Health Benefits Of Asafetida (Hing)

Health Benefits Of Asafetida (Hing)

What is Asafetida (Hing)?

Asafetida (Ferula Asafoetida) is known as other names: A Wei, Asafétida, Ase Fétide, Hing, Assant, Crotte du Diable, Devil's Dung, Ferula Asafoetida, Ferula Assa Foetida, Ferula assa-foetida, Ferula foetida, Ferula pseudalliacea, Ferula rubricaulis, Férule, Férule Persique, Food of the Gods, Fum, Giant Fe...

Asafetida, also known as hing, is a latex gum extracted from several species of a perennial herb, Ferula. Asafetida is available in the market as a solid brick or smaller pieces, as well as in tablet or powder form.

Health Benefits Of Asafetida (Hing)
Asafetida (Hing)

This potent-smelling spice is commonly used in Persian and Indian cooking for flavoring, food preservation and fragrance. Due to its strong odor, Asafetida is also called Devil’s dung. From a nutritional perspective, asafetida provides protein, fiber, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorous, iron, niacin, carotene and riboflavin.

Along with its culinary uses, asafetida has a prominent place in traditional medicine. Its health benefits come from its carminative, antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, antispasmodic, expectorant, sedative, diuretic, vermifuge, emmenagogue, aphrodisiac and anti-carcinogenic properties.

Bouquet of Asafetida: a pungent smell of rotting onions or sulfur. The smell dissipates with cooking.

Flavour of Asafetida: on its own, extremely unpleasant, like concentrated rotten garlic. When cooked, Asafetida adds an onion-like flavour.

Read more: Benefits And Nutrition Of Arugula (Salad Rocket) For Health

Health Benefits Of Asafetida (Hing)

Due to its anti inflammatory, antiviral and antibiotic effects, Asafetida (Hing) is often used to treat respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, dry cough, whooping cough and colds. Plus, it acts as a respiratory stimulant, which is very useful in relieving chest congestion and releasing phlegm.

Asafetida is an amazing spice to treat various kinds of stomach problems. Asafetida has antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiflatulent properties that help alleviate problems like indigestion, upset stomach, intestinal gas, intestinal worms, flatulence and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Asafetidais also considered useful in treating food poisoning.

Health Benefits Of Asafetida (Hing)
Asafetida (Hing) Picture

Due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties, asafetida helps alleviate tooth pain and fight infection. Asafetida can also help treat bleeding gums and dental caries.

Asafetida (Hing) helps reduce flatulence, digestive disorders, prevents constipation and is an excellent laxative. A pinch of asafetida can be taken with butter milk to reduce flatulence and cleanse the digestive system.

Granules of asafetida can be dissolved in water and taken for relieving migraines and headaches. Asafetida is also a natural remedy for colic in babies by placing a small amount of warm asafetida on the baby’s stomach.

Whether you have a headache due to a common cold or a migraine, asafetida can surely solve your problem. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, asafetida can help reduce inflammation of the blood vessels in the head, which in turn will reduce headaches.

Asafetida is also very beneficial in treating insect bites and stings from bees and wasps. Asafetida relieves pain and inflammation and helps reduce the toxic effects. In fact, asafetida is also used in insect repellant products to ward off mosquitoes, gnats and other insects because of its pungent smell.

Asafetida also acts as an anti-coagulant and helps lower blood pressure.

Asafetida has also been used for ages to treat impotency, or erectile dysfunction, in men. Being an aphrodisiac, it helps increase libido.

Asafetida is favorable for women’s health as it helps counter leucorrhoea, dysmenorrhea, excessive and painful menstruation, and has positive benefits in treating candida infection.

As asafetida is a powerful antioxidant, it helps protect the body from free radicals. Studies show its anti-carcinogenic property helps stop the growth of malignant cells and thus prevents cancer.

Medicinal uses

Asafetida (Hing)’s medicinal uses are many, which include the treatment of influenza. Asafetida is beneficial in fighting the swine flu and H1N1 virus. Asafetida 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.

Asafetida is also considered to have contraceptive properties and is used for contraception in traditional medicine.

Asafetida 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.
Asafetida 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 asafetida are beneficial in avoiding ethanol induced hepatotoxicity. This is enabled due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects.

Health Benefits Of Asafetida (Hing)
Asafetida (Hing)

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. 

Cooking with Asafetida (Hing)

Use in Asafetida (Hing) in minute quantities, adding directly to cooking liquid, frying in oil, or steeping in water. Asafoetida is used mostly in Indian vegetarian cooking, in which the strong onion-garlic flavour enhances many dishes, especially those of Brahmin and Jain castes where onions and garlic are prohibited. Asafetida is used mostly in south and west India, though it does not grow there. It is used in many lentil dishes (often to prevent flatulence), vegetarian soups and pickles. Asafetida is also suited to many fish dishes and some pappadums are seasoned with asafoetida.

Side effects of Asafetida (Hing)

With all its beneficial qualities, asafoetida has its disadvantages as well. Asafetida (Hing) can cause unpleasant side effects like vomiting and nausea; excessive consumption of asafetida can cause irritation in throat, swollen lips, burping, stomach gas, and diarrhea. Asafetida can also trigger unfavorable results in persons suffering from central nervous conditions. In some, it cause redness, itching and skin irritation. If there are prolonged skin rashes, skin swelling, and hives, you need to consult a doctor to remedy the allergic reaction. High doses of asafetida can cause dizziness and headaches, which can deter one’s productivity at work. 

In sum, Asafetida is best to consult a physician if you want to consume larger doses to counter specific illnesses such as heart conditions, liver problems, and nervous disorders.  In most cases, side effects of asafetida are temporary and can be treated.