can be found, categorized according to their place of origin, flavour as well as colour: Hing Kabuli Sufaid (milky white asafoetida) as well as Hing Lal (red asafoetida). Select the variety that meets your taste.
  • Check the manufacturing as well as expiration date, packaging etc. just before buy.
  • You can purchase it in block form or perhaps in powdered form.

How to Store

  • Store asafoetida in the air-tight container since it features a stinky smell that may fill your cupboard!
  • Also, since the smell lingers within the container a long time after it is emptied, try and utilize the same container month after month, or get a disposable one.

How to Use Asafoetida

Asafoetida is not a spice to utilize in everything, however that does not mean it’s not an excellent everyday spice. It enhances most commonly-used Indian veggies: potatoes, onions, cauliflower, peas, as well as quick-cooking greens. Whether making a more involved vegetable curry or perhaps a simpler sauté a pinch or two (or maybe your container is much like the one above, only a squeeze from the top) additional at the start will go a long way. It is also a typical component of tarkas, the flavored fats made and poured on dishes before serving. In either case, once your oil or even butter (preferably clarified) gets hot, incorperate your asafoetida and allow it to incorporate for around 15 seconds just before adding other spices and aromatics. Your nose will tell you when it is ready.

Asafoetida is most beneficial utilized as a background note for other complimentary spices, just like cumin, mustard seeds, dried chiles, curry leaves, ginger, as well as garlic. Include any mixture of these things in your tarka to drizzle over beans, stewed vegetables, or even anything at all. Or begin your dish along with asafoetida. As a dish cooks the asafoetida graciously recedes in the background, though although it lets other flavors develop it never disappears. The end result is an intensely fragrant dish along with layers of flavor along with a full mouthfeel. Regularly getting those layers and that texture appear to be a challenge for a lot of home cooks, myself included. With asafoetida that’s only a pinch away.

Culinary Uses

  • It can be used typically in Indian food for flavouring.
  • It is incorporated minute quantities like a powder, or even dissolved in water.
  • Jains along with other communities who avoid the usage of onion and garlic and make use of asafoetida as an alternative.
  • Temper dals, curries, upmas, rasam etc utilizing hing for the added flavour as well as aroma. It smells best along with ghee than with oil.
  • Dissolve powdered asafoetida in buttermilk as well as temper along with curry leaves. It behaves as a digestive aid.

How to know if your Asafoetida is pure or adulterated

Nowadays, it is hard to get unadulterated hing since wheat flour and gum of keekar tree are blended in it. Spurious and adulterated hing sinks and settles if put in a glass of water whereas pure hing, without leaving sediments, gradually yet totally dissolves into water, turning it into a milky liquid. Pure hing also gets burnt whenever put near to a flame.

Side Effects Associated with Asafoetida

Anything in limit is protected for the body system. However, anything utilized in excessive is likely to respond with a negative, unwanted reaction. Asafoetida in normal limits can also be safe for human beings. Consumption of about 15 g of the resin produces no ill-effects. Anything beyond this particular safe limit leads to undesired effects. Side effects generally noticed because of extreme consumption of asafoetida are discussed below.

1. Hemorrhaging in Livestock

Coumarin constituents contained in Ferula communis are toxic naturally and therefore are recognized to decrease prothrombin concentrations therefore, leading to hemorrhaging in livestock.

2. Contact Dermatitis

Ferula galbaniflua as well as Ferula rubricaulis are two other types of asafoetida that have a gum which is rubefacient and it has irritant qualities. Individuals responsive to these species develop contact dermatitis as a side effect.

3. Swollen Lips

Patients cured with asafoetida develop swollen lips as a side effect. Their lips become enlarged as well as puffy right after taking the dose and get normal again after sometime. Some individuals also develop swelling in the face and throat, only when they are very likely to its effects.

4. Abdominal Gas and Diarrhea

Patients on herbal treatment with asafoetida are affected from abdominal problems just like gas and diarrhea. Regular loose stools add to the misery of patients, and abdominal gas leads to burping and belching. These side effects could be reduced by snacking before the resin dosage.

5. Skin Rashes

Several patients develop skin rashes in response to asafoetida use. Rashes result in intense pain since they lead to redness, itching, and tingling sensation. Such individuals need to avoid scratching the sensitized skin as it could worsen the situation.

6. Headache and Dizziness

These side effects are noticed in patients that have the unusual habit of taking huge doses of asafoetida. Headache results in trouble in concentration as well as undertaking regular activities, whilst dizziness causes lack of ability to move properly. In addition to the negative effects mentioned previously, prolonged usage of this gum is recognized to cause nausea, vomiting, as well as throat irritation in individuals. Asafoetida formulation is additionally available in the form of tincture which might result in burning sensation whilst urinating and is particularly recognized to alter menstruation time.

Children: Asafoetida is UNSAFE for babies since it could potentially cause certainblood disorders.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It really is UNSAFE to utilize asafoetida in case you are pregnant. It could result in a miscarriage. Avoid use.It’s also UNSAFE to utilize asafoetida in case you are breast-feeding. The chemicals in asafoetida might pass into breast milk and then result in bleeding disorders within the nursing infant. Avoid use.

Bleeding disorders: There’s concern that asafoetida may possibly boost the risk of bleeding. Don’t use asafoetida for those who have a bleeding disorder.

Epilepsy or history of convulsions: Don’t use asafoetida in case you have epilepsy as well as other central nervous system problem that may result in seizures or even convulsions.

Stomach and intestinal (gastrointestinal, GI) problems: Asafoetida can bother the GI tract. Don’t utilize it of you have a GI infection or any other GI condition.

High blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension): There is some problem that asafoetida might hinder blood pressurecontrol. Avoid use in case you have a blood pressure problem.






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