Benefits of Asafoetida (Hing): The Digestive Spice
General Information About Asafoetida (Hing)
Latin Name: Ferula assafoetida.
In India, it is called Hing or Heeng.
Asafoetida, native to Afghanistan and Iran, is also referred to as the food of the Gods, giant fennel, stinking gum, devil's gum, asant, and yang. It is a spice made from the dried latex from the roots of various plants of the Ferula genus. The perennial plants need to be at least four-years-old before they are ready to produce latex.
Raw asafoetida has a strong, unpleasant odor and is bitter in taste. However, when used as a spice, it adds a smooth flavor to cooked foods. It is used in almost all Indian cooking and is also used in pickling. You can prevent pickles from going bad by exposing the inside of the jar or container to asafoetida smoke before filling it with your pickled foods. It is available as a solid, waxy, ball, a powder, and more recently, in tinctures as a liquid extract.
Nutrition Facts of Asafoetida
per 100 grams
How to Check the Purity of Asafoetida
Sometimes, asafoetida is adulterated by mixing it with wheat flour and gum arabic.
To determine whether the asafoetida you purchased is pure, place some of the powder in a glass of water. If it sinks to the bottom, it is not pure. Pure asafoetida should slowly and completely dissolve, making the water cloudy but leaving no sediment.
Health Benefits Of Asafoetida
These are some of the reported benefits of asafoetida according to the Ayurvedic medicinal tradition:
- Fights infections, such as yeast and respiratory infections
- Nervine stimulant
- Anti-epileptic and antispasmodic
- Antihelmintic (fights parasitic worms)
- Relieves digestive problems, like flatulence, constipation, stomachaches
- An antidote for opium overdose
- Relieves menstrual problems, such as painful cramps and irregular menses
- Acts as a contraceptive/abortifacient
- In Ayurveda, it is used to balance Vata (air) and Kapha (earth)—two elements that constitute a person's biological energy.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician or healthcare provider before taking any home remedies, supplements, or starting a new health regime.
Ayurvedic Remedies Using Asafoetida
- Mix a pinch of asafoetida in hot water and apply around the navel.
- A 1/2 g of asafoetida can also be consumed along with any food.
- If there is pain due to gas accumulation in the stomach, boil 2 g of asafoetida in 500 mL of water until 125 mL remain.
- Drink this while still warm for relief.
Pain in Ribs
- Mix asafoetida in hot water and apply to the area of pain.
Headache Due to a Cold
- Mix asafoetida in hot water and apply on the forehead.
- Mix asafoetida in water and smell this for relief.
- Mix equal quantities of asafoetida, rock salt, carom seeds, and Ink Nut or Terminalia chebula fruit (Choti harad).
- Grind the mixture to a fine powder.
- Consume one tsp of this mixture with hot water three times a day.
- Put a piece of asafoetida equal in size to a grain of pearl millet (bajra) in a slice of banana or jaggery and consume this for relief.
Worms in Children
- Mix some asafoetida in water and apply this solution on the anus with a cotton ball.
To Counter the Effects Of Opium Use
- Mix 4 grams of asafoetida in water and drink.
- Keep a small piece of asafoetida on the gum under the aching tooth for pain relief.
- Mix asafoetida in clarified butter (ghee) and massage onto affected areas.
- Smelling asafoetida may relieve hysteria.
- Mix a pinch of asafoetida in water and drink.
- Mix a pinch of asafoetida in buttermilk. Add a 1/2 tsp of fenugreek powder, salt to taste, and consume.
- Mix a pinch of asafoetida in water. This induces vomiting to remove ingested poison.
- Simply smelling asafoetida can help remove accumulated mucus.
- Mix a 1/2 gram of asafoetida in hot water and gargle.
- Asafoetida gives strength to a weak heart, prevents blood from clotting, and improves blood circulation.
- Apply asafoetida directly on the affected spot.
- Mix 1/4 tsp of asafoetida in 2 tsp of bitter gourd juice and consume. It helps regulates blood sugar levels.
Precautions With Asafoetida
- Those suffering from severe acidity, piles, liver problems, and high blood pressure or other blood disorders should not consume asafoetida.
- Do not consume when taking blood pressure medicines.
- Asafoetida thins the blood and prevents clotting.
- In excess, it can cause rashes, swelling of the lips, a burning sensation in stomach, nausea, and vomiting.
- Pregnant women should avoid taking asafoetida because it can induce a miscarriage.
- Hotheaded persons should also not consume it.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly