What is Asafoetida? Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects of Ferula Foetida - A Complete Guide

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. What is Asafoetida? 
3. Habitat
4. Nutritional Value
5. Ayurvedic properties 
6. Health Benefits & Uses 
7. Dosage 
8. Side Effects 
9. Frequently Asked Question

1. Introduction

In the world of spices and herbal remedies, few ingredients boast the distinctive aroma and multifaceted benefits of Asafoetida, scientifically known as Ferula foetida. This enigmatic resin has traversed cultures and centuries, leaving its mark not only in culinary creations but also in the realm of traditional medicine. Join us as we unveil the secrets of this pungent gem, delving into its health-enhancing properties, diverse applications, and the cautionary notes that accompany its usage. From tantalizing taste buds to potentially soothing ailments, Asafoetida has earned its place as a botanical treasure worth exploring.

In the following discussion, we'll journey through the history, health benefits, and culinary and medicinal uses of Asafoetida. We'll also shed light on the potential side effects and considerations that come with its consumption. Whether you're an avid cook, a wellness enthusiast, or simply curious about the natural world's hidden gems, prepare to be captivated by the aromatic allure of Asafoetida. Let's embark on a fragrant exploration that unearths both the wonders and the wisdom surrounding Ferula foetida.

2. What is 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 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. 

It has a strong and intense flavor that has been described as a combination of garlic, onion, and sulfur. Despite its strong odor, asafoetida is an important ingredient in many traditional dishes, lending a unique flavor to curries, lentils, and soups.

3. Habitat

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 spice is derived from the resin of the ferula plant, the resin is dried and processed into a powder, which is then added to dishes to enhance their flavor.

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


4. 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.

5. Ayurvedic properties of Asafoetida

Asafoetida, known as "Hing" in Ayurveda, is a potent and pungent spice with strong medicinal properties. It is widely used in Ayurvedic formulations for its therapeutic benefits.

Ayurvedic properties of Asafoetida:

1. Rasa (Taste): Asafoetida is believed to have a pungent (Katu) taste.

2. Virya (Potency): It is heating in nature (Ushna Virya).

3. Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): The post-digestive taste is pungent (Katu Vipaka).

4. Dosha Effects: Asafoetida is known for its ability to balance Vata dosha and may increase Pitta dosha due to its heating nature.

Ayurvedic Uses:

  1. Digestive Health: Asafoetida is well-known for its digestive properties. It is used to relieve gas, bloating, indigestion, and flatulence. It helps stimulate digestive enzymes and promotes healthy digestion.

  2. Respiratory Health: It is used in Ayurveda to manage respiratory issues such as cough, bronchitis, and asthma due to its expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties.

  3. Antispasmodic: Asafoetida is used to relieve muscle spasms, particularly in the digestive tract, making it beneficial for managing colicky pains and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

  4. Anti-inflammatory: It possesses anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to manage inflammatory conditions.

  5. Nervous System: Asafoetida is used to calm the nervous system and has mild sedative effects, helping to manage stress, anxiety, and insomnia.

  6. Anti-flatulent: Due to its carminative properties, it prevents the formation of gas and aids in its expulsion from the digestive system

6. 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.  

In addition to its culinary uses, asafoetida also has a long history of use in traditional medicine. It is believed to have a number of health benefits, including digestive, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic effects. The spice is also said to have antimicrobial properties, making it a popular ingredient in traditional remedies for colds and flu.

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. Asafoetida is also believed to have medicinal benefits for the respiratory system. It is said to help relieve symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, and coughs. Additionally, the spice is believed to help improve heart health and boost the immune system.

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 pestle 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.

7. Dosage

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 20 grams 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 the US. The whole plant is used as a fresh vegetable.

Visit Yipisale to buy - Ayurvedic Pure Herbs

Visit Yipisale to buy - Spices & Seasonings

8. Side Effects of the Asafoetida

Despite its many health benefits, asafoetida also has some side effects that should be taken into consideration. The spice can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, particularly those with sensitive skin or respiratory conditions. It is also not recommended for pregnant women, as it is believed to harm the fetus. Here are some listed.

  • 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 discussyour 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.


In conclusion, asafoetida is a powerful spice with a range of health benefits and uses. Whether used as a flavoring in cooking or as a natural remedy, this spice is a valuable ingredient in traditional medicine. However, it is important to be aware of its potential side effects and to consult a healthcare professional before using it as a treatment for any health condition.

9. 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.


Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published