|Attributed Medicinal Properties|
Asafoetida is known as an antidote for flatulence and is also prescribed for respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough. Its vile smell has led to many unusual medical claims, mostly stemming from the belief that itís foetid odour would act as a deterrent to germs. In several European countries a small piece of the resin would be tied on a string and hung around childrens necks to protect from disease. The shock of the sulfurous smell was once thought to calm hysteria and in the days of the American Wild West it was included in a mixture with other strong spices as a cure for alcoholism.
Asafetida, Assafetida, Assafoetida, Devilís Dung, Devilís Durt, Food of the Gods (Persian), Laser (Roman), Stinking Gum
French: assa foetida, ferulr perisque
German: Asafotida, Stinkender Asant
Indian: hing, hingu, heeng
Plant Description and Cultivation
is grown chiefly in Iran and Afghanistan from where it is
exported to the rest of the world. In India it is cultivated in
It is a perennial fennel that grows wild to 3.6 metres (12 ft) high, in large natural forests where little else grows. It bears fine leaves and yellow flowers. The roots are thick and pulpy and also yield a similar resin to that of the stems. All parts of the plant have the distinctive fetid smell. In March and April, just before flowering, the stalks are cut close to the root. A milky liquid oozes out, which dries to form a resin. This is collected and a fresh cut is made. This procedure lasts for about three months from the first incision, by which time the plant has yielded up to two pounds of resin and the root has dried up.