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Herbs > Ayurvedic Herbs > Asafoetida

By Dr. Satish Kulkarni

The colloquial name for Asafoetida is ‘hing’ and its botanical name is Ferula Foetida. Asafoetida is a resinous gum of a tall perennial herb. It is crystal yellow in color and has a b pungent smell. It is one of the famous spices used for flavoring sour and spicy curries and forms a constituent of many spice mixtures. It adds to flavor of the many recipes and has medicinal value.

Asafoetida is known for its medicinal properties from ages and has being in use as a medicine in India, China and Far East since a long time. Ayurvedic scholars use asafoetida in antispasmodic and anti-flatulent mixtures. It helps in relieving the ‘locked’ gas in stomach and helps in relieving pain and flatulence. It is either taken orally or applied externally on abdominal region in the form of freshly prepared water based solution. It is also a nervine stimulant and sedative to some extent. Hingwashtak churna (a combination of hing and 7 other herbal medicines) is a `popular medicine in digestive troubles.

It is useful in respiratory conditions like whooping cough, upper respiratory tract infections where congestion is a problem, asthamatic attacks and bronchitis. Especially in childhood bronchitis where expectoration is a problem asafetida helps in expelling accumulated cough. Many combinations are suggested and a patient or caretakers of sick child can find out appropriate combinations with few trials and errors. Roasted fresh resinous gum powder with real ghee is one of the famous combinations for whooping cough. A mixture of asafetida powder with honey, white onion juice, betel nut juice and dry ginger is another effective combination.

One ayurvedic school of thoughts has recommended asafoetida in classical hysteric attacks. Nasya (inhaling by nose) or basti (administration per rectum) also is permitted when oral administration is out of question.

One branch of ayurvedic science has discussed its benefits in impotency. A fried asafoetida (preferably in real ghee/clarified butter) with honey and fresh extract from banyan tree is to be taken for 5 to 6 weeks regularly early in the morning. It is also considered as ‘male child’ producing agent. If taken regularly before and after conceiving, chances of getting a male child are more than a female child, says an ayurvedic sanhita. We can say it has some good effects on spermatogenesis and premature ejaculation. Few ayurvedic practitioners recommend asafoetida for menstrual problems and leucorrhoea. Few others advice this herbal medicine for sterility, abortion, premature delivery pains in combination with other herbal medicines. It is deliberately included in lactating mothers diet in the view that it will contribute to mother and child health both.

It is also an effective remedy for toothache. In general it helps in preventing dental caries or at least in relieving pain due to caries.

Asafoetida is known to Indian society from ages and is widely used as flavouring agent in Indian recipes. It is considered as a safe home made remedy for digestive disturbances until one sees the doctor. In short, asafoetida is a medicinal gum of the plant used in stomach disorders like nausea, anorexia and flatulence. Taken internally or applied externally it helps in relieving distention of abdomen due to improper digestion or gases.

For further information on Ayurveda and/or questions please Visit India Herbs For Genuine Ayurvedic Medicines and Nutritional Supplements or contact Dr. Satish Kulkarni




Index
Quick Reference
Alfalfa
Aloe Vera
Arnica
Asafoetida
Betel Leaves
Bishop’s Weed
Blessed Thistle
Burcock
Cascara Sagrada
Cardamom
Chamomile
Chaparral
Chicory
Cinnamon
Comfrey
Coriander
Curry Leaves
Dandelion
Damiana
Echinacea
Euphrasia
Fenugreek
Garlic
Ayurvedic Garlic
Ginger
Aurvedic Ginger
Ginko Biloba
Ginseng
Gotu Kola
Guarana
Henna
Holy Basil
Hoodia Gordonii
Horny Goat Weed
Hyssop
Isapghula
Kalonji
Kava
Lavender
Liquorice
Mullien
Sage
Sandalwood
Sarsaparilla
St Johns Wort
Tee Tree
Thyme
Tribulus
Turmeric

 
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