Benefits of Asafoetida or Hing: the Digestive Spice

Updated on December 6, 2016
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Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.


About Asafoetida Or Hing

Latin Name : Ferula assafoetida.

In India, it is called Hing or Heeng.

Some other common names are: food of the Gods, giant fennel, stinking gum, devil's gum, asant, yang.

Asafoetida is native to Afghanistan and India and is also cultivated in Iran and Pakistan,

Asafoetida is a spice that is derived from the dried latex or gum that exudes from the underground rhizome when cuts are are made on it. The plant is a perennial and has to be at least 4 years old before it is ready for producing the latex.

Raw asafoetida has a strong, unpleasant odor and is bitter in taste but imparts a smooth flavor to cooked foods. It is used in almost all Indian cooking and is also used in many pickles.

Pickles can be prevented from going bad by exposing the inside of the container/bottle to asafoetida smoke before filling it with pickle.

Asafoetida is available both in a solid waxy, lumpy form as well as the powder form. It is also available in tincture form now.

Nutrients In Asafoetida

100 Grams
16.000 gm
4.000 gm
1.100 gm
7.000 gm
4.100 gm
67.800 gm
297.000 K cal
690.000 mg
50.000 mg
39.400 mg
4.000 micro gm
0.040 mg
0.300 mg
Minerals & Trace Elements
80.000 mg
0.430 mg
1.120 mg
0.830 mg
0.079 mg
Source : National Institute of Nutrition, ICMR, Hyderabad, India

Asafoetida Plant


Health Benefits Of Asafoetida

  • Relieves many digestive problems like flatulence, constipation, stomachache etc
  • Has antimicrobial activity
  • Acts as a contraceptive/Abortifacient
  • In Ayurveda it is used to balance vata & kapha
  • An antidote for opium
  • Anti sapsmodic and anthelmentic
  • Anti epileptic
  • Nervine stimulant
  • Expectorant
  • Anti inflammatory
  • Fights Candida infections
  • Anti cancer
  • Relieves respiratory infections
  • Relieves menstrual issues like pain, irregular periods and menstrual cramps

Benefits Of Asafoetida - Some Ayurvedic Remedies

  • Stomachache/Gas/Burping

Mix a pinch of asafoetida in hot water and apply around the navel. 1/2 gram of asafoetida can be consumed along with any food too.

If there is pain due to gas accumulation in the stomach then, boil 2 grams asafoetida in 500 ml of water til 125 ml remains. Drink this while still warm for relief.

  • Pain In Ribs

Mix asafoetida in hot water and apply on the area of pain.

  • Headache Due To Cold

Mix asafoetida in hot water and apply on the forehead.

  • Migraine

Mix asafoetida in water and smell this for relief.

  • Indigestion

Mix equal quantities of asafoetida, rock salt, carom seeds and Inknut or Terminalia chebula fruit (choti harad). Grind them fine. Consume 1 tsp of this mixture with hot water 3 times a day.

  • Burping/Hiccups

Put a piece of asafoetida equal in size to a grain of Pearl Millet (bajra) in piece of banana or jaggery and consume this for relief.

  • Worms In Children

Mix some asafoetida in water and apply this solution on the anus with a cotton ball.

  • To Relieve Effects Of Opium Use

Mix 4 grams of asafoetida in water and drink.

  • Toothache

Keep a small piece of asafoetida under the aching tooth for relief from pain.

  • Urticaria

Mix asafoetida in clarified butter (ghee) and massage with this.

  • Hysteria

Smelling asafoetida relieves hysteria.

  • Pneumonia

Mix a pinch of asafoetida in water and drink.

  • Menses Pain

Mix a pinch of asafoetida in buttermilk. Add 1/2 tsp fenugreek powder and salt to taste. Consume this.

  • Poisoning

Mix a pinch of asafoetida mixed in water. It brings on vomiting and removes the poison and its effects.

  • Cold

Smell asafoetida. It removes accumulated mucus.

  • Hoarseness

Mix 1/2 gram asafoetida in hot water and gargle with this water.

  • Weak Heart

Asafoetida gives strength to a weak heart, prevents blood from clotting and improves blood circulation.

  • Corns/Callus

Apply asafoetida directly on the affected spot.

  • Diabetes

Mix 1/4 tsp asafoetida in 2 tsp bitter gourd juice and consume. It regulates blood sugar levels.

Some Precautions With Asafoetida

  • Those suffering from severe acidity, piles, blood pressure, blood disorders, liver problems should not consume asafoetida.
  • Do not consume when taking blood pressure medicines,
  • It thins blood and prevents clotting of blood.
  • In excess, it can cause rashes, swelling of lips, burning sensation in stomach, nausea and vomiting.
  • Pregnant women should avoid taking asafoetida as it induces miscarriage due to its abortifascient nature.
  • Hotheaded persons should not consume it.

Some Unusual Uses Of Asafoetida/Hing

Apart from being used in cooking, asafoetida is used medicinally. It also has some unusual uses like:

  • Using it to trap moths.
  • Repelling spirits in the newborn in Jamaica.
  • In magic spells, in Hoodoo, the African American traditional folk magic.
  • The scent is used to as a bait for catfish, pike and wolf.
  • As a pest repellent, an aid in plant growth and to increase crop yield.

How To Check If Asafoetida Is Pure Or Not

Sometimes, asafoetida is adulterated by mixing it with wheat flour and gum of the Gum Arabic (Kikar) tree.

Adulterated asafoetida when dropped in a glass of water sinks and settles at the bottom.

Pure hing slowly and completely dissolves in water making it milky and leaves no sediment. Also pure hing can be burnt by a flame.

asafoetida powder in the forefront
asafoetida powder in the forefront | Source


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

What is Asafoetida? / Kale with Chili & Asafoetida Recipe

How to Cook Indian Food: How Asafetida Is Used in Indian Recipes

Mango Asafoetida Pickle Recipe

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • profile image

      NANDLAL Joshi 2 years ago

      Dear Rajanji,

      The point that u made thats its(Hing) not good for hot tmpered made me reluctant wheter to use it or not as i do have blood circulation & digestion problems.Please Guide if its that harmful or ways to cure its side effects as i know the value of indian herbs.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      We are what we eat, in a big way! Thanks for reading GTF.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Another interesting hub rajan. I am continually amazed at how spices affect different aspects of our bodies. It really shows us that we are what we eat and we should be careful.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Chris.

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      wow. I had no idea it was that useful !!! thanks-- I learned some stuff !!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Marlene, you can certainly get it in any Indian grocery store in the U.S. It is a very common and much used ingredient in India.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Oh never mind, Rajan. I re-watched the video and discovered that the guy in the video found it at a grocery store.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Asafoetida appears to be as strong as any medication prescribed by doctors. I'm curious as to what kind of store it could be found here in the U.S. The guy in the first video said he saw it, but I wasn't sure what kind of store to look. Thanks.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Girish you know we use it daily. Thanks for appreciating this hub.

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Rajan, Hing is a must ingredient ingredient in my kitchen, for all preparations, and you truly said, this is the most useful spice. Voted up.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Vicki - thanks for reading the hub so minutely. In fact, it is an integral part of Indian cooking. Thanks for stopping by.

      Anuram - you are very right. Thanks for reading.

      Rasma - Indian food has it most of the time. Thanks for visiting and sharing.

      mperrottet - Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      I never heard of Hing before - it has so many different benefits. Voted up and interesting.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thank you for this very interesting and informative hub. Had never heard of this before. Might have had it in Indian food and never known it. Will remember it now. Great videos. Passing this on.

    • anuramkumar profile image

      anuramkumar 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      A very common indian household spice with so much of health benefits...I think our ancestors knew what is good and what is bad for health. Very informative.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 4 years ago

      Well done, Rajan, I grew up in South Africa, and the best curry powder has asafoetida in it. I have a tiny bit left, and am reluctant to use it! I could not find it here in this part of Canada, and no one has heard of it!

      It was lovely to read your Hub, and I thought "this person knows what he is talking about!"

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Devika-We use hing in our foods everyday. It does give an awesome flavor to the food and of course the benefits are well known. Thannks for stopping by.

      Carol-Asafoetida is not well known in the West, hence this hub to bring it to the knowledge of those who haven't heard of it. Thanks and appreciate the read and sharing.

      Bill-I'm glad you came over to read this. Thanks a lot, my friend.

      Peggy-I'm sure the Indian restaurants do use it in their dishes. Maybe you could ask them the next time you visit one. Thanks for coming by to read and share.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      This is something of which I am totally unfamiliar. Thanks for introducing me and other readers of this hub to Asafoetida or Hing. I may have eaten it in Indian restaurants and not realized it. Up, useful, interesting votes and will share.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Your hubs always educate me. I have never heard of this, but you have managed to teach me all about it AND think about trying it. Well done, Rajan!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      I have never heard of this..but always interested in new ways to stay healthy. Thanks for sharing this and I am going to do more research because it is so interesting. Thanks..Voting UP, Sharing.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Wow! Such interesting information here, I am impressed by the benefits of the miracle Asafoetida, you have explained to the point and made a clear view too. Thanks for this Hub. Voted Up!