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Information @ a glance

Description and Cultivation

  • Asafoetida, the gum resin prized as a condiment in India and Iran, is obtained chiefly from plant Ferula asafetida. The Latin name ferula means "carrier" or "vehicle". Asa is a latinized form of Farsi asa "resin ", and Latin foetidus means "smelling, fetid". A related species (F.vulgaris), native to the Mediterranean, is mentioned in the Greek mythology as the plant that helped Prometheus to carry the stolen fire from the Sun to the Earth.
  • The plant is a perennial of the carrot family and may grow as high as 3.6m. After four years, when it is ready to yield asafetida, the stems are cut down close to the root, and a milky juice flows out that quickly sets into a solid resinous mass. A freshly exposed surface of asafoeida has a translucent, pearly white appearance, but it soon darkens in the air, becoming first pink and finally reddish brown.

Uses

  • An analysis of asafoetida shows it to consist of carbohydrates 67.8 per cent per 100 gms, moisture 16.0 per cent, protein 4.0 per cent, fat 1.1 per cent, minerals 7.0 per cent and fibre 4.1 per cent. Its mineral and vitamin contents include substantial calcium besides phosphorus, iron, carotene, riboflavin and niacin. Its calorific value is 297.
  • Asafoetida is a useful antidote for flatulence. It is also claimed to be useful for the treatment of bronchitis and hysteria. Asafoetida is used for stomach pains. Asafoetida prevents insect bites.
  • Roots have been used as a local stimulant for the brain, mucous membranes, and for the alimentary tract where its carminative action aids in flatulent colic. This also makes it a good addition to laxative medicines. Its volatile oils are exuded through the lungs and have been used for asthma, bronchitis, croup, chronic catarrh, whooping cough and other chest ailments to loosen excess mucous. Stimulates the menstrual flow and sexual appetite. Used as a circulatory stimulant to lower blood pressure and thin the blood. Used as an enema in infantile convulsions. Usually taken in capsule form, because of its tastes.

Market and Report

  • Asafoetida is the gum-like substance secreted from the tree feruluas asafoetida. It is imported in raw form, processed and packed and then made into `badani’ or compounded Asafoetida (in powder or `kada’ form) and re-exported mainly to the gulf countries. Ninety per cent of the Asafoetida used in India is from Afghanistan and is called the kabuli hing. the Iranian variety is of better quality and comes in three types — sheer, xl and hingda.

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