Top Health Benefits and Nutritional Value of Ferula Asafoetida (Hing)

What is the meaning of Asafoetida?

Asafoetida is the dried gum that comes from species of ferula. Asafoetida consists of resins (40-60%), gum (25%), volatile oil (10-17 %) and ash (1-10%). Asafoetida is known as devil’s dung because of its bitter taste and pungent smell. The important substance in the Indian kitchen, having the strongest smell and a pinch of which is more than enough to bring flavor to all the food items is asafetida or Hing. Asafetida is also known as the food of the Gods. Asafoetida meaning in different languages are given as follow:

  • Asafoetida  scientific name: Ferula asafoetida
  • Asafoetida meaning in English: Devil’s dung
  • Asafoetida meaning in Persian: Angustha-Gandha
  • Asafoetida meaning in French: Ferula Asafoetida
  • Asafoetida meaning in German: Stinkendes stechenkraut
  • Asafoetida meaning in Arabic: Tyib
  • Asafoetida meaning in Sinhalese: Perumkayam
  • Asafoetida meaning in Tamil: Perungayam
  • Asafoetida meaning in Hindi: Hing
  • Asafoetida meaning in Bengali: Hing
  • Asafoetida meaning in Gujarati: Hing
  • Asafoetida meaning in Kannada: Ingu
  • Asafoetida meaning in Malayalam: Kayam
  • Asafoetida meaning in Kashmiri: Yang
  • Asafoetida meaning in Marathi: Hing
  • Asafoetida meaning in Oriya: Hengu
  • Asafoetida meaning in Punjabi: Hing
  • Asafoetida meaning in Telgu: Inguva, Ingumo
  • Asafoetida meaning in Sanskrit: Badhika
  • Asafoetida meaning in Urdu: Hing

How to recognize pure asafoetida?

One can recognize pure asafetida through this simple test: when crystals of asafetida are dropped in a glass full of water, it gets dissolved gradually turning the water into a milky white solution. When it is burned, it leaves no residue. Asafoetida, which is used in medicine, is whitish, strong in smell and very pungent in smell.

Asafoetida varieties

Asafoetida is mainly of two types i.e. white (milky white asafoetida) and blackish (black asafoetida). White asafoetida is consisted of strong smell and has a crystalline form. It is also known as diamond like asafetida, and is more of medicinal value. The blackish is one, which is used in cooking and has peculiar 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.

Medicinal uses and benefits of asafoetida

  • Asafoetida good for digestion: Asafoetida is helpful in digestion and abdominal injury. Fried asafoetida is good in treating disorders of stomach. It is also used as local application in the disorders of stomach and lungs. The wonderful generic preparation for all the digestive uses known as Hingvashtak Churna (ingredients: ginger, black pepper, long pepper, seeds of ajowan, cumin seeds, seeds of black cumin, rock salt, and asfoetida) should be taken in the dose of 2 tsp along with butter milk or warm water. This cure gas distension, acts as digestive and appetizer.
  • Asafoetida treats asthma: Asafoetida is helpful in curing of asthma, bronchitis, common cold and other respiratory problems.
  • Asafoetida balances Vata and Kapha: Asafoetida is an extremely beneficial medicine in balancing of Vata and Kapha doshas. Asafetida relives Vata and Kapha thus helpful in overcoming the problems of flatulence, digestion and baby colic problems. Asafoetida intensifies the Pitta dosha thus enhances appetite and digestion.

Top benefits of asafoetida

  1. Asafetida is good in checking the growth of microorganism in the stomach thereby helpful in prevention of gastritis, constipation and flatulence.
  2. If somebody is suffering from the problems of toothache, dental caries, applying the powder of asafoetida and clove gives great relief in reducing pain immediately.
  3. The application from the powder of asafoetida gives relief from the pain of insect bite. It is also helpful in reducing the toxic effects as well as pain and inflammation.
  4. Its application is good against ringworm infection.
  5. Nasal insufflations of asafetida powder are very effective in acute fits.
  6. For disorders like halitosis and excessive salvation, it is suggested to take asafetida powder along with ginger.
  7. It is especially good for stomach problems such as stomach gas, intestinal gas, gastritis, flatulence, irritable bowel syndrome, and colon problems.
  8. It is also beneficial against convulsion and hysteria.
  9. Asafoetida is effective against breathing problems like bronchitis, H1N1 swine flu, asthma, whooping cough, cold, etc.

Best uses of asafoetida

  1. Asafoetida is the important species that is generally found in the kitchen. It is one of the ingredients of our kitchen cuisine.
  2. In South Indian foods, it helps to balance the sweet, sour, salty and spicy component of the food materials.
  3. Asafoetida is used as digestive aid and digestion promoter in foods.
  4. When it is heated with oil or ghee, gives a unique aroma that enhances the taste and flavor of the food.
  5. Asafoetida is used to resume the stopped menstrual periods.
  6. The ayurvedic herb is used as fragrance in cosmetics and ingredient flavor.
  7. Due to its strong flavor, asafoetida is used in curries, sauces and pickles.

Asafoetida recipes

Because of asafoetida’s strong flavor, it is commonly used in Indian cuisine. In making of different types of recipes, using its minute quantities is enough to give the required flavor. Asafoetida is generally used in making of different recipes like baked kand, Chola Methi Dhokla, Gujarati Kadhi, Moong Dal Toast, Kand Khurchand, Khoya Mutter, Rava Dosa, with dals, curries, upmas, rasams for flavor and aroma. It is one of the best substitutes for onion and garlic among Jains who sun these.

Asafoetida side effects & warnings

  1. Asafoetida may interfere with blood pressure. So it shouldn’t be use who has either high blood pressure or low blood pressure.
  2. Pregnant mother should avoid the use of asafoetida as it may cause miscarriage.
  3. Persons of predominant Pitta type temperament, alcoholics, and person suffering from hyperacidity and gastric ulcers, children and person of delicate constitution should avoid the use of asafetida.
  4. It is used as medicine but in some cases it may cause swelling of lips, blood disorders and burping.
  5. Children shouldn’t be given asafoetida fearing of developing certain blood disorders.
  6. Breast feeding mother shouldn’t use asafoetida as the chemicals present in it may pass to the infants that led to blood disorders in the infant.
  7. Person experiencing nerves related disorders should avoid the using of asafoetida as it may cause seizures.
  8. It should be avoided by those who having gastrointestinal problems.

Where asafoetida is grown

Asafoetida, the perennial herb, which is 1 to 1.5 meter tall, is mainly cultivated in Iran. The herb is distributed from the Mediterranean region to Central Asia. It is also abundantly found in the many parts of Afghanistan. In India, it is mainly grown in Jammu & Kashmir and some parts of Punjab regions. In India and other parts of the world, it is generally supplied from Afghanistan and Iran. Asafoetida, which is grown in Jammu & Kashmir of India is highly in demand in the international market.

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