Benefits of Asafoetida (Hing): The Digestive Spice

Updated on March 7, 2018
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Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years breeding layer and broiler parents.


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.

The Ferula assafoetida plant in Uzbekistan.
The Ferula assafoetida plant in Uzbekistan. | Source

Nutrition Facts of Asafoetida

per 100 grams
297 kcal
16 g
4. g
1.1 gm
7 g
4.1 g
67.8 g
690 mg
50 mg
39.4 mg
4 ug
40 ug
300 ug
80 mg
430 ug
1,120 ug
830 ug
79 ug
Macronutrients and micronutrients contained in 100 grams of asafoetida from the National Institute of Nutrition, ICMR, Hyderabad, India.

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:

  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Fights infections, such as yeast and respiratory infections
  • Expectorant
  • Nervine stimulant
  • Anti-epileptic and antispasmodic
  • Antihelmintic (fights parasitic worms)
  • Relieves digestive problems, like flatulence, constipation, stomachaches
  • An antidote for opium overdose
  • Anti-cancer
  • 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.

Urticaria (Hives)

  • 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.

Menses Pain

  • 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.

Weak Heart

  • 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.

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • profile image

      NANDLAL Joshi 2 years ago

      Dear Rajanji,

      The point that u made thats its(Hing) not good for hot tmpered made me reluctant wheter to use it or not as i do have blood circulation & digestion problems.Please Guide if its that harmful or ways to cure its side effects as i know the value of indian herbs.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      We are what we eat, in a big way! Thanks for reading GTF.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

      Another interesting hub rajan. I am continually amazed at how spices affect different aspects of our bodies. It really shows us that we are what we eat and we should be careful.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Chris.

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      wow. I had no idea it was that useful !!! thanks-- I learned some stuff !!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Marlene, you can certainly get it in any Indian grocery store in the U.S. It is a very common and much used ingredient in India.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from USA

      Oh never mind, Rajan. I re-watched the video and discovered that the guy in the video found it at a grocery store.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from USA

      Asafoetida appears to be as strong as any medication prescribed by doctors. I'm curious as to what kind of store it could be found here in the U.S. The guy in the first video said he saw it, but I wasn't sure what kind of store to look. Thanks.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Girish you know we use it daily. Thanks for appreciating this hub.

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 5 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Rajan, Hing is a must ingredient ingredient in my kitchen, for all preparations, and you truly said, this is the most useful spice. Voted up.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Vicki - thanks for reading the hub so minutely. In fact, it is an integral part of Indian cooking. Thanks for stopping by.

      Anuram - you are very right. Thanks for reading.

      Rasma - Indian food has it most of the time. Thanks for visiting and sharing.

      mperrottet - Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 5 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      I never heard of Hing before - it has so many different benefits. Voted up and interesting.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thank you for this very interesting and informative hub. Had never heard of this before. Might have had it in Indian food and never known it. Will remember it now. Great videos. Passing this on.

    • anuramkumar profile image

      anuramkumar 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      A very common indian household spice with so much of health benefits...I think our ancestors knew what is good and what is bad for health. Very informative.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 5 years ago

      Well done, Rajan, I grew up in South Africa, and the best curry powder has asafoetida in it. I have a tiny bit left, and am reluctant to use it! I could not find it here in this part of Canada, and no one has heard of it!

      It was lovely to read your Hub, and I thought "this person knows what he is talking about!"

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Devika-We use hing in our foods everyday. It does give an awesome flavor to the food and of course the benefits are well known. Thannks for stopping by.

      Carol-Asafoetida is not well known in the West, hence this hub to bring it to the knowledge of those who haven't heard of it. Thanks and appreciate the read and sharing.

      Bill-I'm glad you came over to read this. Thanks a lot, my friend.

      Peggy-I'm sure the Indian restaurants do use it in their dishes. Maybe you could ask them the next time you visit one. Thanks for coming by to read and share.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      This is something of which I am totally unfamiliar. Thanks for introducing me and other readers of this hub to Asafoetida or Hing. I may have eaten it in Indian restaurants and not realized it. Up, useful, interesting votes and will share.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Your hubs always educate me. I have never heard of this, but you have managed to teach me all about it AND think about trying it. Well done, Rajan!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I have never heard of this..but always interested in new ways to stay healthy. Thanks for sharing this and I am going to do more research because it is so interesting. Thanks..Voting UP, Sharing.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Wow! Such interesting information here, I am impressed by the benefits of the miracle Asafoetida, you have explained to the point and made a clear view too. Thanks for this Hub. Voted Up!