What is Asafoetida? What are the Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects of Ferula Foetida?

Introduction of Asafoetida

Asafoetida botanical name is Ferula Foetida, other common names are ferula northex, hing, ramatha, and hilteet. It is a root spice that has been used in cooking since ancient times. It's still used today, but with caution as some people may be allergic to this herb and its side effects can be severe. Asafoetida is also known as Ferula Foetida by the common name of hing (or heeng). This herb comes from the mint family and has a strong aroma reminiscent of hot peppers or garlic when it's crushed between your fingers. The root itself looks similar to an onion bulb but with greenish-white fleshy parts covered in waxy hairs on its surface like those found on an artichoke leaf.

Asafoetida is a common culinary herb that has been used in India, Pakistan, and other countries for over 4000 years. The plant belongs to the genus ferula, which includes serval other plants that have similar other properties and uses. It is a resinous gum of a tall perennial herb with robust carrot-shaped roots. It is dirty-yellow in color with a pungent smell and is used as a flavoring agent in culinary. It is also forms of a constituent of many spice mixtures. 


Asafoetida has several varieties which are distributed from the Mediterranean region to Central Asia. It is grown in Iran and Afghanistan but nowadays it is also cultivated in India.

The other species, ferula northex is grown abundantly in Kashmir, Western Tibet, and Afghanistan.


Nutritional Value

As per a study, 100 grams of Asafoetida contains 68.8 percent carbohydrates, 16.0 percent moisture, 4.0 percent protein, 1.1 percent fat, 7.0 percent minerals, and 4.1 percent fiber.

Its minerals and vitamin contents include substantial calcium besides phosphorus, iron, carotene, riboflavin, and niacin. Its calorific value is 297.

It is a good source of calcium, iron, and vitamin, it contains the minerals like potassium, magnesium, and manganese. 

It also contains resin, gum, volatile oil, and ash, the resin consists chiefly of asaresinotannol, free or combined with ferulic acid. Umbelliferone seems to be present in the combined state.

Health Benefits & Uses of Asafoetida

Since the earliest Asafoetida has been regarded as a very valuable remedy in Indian indigenous medicine. It is reputed to expel wind from the stomach and counteract any spasmodic disorder. It is also taken as a nerve stimulant, digestive agent, and sedative.

Asafoetida is a medicinal herb that is used to treat colds and stomach upset, it is also been used as a laxative, but you should avoid it if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

It is used in Ayurveda and traditional medical systems for thousands of years because it contains thiosulfinates- substances, that act as an anti-inflammatory and has antibacterial properties.  

Asafoetida is a good source of Vitamin C and iron and can be used to treat oedema and diabetes. It has been used to treat coughs, colds, and stomach upset in Ayurvedic medicine since ancient times. 

It is also used to treat indigestion, flatulence, colic, stomach upset, leucorrhoea, menstrual disorder, infertility in women, asthma and bronchitis. 

Here are some health benefits

Children’s Disorders

Benefits – Asafoetida is also used extensively in treating nervous disorders and stomach pain. It helps to cure many diseases, especially germs that are sensitive to their odor.

Uses – As per an old European belief that a small piece of this gum hung around a child’s neck, protected him from various diseases.


Benefits – It is believed that Asafoetida is an effective remedy to treat impotency, it is also considered a specific medicine for premature ejaculation.

Uses – About 6 cm of Asafoetida fried in ghee and mixed with honey, take a tsp of fresh latex of banyan tree. Mix them and take this mixture once daily for 40 days before sunrise.

Respiratory Disorders

Benefits  - Asafoetida is useful in the treatment of respiratory disorders like whooping, cough, asthma, and bronchitis.

Uses – Take 3-6 cm of this gum mixed with 2 tsp of honey, a quarter tsp of white onion juice, and 1 tsp of betel leaf juice, taken thrice daily.

Stomach Disorders

Benefits – This is one of the best remedies for flatulence and is an essential ingredient in most digestive powders.

Uses – In case of flatulence and distension of the stomach, a pad of cloth steeped in Asafoetida dissolved hot water is used to foment the abdomen.


Benefits – Asafoetida is useful in alleviating toothache; it helps to give relief from pain quickly.

Uses – Take Asafoetida and pestled in lemon juice, heated slightly and a cotton piece, soaked in the solution, is placed in the cavity of the tooth.

Women’s Aliments

Benefits – This herb is very useful in the treatment of women’s health ailments like sterility, unwanted abortion, pre-mature labor, painful, difficult, and excessive menstruation, and leucorrhea.

Uses – Take 12 cm of Asafoetida and fried in ghee, mixed with 120 grams of goat’s fresh milk and tsp of honey. Take this thrice a day for 30 days.  This excites the secretion of the progesterone hormone.

Owing to its antiflatulent and digestive properties, the herb is beneficial during the post-delivery period. In Southern India, the powder of the Asafoetida mixed with rice is given to women after delivery.

Doses of the Asafoetida

Asafoetida fried in ghee is administrated either as a solution, emulsion, or pills. The dose is 30 to 90 cm. The solution is made by thoroughly mixing 20grams of the gum with half a liter of hot water. The dosage for an adult is one to two tbsp and one-fourth to half for children.

The Asafoetida is relished as a condiment in India and Iran, it is used to flavor curries, lentils (dal), meatballs, and pickles. It is used in perfumes in Europe and US. The whole plant is used as a fresh vegetable.

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Side Effects

 Here are some side effects of Bamboo

  • Consult the doctor if you are breastfeeding.
  • Do not take Asafoetida without a doctor’s prescription if you are pregnant.
  • Do not take Asafoetida if you are suffering from any kind of critical disease.
  • If you are on diabetes or hypertension medication. Consult first the doctor before consuming Asafoetida
  • If you are above 65 years old and want to start Asafoetida, consult the doctor, and talk about your health conditions.
  • If you are on any supplements, vitamins, or herbal medication, consult the doctor before taking Asafoetida.
  • Stop taking Asafoetida at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
  • Asafoetida may interact with other medicines like blood sugar or blood pressure allopathy medicines.

Frequently Asked Question

Q - What is asafoetida called in India?

Asafoetida is commonly known as Hing or heeng in India, its other names are devil dunk, stinking gum, food of the God, and hengu. It is used for culinary to prepare various dishes and as a medicine in Ayurveda for various health ailments.

Q - What does asafoetida do to your body?

It helps to treat flatulence, digestive disorder, toothache, women’s ailments, respiratory disorders, and impotency. It also helps to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Q - Can we eat asafoetida daily?

Yes, it can be added to a daily meal but in the suggested dose, an overdose may cause some serious health problems like skin rashes, diarrhea, headache, and anxiety.

Q - How much asafoetida should I use?

If it is used in the treatment of a disease, then taken under the prescribed dose for the specific ailments. If it is used in cooking, then a ¼ tsp powder is enough for 5 people meal.


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