Some records mention that Alexander the Great carried this spice – “stink finger” to the West in early 4 BC. It had been used as a spice in ancient Rome. In India, it has been used as medicine and cookery for ages. Singers during the Moghul era in Indiawere quite popular and were believed to consume a spoonful of asafoetida with butter to enhance their voice…
It gets its names mainly due to its stinking odour. Aza in Persian means resin, while foetidus means stinking in Latin. It is also known as asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, jowani badian, stinking gum, Devil’s dung, hing and ting
It is believed that Asafoetida is native to ancient India or current Afghanistan. This spice is mainly cultivated widely in India, and also grown in Iraq and Turkey. Some records mention that Alexander the Great carried this spice – “stink finger” to the West in early 4 BC. It had been used as a spice in ancient Rome. In India, it has been used as medicine and cookery for ages. Singers during the Moghul era in India were quite popular and were believed to consume a spoonful of asafoetida with butter to enhance their voice.
Asafoetida is a plant. It has a bad smell and tastes bitter. That probably explains why it is sometimes called “devil’s dung.” People use asafoetida resin, a gum-like material, as medicine. Asafoetida resin is produced by solidifying juice that comes out of cuts made in the plant’s living roots. Asafoetida is used for breathing problems including ongoing (chronic) bronchitis, H1N1 “swine” flu, andasthma. It is also used for digestion problems including intestinal gas, upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and irritablecolon. Other uses include treatment of “whooping cough” (pertussis), croup, and hoarse throat.
Some people use asafoetida for hysteria, insanity, convulsions, and as a nerve stimulant for ongoing mental and physical fatigue withdepression (neurasthenia).
Women sometimes use asafoetida to restart their menstrual periods after menstruation has stopped for some reason. Asafoetida is sometimes applied directly to the skin for corns and calluses. In manufacturing, asafoetida is used as a fragrance in cosmetics and as a flavoring ingredient in foods and beverages. Asafoetida is also used in products meant to repel dogs, cats, and wildlife.
There is some scientific evidence that the chemicals in asafoetida might help treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and also might protect against high blood levels of certain fats including cholesterol and triglycerides. Chemicals called coumarins in asafoetida can thin the blood.
Side Effects and Safety
Asafoetida is safe for most people in the amounts typically found in foods. There is some evidence that it might be safe when used as medicine. In some people, asafoetida can cause swelling of the lips, burping, intestinal gas, diarrhea, headache, convulsions, blood disorders, and other side effects.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Children: Asafoetida is UNSAFE for infants because it might cause certain blood disorders.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE to use asafoetida if you are pregnant. It might cause a miscarriage. Avoid use. It is also UNSAFE to use asafoetida if you are breast-feeding. The chemicals in asafoetida could pass into breast milk and then cause bleeding disorders in the nursing infant. Avoid use.
Bleeding disorders: There is concern that asafoetida might increase the risk of bleeding. Don’t use asafoetida if you have a bleeding disorder. Epilepsy or history of convulsions: Don’t use asafoetida if you have epilepsy or some other central nervous system condition that might lead to seizures or convulsions.
Stomach and intestinal (gastrointestinal, GI) problems: Asafoetida can irritate the GI tract. Don’t use it of you have a GI infection or other GI condition. High blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension): There is some concern that asafoetida might interfere withblood pressure control. Avoid use if you have a blood pressure problem.
Asafoetida and Blood Pressure
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interact with Asafoetida. Asafoetida seems to decrease blood pressure. Taking asafoetida along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low. Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others. Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interact with Asafoetida.
Asafoetida might slow blood clotting. Taking asafoetida along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
Ferula assafoetida, popularly known as asafoetida, is a dried gum obtained from the tap root of various species of Ferula. It is a perennial herb and is also known as devil’s dung, giant fennel, stinking gum, or hing. True to these names, asafoetida has a strong pungent smell, but adds a subtle flavor to dishes when cooked with other spices. It is native to Afghanistan, and grows in Turkey, Iraq and India. The plant grows to six to seven feet tall and is not harvested until four years old.
Asafoetida health benefits are many; it is an antiepileptic, antimicrobial, laxative, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, antispasmodic, and anti-flatulent agent.
Asafoetida helps reduce flatulence, digestive disorders, prevents constipation and is an excellent laxative. A pinch of asafoetida can be taken with butter milk to reduce flatulence and cleanse the digestive system.
Granules of asafoetida can be dissolved in water and taken for relieving migraines and headaches. Asafoetida is also a natural remedy for colic in babies by placing a small amount of warm asafoetida on the baby’s stomach.
Asafoetida also acts as an anti-coagulant and helps lower blood pressure. Asafoetida is favorable for women’s health as it helps counter leucorrhoea, dysmenorrhea, excessive and painful menstruation, and has positive benefits in treating candida infection.
Asafoetida’s medicinal uses are many, which include the treatment of influenza. Asafoetida is beneficial in fighting the swine flu and H1N1 virus. It is also used in treating asthma and bronchitis and is effective is treating colds and the flu in children. In addition, it can also be used for reducing chronic bronchitis and whooping cough due to its anti-microbial action. It is also considered to have contraceptive properties and is used for contraception in traditional medicine.
Asafoetida is good protection against triglycerides and cholesterol formed due to excessive fat consumption. However, care needs to be taken when it is used along with blood pressure medication. Asafoetida helps in countering the effects of long-term alcohol intake, which can cause severe liver damage and even death. To fight the condition, phytochemicals present in dietary supplement like asafoetida are beneficial in avoiding ethanol induced hepatotoxicity. This is enabled due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects. The active compounds from its resin, gum, volatile oil and ash contains fiber, protein, carbohydrates, and minerals such as calcium and phosphorous enrich the human body.
Asafoetida health benefits can be obtained everyday when used in cooking. It can be mixed with virtually anything like vegetables, pulses, rice, meat, or fish. The pungent smell becomes lighter when added to hot oil. The advantages of asafoetida powder that be obtained by adding a dash of it to lentils, to vegetables when boiling them, and to meat along with other spices to marinade them. It best to cook asafoetida covered so that the dishes may acquire its delicate flavor. Bitter gourd cooked with asafoetida is effective in lowering blood sugar levels.
– Diet Health Club