Asafoetida (a.k.a asafetida) is a gum made from dried sap of the stem and roots of the plant Ferula assafoetida. The dried gum has yellow color and is normally used in powder form. The two most famous brands Vandevi and LG are commonly available in any Indian grocery store. Asafoetida is known as Hing in Hindi. Asafoetida has a strong pungent odour which led to it being called Devil's Dung. Asafoetida was introduced to India by traders coming in from the North West (Afghanistan).
In India, Asafoetida is commonly used to relieve stomach problems especially caused due to gas. A pinch of asafoetida is normally added to food preparations consisting of potatoes, lentils, peas, etc. (foods which cause gas related problems). When suffering from bloating, a pinch of Asafoetida in a glass of water helps relieve the suffering.
Scientific studies have also started to show that Asafoetida is a good anti-inflammatory agent and a good anti-oxidant agent.
Effects of environmental mutagens (agents which are capable of causing mutations in DNA) present in food can be reduced by using Asafoetida.
Role of Asafoetida in preventing cancer cell growth is now coming into focus.
In a comparative study done in Egypt, Asafoetida was shown to be anti-parasitic towards Trichomonas vaginalis, which is known to cause Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted disease.
Apart from all these studies, there have been studies done to show the importance of Asafoetida in digestion of food.

No comments: