Asafoetida also known as Hingu or Hing has been used in Indian kitchen for ages to add flavour to curries. Its use is not restricted to India but it is widely used around the world. It is also known as Sahasraredhi which means it has got thousands of action. Asafoetida is an oleo-gum-resin that is extracted from the roots of the asafoetida plant. It is yellow to light brown in colour and has a sharp and pungent smell. It is mainly used as a culinary spice for its anti-flatulent properties and it aids in digestion.
- Asafoetida if taken daily along with food or used as a culinary spice aids in digestion as it has anti-flatulent properties. It helps prevent flatulence, digestive disorders, prevents constipation and also acts as laxative. If you are having a digestive disorder like constipation or flatulence, a pinch of asafoetida taken along with buttermilk is quite useful.
- Asafoetida is wonder remedy for infantile colic (severe stomach ache in children less than one year of age, children usually cry a lot). Application of a paste of asafoetida in lukewarm water on baby’s stomach provides relief to the infant because of its antispasmodic properties.
- Asafoetida if taken daily helps to lower blood pressure as it has anticoagulant properties.
- Asafoetida is particularly very useful for good health of females as it helps prevent leucorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea (painful and excessive menstruation), vaginitis and candida infection.
- Asafoetida also has anti-epileptic, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Asafoetida also acts as an expectorant.
In modern world our lifestyle and dietary habits have given rise to one another common problem in females that is Amenorrhoea. Amenorrhoea is the complete absence of period in a woman of reproductive age. Amenorrhoea can be primary or secondary.
- Primary amenorrhoea: Primary amenorrhoea is the complete absence of period by the age of 16 regardless of the presence of secondary sexual characteristics (development of breasts, pubic and axillary hair) or age of 14 and absence of secondary sexual characteristics as well.
- Secondary amenorrhoea: Secondary amenorrhoea is the absence of period for longer than 6 months or absence of periods for a total of three consecutive previous menstrual cycles.
Asafoetida is very useful in the treatment of secondary amenorrhoea. Roasted Asafoetida taken along with jaggery induces menstruation. For complete cure you need to do some lifestyle modifications like having an adequate sleep, avoiding junk food, exercise regularly and stay away from negative and depressive thoughts. Along with lifestyle modifications, dietary modifications and weight management are also important.
Apart from preventive and curative uses asafoetida has many other medicinal uses. Some of the medicinal uses in common ailments are as follows-
- Flatulence: Asafoetida has anti-flatulent properties. Local application or enema of asafoetida given with castor oil is very beneficial.
- Worms: Intestinal worms are a common thing in small children as they often eat without washing hands and hands are contaminated while playing in sand or garden. Enema given by taking 2 gram of asafoetida dissolved in 100 ml of water is beneficial.
- Respiratory diseases: In respiratory diseases local application of asafoetida over chest is beneficial.
- Fever: Asafoetida taken with Ghee is also very useful in irregular fever.
- Haridshool (chest pain): Pills made of asafoetida and kumkum (another medicinal plant) is beneficial in chest pain.
- Caries: In dental caries slightly heated asafoetida should be kept on caries tooth.
- Toothache: Oil prepared with asafoetida and opium relieves tooth ache.
- Headache: Granules of asafoetida can be dissolved in water and taken for relieving migraines and headaches.
- Antidote for opium: It has only been speculated to be antidote for opium.
It is very important in Ayurveda that whatever herbs or spices are taken they should be taken in a proper way.
- In abdominal problems burnt asafoetida with ghee/ melted clarified butter should be used.
- In respiratory problems raw asafoetida should be used as tikshna and chedan properties are maintained.
- Person with liver or brain disorders and paitik prakriti should take asafoetida with precaution as it may also harm them.
- Parts used: Gum raisin
- Dose: 125-500 mg
- Formulations: Hingvastak powder, Hingwadi vati, Raj Pravartini vati
- Hindi name: Hing (हींग)
- Sanskrit name: Hingu (हिंगु )
- Rasa (रस): Katu (कटु)
- Guna (गुण): Laghu (कटु), Snigdha (स्निग्ध), Tikshna (तीक्ष्ण)
- Virya (वीर्य): Ushna (उष्ण)
- Vipaka(विपाक): Katu (कटु)
- Doshkarm (pharmacological action - Kaphavatashmak (कफ़वातशामक), Pittavardhak(पित्तवर्धक)
Modern scientific explanation
Botanical name: Ferula narthex
This drug has got antiviral effect especially against H1N1 virus (swine flu). Roots of this plant is used and it was used in 1918 to fight the Spanish influenza pandemic.