Asafoetida or Hing, though characterized by an unpleasant odor, has numerous health benefits. For instance, it is a particularly valuable home remedy for relieving flatulence and stomach problems.
The herb is also used in certain foods as a spice to enhance flavor. In addition, it holds importance in Jainism and Vaishnavism because Asafoetida adds a smooth flavor to vegetarian dishes that are prepared without using onion and garlic.
It tends to lose its pungent odor when lightly fried in hot oil. Asafoetida (Hing) is native to Persia and India. It is the dried latex exuded from the living rootstock of this plant. This culinary spice belongs to the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family.
Scientific Name: Ferula assafoetida
Common Names: Asafetida, Devil’s Dung, Food of the Gods, Stinking Gum, Giant Fennel, Yang, Kama-i-anguza, Hingu, Heeng
The herb originated in eastern Iran and western Afghanistan. It is chiefly cultivated in Afghanistan, Iran, and high-altitude areas of India and Pakistan. It is available in powder and tincture form or as lumps of wax-like texture.
Asafoetida or Hing is known to possess anti flatulent, antiepileptic, antimicrobial, anti inflammatory, antispasmodic, anthelminthic, laxative, nervine stimulant and expectorant properties. It is also known to ease anxiety due to its sedative qualities.
It works as a local stimulant of mucous membranes, particularly in the alimentary tract; hence, asafoetida benefits in the natural treatment of colic. Besides, its anticoagulant quality helps lower blood pressure.
Asafoetida works as an antidote for opium to counteract the effect of the drug. Apart from this, it is considered favorable in getting rid of women’s health issues like leucorrhoea, painful and excessive menstruation, etc. This culinary herb helps fight candida infection, too.
In addition, coumarins and sulfur compounds present in this herb aid in blood thinning and prevent blood clotting.
Certain scientific studies have shown that the healing properties of this spice tend to protect against high triglycerides and cholesterol caused by high fat consumption. However, it is better to avoid intake of asafoetida when taking blood pressure control medications.
The herb constitutes active compounds such as gum, resin, volatile oil and ash. It is enriched with carbohydrates, protein, fiber and minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, etc. Asafoetida (Hing) is dirty yellow in color and has a bitter taste.
Uses of Asafoetida or Hing
- • Taking a mixture of a quarter teaspoon of dry ginger powder, a pinch of asafoetida and black salt in a cup of warm water helps reduce flatulence.
- • Having a pinch of asafoetida mixed in a cup of buttermilk serves as a great natural home remedy for bloating and gas problems. If you do not have buttermilk, simply use lukewarm water.
- • Prepare a powder of a mixture consisting of one tablespoon each of dried ginger, long pepper, curry leaves, Bishop’s weed (ajwain), black pepper and cumin. Fry this mixture in a teaspoon of sesame oil along with one teaspoon of asafoetida. Finally, add some rock salt in it. Take one teaspoon of this natural medicine (mixed with clarified butter) along with steamed rice to cure indigestion.
- • Dissolve a piece of asafoetida in a cup of water. Soak the solution in a cloth and use as a fomentation on stomach to soothe stomach ache caused by indigestion.
- • Smelling asafoetida gum is highly beneficial in dealing with Hysteria.
- • Take one teaspoon each of asafoetida, dried ginger, camphor and two teaspoons of tailed pepper (cubeb). Add some milk in it, enough to form a paste. Apply this therapeutic paste on your forehead to heal tension and migraine headaches.
- • Fry about 6 centigrams of asafoetida in clarified butter, mix a teaspoon of fresh latex of banyan tree and some honey in it. Taking this home medicine daily before sunrise is believed to cure issues like premature ejaculation and spermatorrhoea. Benefits of asdafoetida (Hing) also include improved libido and female sterility.
- • Consuming two teaspoons of bitter gourd juice mixed with a quarter teaspoon of asafoetida powder is useful in controlling Diabetes.
- • Add a quarter teaspoon of asafoetida and half a teaspoon each of onion juice and betel leaf juice in two teaspoons of honey. Take this asafoetida home remedy three times in a day to deal with symptoms of asthma and other respiratory disorders.
- • Mix half a teaspoon of asafoetida powder in two teaspoons of lime juice. Heat the solution slightly. Finally, dip a cotton ball in this solution and place it on your aching tooth to relieve toothache.
- • Applying this herb directly on skin serves as one of the easiest possible asafoetida home remedies for corns and calluses.
- • Hing or Asafoetida benefits in reducing Dysmenorrhoea or painful menstruation. For this, you need to consume a cup of buttermilk mixed with a pinch of asafoetida, half a teaspoon of fenugreek powder and little salt.
Apart from these medicinal uses, asafetida is used in pickles to aid in digestion. The entire plant can also be used as a vegetable. Moreover, it is a crucial ingredient in Worcestershire sauce.
Besides, asafoetida essential oil is useful beneficial in aromatherapy. Having a teaspoon of this herb mixed with butter is believed to enhance a singer’s voice.
It may also have adverse effects on individuals suffering from some central nervous system condition. In addition, asafoetida can irritate the digestive tract when taken during gastrointestinal infection.
Besides, it can prove harmful to infants because it may cause blood disorders. Asafoetida is also believed to induce miscarriage due to its abortifascient qualities. Nevertheless, it is believed that Hing or Asafoetida benefits women during the post-delivery phase.