Ferula Asafoetida Linn is an herbaceous, monoecious, perennial plant; it is considered as the most important species among the other 130 species of Ferula. The oleo-gum- resin is obtained from the rhizome and root of the plant which are generally collected in earthen pots and then dried. This dried substance is used as used as spices for flavorings food, it is available in powder and crystal forms.  It is commonly known as Hing/Heeng (asafoetida) in Hindi. The name Asafoetida came from the Latin name “ferula” which means “vehicle” or the “carrier”.
Health Benefits Of Asafoetida Powder (HeengHing)

What is Hing/Heeng?

Asafetida is also known as Hing or Heeng it is an ingredient which is made from the oleo-gum-resin which is obtained from the plant called Ferula asafoetida L plant. It has a unique strong pungent smell when raw but dulcet and garlicky when used in cooking.

The dried gum of the plant consist a combination of various properties, such as it has about 40–64% resin, about 25% of endogeneous gum, 10–17% volatile oil, and 1.5–10% of ash, beside this it also contains asaresinotannols ‘A’ and ‘B’, ferulic acid, umbelliferone and other four unidentified compounds which make it so unique.

Vernacular names:

  • Arabic: Zallouh; Anjadan, Hilteet;Simagh-ul-mehroos
  • Assamese: Hin
  • Bengali: Hing; Hingra
  • English: Asafoetida
  • Europeans: Devil’s dung
  • Gujarati: Hing; Vagharni
  • Marathi: Hing; Hira
  • Hindi: Hingra; Hingu
  • Oriya:Hengu; Hingu
  • Kannada: Higu; Ingu; Hing
  • Persian: Angoza,  Nagoora, Amma, Nagsatgudha, Angzoo, Anksar
  • Punjabi: Hing
  • Sanskrit:Ramatta; Bhutnasan; Hingu; Sulansan; Bahleeka
  • Suraini: Halteesa
  • Telugu: Ingura; Inguva; Ing
  • Turkish: şeytan boku (devil’s shit), Şeytantersi (devil’s sweat) or şeytanotu (the devil’s herb)
  • Urdu: Hilteet, Hing

How Is The Spice Hing/Heeng Made?

According to Santapau & Henri, (1973) there more than 130 species of Ferula found in the world and among it only some spices of plant yield Asafetida. Asafoetida is made form the plant called ferula, the resin is collected from stem, bark and root. The plant consists a large number of schizogenous ducts. After a period of five years the roots have stored a sufficient white gum resin emulsion into it.

At that period of time the plant is about 12 to 13 cm thick at the crown, with a large flower stem about 10 cm thick and 2.5 to 3 m in height. At the end of March, just before the plant is about to flower, the top of the root is laid bare and the stem is cut near the crown, exudation flows from the cutting surface.

Until the resin become hardened is protected by the dome cover stick and leaves. After a week or two the hardened resin gum is discarded outside. Again a slice of the root is cut and the juice is allowed back to exudates and gathered. This process is repeated several times with an interval of about 10 days for several months.

Synonyms

  • Assam : Hin
  • Sanskrit : Ramatha, Sahasravedhi
  • Bengali : Hing
  • English : Asafoetida
  • Gujarati : Hing,
  • Punjabi : Hing
  • Vagharni Hindi : Hing, Hingda
  • Oriya : Hengu, Hingu
  • Kannada : Hingu, Ingu
  • Marathi : Hing, Hira
  • Kashmiri : Eng
  • Malyalam : Kayam
  • Telugu : Inguva
  • Tamil : Perungayam
  • Urdu : Hitleet, Hing

Heeng/Hing : Ayurvedic View

In the Ancient texts of ayurveda Ferula assafoetida L is describe as “Hingu”. It has been used as flavouring of food and as a remedy for various ailments. For several centuries of constant use it have become as a trusted traditional medicine.

The Asafoetida (Hing) has been also referred to as the “food of the gods”. Asafoetida is in use since ancient times in Indian medicine for cooking as a spice.

Asafoetida balances Vata and Kapha doshas as it  relives Vata and Kapha it can be useful for the treatment for various aliments.

  • Neurological (paralysis, hysteria, depression and epilepsy),
  • Gastrointestinal (intestinal parasites, flatulence, weak digestion, stomach pain),
  • Respiratory (influenza, asthma)
  • Reproductive disorders (premature birth, very painful, difficult and excessive menstruation, vaginal discharge, and infertility.

Ayurvedic Properties

  • Rasa : Katu
  • Virya : Ushna
  • Guna : Tikshna
  • Vipak : Katu
  • Dosha : Balances Vata, Kapha and increases Pitta

Uses In Different Parts Of The World

  • Pakistan: People in the area of Khyber Pakhtoon khowa hang a small bag of asafoetida around their neck or tie them around the arm to keep safe from bacterial, seasonal and viral diseases.
  • Afghanistan: People use extract of dried gum with hot water; it is then taken orally for whooping cough, treat ulcers and hysteria.
  • China: The decoction of the plant is taken orally as an Anthelmintic.
  • Egypt: Extract of the dried root with hot water is taken orally as an antispasmodic, as a diuretic, as an analgesic and anthelmintic.
  • Malaysia: Resin gum is chewed for amenorrhea.
  • Morocco: It is used as anti-epileptic.
  • Nepal: Water extract of the resin is taken orally as an anthelmintic.
  • Saudi Arabia: Dried gum is used medicinally for bronchitis,whooping cough and asthma.
  • United States: Fluid extract of the resin is taken orally as an emmenagogue, a stimulating expectorant, an aphrodisiac, an anthelmintic and a stimulant to the brain and nerves, claimed to be a powerful antispasmodic.
  • France: The gastronomers rub a little Asafoetida on hot plates from which they eat beef steaks.
  • Europe: Asafetida is considered as a valuable medicine in Europe, which is used to invoke male gods, especially those of a phallic nature. There is also a myth that claims that Asafoetida was developed from the semen of a god of fertility, when it was soaked into the earth.

Top Benefits Of Asafoetida

Apart from the use of spices in culinary, it is also used as a medicine. The ancient Ayurvedic texts prescribe herbs and spices for healing and therapeutic functions. Below are some of the health benefits of Asafoetida.

1.Skin Blemishes :

Asafoetida can be used as a bleaching agent that promotes fairness and degrades dark spots, acne marks and excess fat. The tyro-sine production in the skin, promotes melanin production in human skin and that can lead to darkening of skin, premature aging and dullness.

Asafoetida takes control of tyro-sine production. Therefore, you can flaunt a radiant free skin; using Asafoetida face mask and can make your skin look younger.

How to use: Make a paste of Asafoetida mixed with hot water and apply it to the effected area.

2.Relieve Pain :

Asafoetida is a wonderful spice that can be helpful in fighting the pain associated with toothache, menstruation, headache and migraine. It is spicy herb that is fully loaded with powerful antioxidants and other compounds that relieve pain.

How to use: To reap its benefits, mix a pinch of Hing powder to a glass of warm water and drink to relieve headache and migraine. For toothache make a thick paste of Asafoetida mixed with lemon juice and applies it on the affected area.

3.Menstrual Pain & Irregular Periods:

It is spice that is considered as a boon for women, as it helps to manage menstrual pain as well as irregular periods. Asafoetida contains the properties which can thin the blood thus helps in making the blood flow smooth.

Asafetida has a warming and hormone progesterone property which helps in proper functioning of female reproductive organs, aids in bringing on regular periods. This remedy has been used as flock medicines for ages which can greatly reduce the discomfort.

How to use: Bake a Heeng powder in a vessel and added it into the buttermilk along with little bit of sugar and consume during menstrual pain it really will help you.

4.Stomach Gas:

The stomach produces gas when our digestive system is enabling to digest food. The use of asafoetida regularly not only reduces the gas, but also cures your bad digestive function.

Using pinch of asafetida in food can not only increase its aroma with flavor, but also helps to stay away from gas problems. So if you have regular problem gas problem you should used asafetida in everyday cooking.

How to Use: Take a glass of water with pinch of asafoetida powder, mix well to dissolve the powder. You can also add a pinch of black salt to it, drink this water it can solve the gas problem.

5.Infant Gas:

Using asafoetida for treating gas can be the best option without side effects. It is also a well known traditional home remedies to cure child’s colic pain. You can use internally as well as externally both. To find out if your baby is suffering from gas, touch his belly, if looks tight and swollen means the baby is suffering from gas.

How to Use: Make a paste of asafetida and water and apply on baby’s navel area. For internal use take asafoetida (crystal) about the size of two mustard seeds crush it and give it in worm water.

Note: Giving asafoetida internally is not advisable, mostly due to its quality and purity.

How To Check Quality Of Heeng ?

  •  When asafoetida crystals are dropped into a glass full of water, it gradually dissolves turning the water into a milky white solution.
  • When asafoetida is burned it leaves no residue.
  • Asafetida if adulterated when dropped into water sinks and settles and does not dissolves completely

Asafoetida (Heeng) Side Effects

According to WebMD : Asafoetida is considered to be safe for most people in the amounts which are typically found in food. Some evidence also showed that asafoetida is possibly safe when taken orally as medicine.

Few people have stated problems with asafetida it cause belching, intestinal gas, diarrhea, swelling of the lips, seizures, blood disorders, headache,  and other side effects.

Children: Asafetida is unsafe for infants when taken orally because it could cause certain blood disorders.

Pregnancy: It is unsafe take asafetida orally if you are pregnant as it could cause a miscarriage so avoid use.

Breast-Feeding: It is also consider unsafe if consume orally while breast-feeding because some chemicals in Asafoetida could pass into breast milk and causes bleeding disorders in infants so avoid it.

Today the People around the world have become more conscious, started eating organic. Consuming tasty flavored food with health benefits can be the best idea. Using asafoetida Spice can work in a disease as quickly as any modern form of medicine and have proven to have no side effects. So regular use of spices can make a person to remain hail and hearty for longer period.