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Asafoetida
Ferula Foetida
AsafoetidaAsafoetida Powder

Botanical Name: Ferula assafoetida

Common Names: Devils's Dung, Food of the Gods

Planetary ruler: Mars

Elemental ruler: Fire

Asafoetida is a hard aromatic resinous gum collected from certain species of giant fennels, plants of the genus ferula. It is sold in blocks or pieces as a gum and more frequently as a fine powder, sometimes crystalline or granulated. It is called devil’s dung because of its strong pungent smell due to the presence of sulfur compounds. Asafoetida is believed to have gotten its name from the Persian word aza (mastic resin) and a Latin word foetida meaning stinking.

Asafoetida was a popular spice in Europe since the Roman times and a much-preferred spice of the Middle Ages. Iranian cuisine uses it for flavoring meatballs and in Afghanistan it is used in the preparation of dried meat. Although this spice is practically unknown in modern western cuisines, it is used in the United States and Europe in commercially prepared flavorings.

Asafoetida has remained a part of the Indian spice box for centuries and continues to be used both in cooking and in medicine in India. The ancient Sanskrit text “Kashyapa Samhita”, (circa 200 BC) mentions about the import of asafoetida from Afghanistan. The great Indian epic Mahabharatha (circa 400BC and 300AD) include graphic descriptions of dishes prepared with spices including asafetida. South Indian vegetable curries are often garnished with a large pinch of asafoetida sautéed in a spoonful of oil or ghee. When asafoetida is added to hot oil, it changes from its strong and powerful smell to an enticing oniony-garlicky aroma. Strict vegetarian diets of India forbid the use of onions and garlic, and asafoetida is used in their place for its distinct aroma. It is used in the cooking of various pulses, beans and certain vegetables, certain savory snacks, pickles and chutneys. As it helps to neutralize flatulence it is used in dishes prepared with various beans and other legumes. In Indian herbal medicine Ayurveda, asafoetida is used to stimulate appetite and digestion.

It is used in modern herbalism in the treatment of hysteria, some nervous conditions, bronchitis, asthma and whooping cough. It was at one time employed in the treatment of infantile pneumonia and flatulent colic. The gum resin is antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant, laxative, and sedative. The volatile oil in the gum is eliminated through the lungs, making this an excellent treatment for asthma.

The odor of asafoetida is imparted to the breath, secretions, flatus, and gastric eructations. Its properties are antispasmodic, expectorant, stimulant, emmenagogue and vermifuge. Asafoetida has also been used as a sedative. It also thins the blood and lowers blood pressure.

  • Asafoetida Compound 50gm (1.76 ounce)
  • $7.50








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