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Spices That Heal - Asafoetida

Spice your life
10 min
Asafoetida, also known as hing, is a latex gum extracted from several species of a perennial herb, Ferula. It is part of the celery family and is most widely grown in Iran and Afghanistan, where it is known as “badian” or “gas reliever” for its use for relieving stomach gas.
Asafoetida has a pungent smell, lending it the trivial name of stinking gum, but when cooked it delivers a smooth flavor reminiscent of leeks or other onion relatives. That makes her a good substitute for onion and garlic in diets that avoid onion or garlic. The odor dissipates upon cooking and leaves a characteristic exotic mouth-watering aroma.
Along with its culinary uses, asafetida has a prominent place in Ayurvedic medicine, particularly for its role in supporting healthy digestion. Its health benefits come from its carminative, antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, antispasmodic, expectorant, sedative, diuretic, vermifuge, emenagogue, aphrodisiac, and anti-carcinogenic properties. below are the most popular health benefits of this “stinky gum”:
1. ASTHMA RELIEF
As a potent respiratory stimulant and expectorant, asafoetida helps release phlegm and relieve chest congestion naturally. It’s used in traditional medicine for asthma, whooping cough, and bronchitis.
2. LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE
Asafoetida is considered a natural blood thinner that helps to lower blood pressure. It is packed with coumarin, a compound that helps in improving your blood flow and thinning your blood, thus avoiding blood clotting.
3. HELPS TREAT IBS
IBS generally causes severe symptoms, including one or more of the following: alternating diarrhea and constipation, intestinal gas, bloating and cramping, abdominal pain, painful bowel movements, mucous discharge, and undigested food in the stool. Asafoetida has been studied and found to be a successful homeopathic remedy for those suffering from IBS.
4. REGULATES BLOOD SUGAR
Animal studies have shown that asafoetida might be an effective and natural way to help keep blood sugar levels in check and maintain normal blood sugar. When asafoetida extract was given to diabetic animal subjects at a dose of 50 milligrams per kilogram for four weeks, researchers observed a blood sugar-lowering effect. The study concluded that this effect is likely due to the presence of phenolic acids, specifically ferulic acid, and tannins in asafoetida extract.
5. STABILIZES MOOD DISORDERS
Frequent use of asafoetida helps to soothe the body and mind, making it an effective treatment for mood swings, chronic anxiety, depression, and stress. This is an important health benefit of asafoetida, as all of these disorders can cause disaster on your overall system if not appropriately regulated and controlled.
6. REDUCES FLATULENCE
Asafoetida has traditionally been used to expel wind/gas from the stomach. In other words, it’s an antiflatulent agent (gas reducer) that’s used for the alleviation and prevention of excessive intestinal gas. It’s commonly combined with lentils and other legumes just for this reason — to reduce gas post-meal and keep gas in check.
So, do not be scared of its nasty odor when raw. A dish cooked with asafetida will not only be enticingly flavourful but will also take care of your digestion, good mood, and belly comfort.

About the author

Irina Bachvarova

Yoga Guru

Master in Sports Pedagogic and director at Bulgarian Ashtanga Yoga Academy.

Irina is the author of the first Bulgarian book for Ashtanga Yoga and trusted Yoga Guru for TV series, produced by Bulgarian National Television.



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