Common Names

Asafoetida root, devil's dung, food of the gods, hing, narthex

Botanical Name

Ferula asafoetida

Family

Apiaceae

Medicinal Uses

Ayurvedic, Cholesterol, Digestion.

Properties

Abortifacient, Antispasmodic, Nervine, Vermifuge

Parts Used

Resin from roots

Constituents

Asafoetida contains about 40–64% resin, 25% endogeneous gum, 10–17% volatile oil, and 1.5–10% ash. The resin portion is known to contain asaresinotannols 'A' and 'B', ferulic acid, umbelliferone and some unknown four compounds.

Habitat

Asafoetida is inhabitant to central Asia, eastern Iran and Afghanistan.

Side Effects

The uncooked herb can cause nausea and vomiting. Using asafoetida over long periods may cause throat irritation, gas, diarrhea, and burning urination. It may affect the menstrual cycle, and it is known to induce miscarriage. Should be avoided during pregnancy.

How to Prepare

Traditionally used as powder or tincture. The pale yellow or orange-yellow essential oil, occasionally used in aromatherapy in place of garlic, is not a substitute. Used in the Ayurvedic formula Unmadnashak Ghrita, cardamom, along with brahmi, gardenia, asafetida, and ghee.

Asafoetida is used as an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce, many cooks enjoy adding a pinch of asafoetida powder while stir-frying meats and vegetables.