Herb of the Day: Asafoetida


Asafoetida
( Ferula assa-foetida ) also called Devil’s Dung

Parts used: Oleo-gum-resin

Asafoetida is a perennial plant that grows to 6 ft. It has a fleshy taproot, hollow stem, compound leaves, and many white flowers in umbels. It is a native to Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, It produces a gum obtained in the summer from 4 year old plants. The stems are cut off, and successive slices are made through the roots. The gum wells up and is collected after it hardened. In history and folklore, in the 4th century BC, Charaka Samhita, a Hindo medical treatise,proclaimed that the herb was a best remedy for clearing gas, and bloating. The name devil’s dung not with standing,the plant is thought to have been the most popular spice in ancient Rome. Asafoetida is as persistent in aroma as garlic, and is still used as a flavoring, in Worcestershire sauce.
Asafoetida exudate contains 17% volatile oil, as well as resin and gum. The volatile oil contains disulphides about 58 %, which has an expectorant action. Asafoetida resin contains sesquiterpenoid coumarins, including foetidin.
In Middle Easteren and Indian herbal medicine it is used for simple digestive problems such as gas, bloating, indigestion, and comstipation. The volatile oil, like garlic, has components that leave the body via the respiratory system and aid the coughing up of congested mucus. Asafoetida in tablet form for bronchitis, bronchial asthma, whooping cough, and other chest problems. It also lowers blood pressure and thin blood. The herb has a reputation for helping in neurotic states.
While it is safe in adults, Asafoetida may be harmful to young babies.

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