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ASAFOETIDA

INTRODUCTION
Asafoetida is a resinous substance obtained from two species of giant fennel and has a dreadful stink. The
repellent smell is caused due to the sulphur compounds present in the resin, which disappears while
cooking.
Asafoetida is highly regarded since ancient times for the onion like flavour it imparts. A most powerful
seasoning, it is only used in small quantities - a pinch or a small sliver at a time and is extremely
unpleasant if tasted on its own.
ORIGIN
Asafoetida has several varieties, which are distributed from the Mediterranean region to Central Asia. It is
grown in Iran and Afghanistan. The substitute for asafoetida, botanically known as Ferula Northex, grows
in Kashmir, Western Tibet and Afghanistan. The plant grows wild in western Asia and thrives in continental
climates with extremes of temperatures.
There are mainly two species of Asafoetida. The larger species Ferula Asafoetida can grow as high as 12 ft
while the smaller species, Ferula Northex only reaches about 8 ft. The leaves and the stalks are eaten as
vegetables in Afghanistan and Iran.
CULTIVATION
It is a perennial fennel that grows wild upto 3.6 meters (12 ft) high, in large natural forests where little
else grows. It bears fine leaves and yellow flowers. The roots are thick and pulpy and also yield a similar
resin as that by the stems. All parts of the plant have the distinctive fetid smell.
PRODUCTION
In March and April, just before flowering, the stalks are cut close to the root. A milky liquid oozes out,
which dries to form a resin. This is collected and a fresh cut is made. This procedure lasts for about three
months from the first incision, by which time the plant has yielded up to two pounds of resin and the root
has dried up.
STORAGE
Keep it in firmly closed in airtight containers.
COMPOSITION
Asafoetida contains resin, gum, volatile oil and ash. The resin chiefly consists of asaresinotennol, free or
combined with ferulic acid. Umbelliferone seems to be present in the combined state. Its mineral and
vitamin contents include substantial amounts of calcium besides phosphorous, iron, carotene, riboflavin
and niacin.
NUTRITIOAL VALUE
Asafoetida contains
Carbohydrate 67.8 %
Moisture 16.0 %
Protein 4.0 %
Fat 1.1 %
Minerals 7.0 %
Fibre 4.1 % per 100 grams.

Its calorific value is 297.
CULINARY USES
Widely used in minute quantities in Indian vegetarian cooking and as a delicate flavour in fresh and salted
fish dishes. It is also used in chutneys, pickles and sauces but in very small quantities.
MEDICINAL USES


Asafoetida is a nervine stimulant, digestive agent and sedative.

It is reputed as a drug, which expels wind from the stomach and counteracts any spasmodic
disorders.

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

The herb is an effective remedy for hysteria.

Asafoetida is used effectively in the treatment of impotency.

It is also used effectively in the medicines used to treat nervous disorders in children.

As Asafoetida is anti-flatulent and digestive, its addition proves beneficial for women during post
delivery period.

Asafoetida is used effectively in the medicines for all type of disorders.

Asafoetida can be used to treat toothache as when it is placed in the cavity it helps in reducing pain.
OTHER NAMES
Hing, Devils Dung, Stinking Gum, Poor mans saffron, Asafetida, Assafetida, Assafoetida, Devils Durt
Persian Food of the Gods
Roman Laser
French assa foetida, ferulr perisque
German Asafotida, Stinkender Asant
Italian assafetida
Spanish asafetida
Afghan kama-i-anguza
Indian hing, hingu, heeng