Asafetida, also known as hing, is a latex gum extracted from several species of a perennial herb, Ferula. It is available in the market as a solid brick or smaller pieces, as well as in tablet or powder form.
Along with its culinary uses, asafetida has a prominent place in Ayurvedic medicine, particularly for its role in supporting healthy digestion. Its health benefits come from its carminative, antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, antispasmodic, expectorant, sedative, diuretic, vermifuge, emenagogue, aphrodisiac, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Listed below are the most popular health benefits of Asafoetida:
1. Asthma Relief
As a potent respiratory stimulant and expectorant, asafoetida helps release phlegm and relieve chest congestion naturally. It’s used in traditional medicine for asthma, whooping cough, and bronchitis. The volatile oil in the asafoetida gum is eliminated through the lungs, which is why it can be an excellent treatment for asthma and other lung-related issues.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
Asafoetida is considered a natural blood thinner that helps to lower blood pressure. It is packed with coumarin, a compound that helps in improving your blood flow and thinning your blood, thus avoiding blood clotting.
Scientists have been able to separate certain phytochemicals in Ferula species (the source of asafoetida) that have supportive cardiovascular effects. Research using animal subjects has shown that Ferula asafoetida gum extract considerably reduces average arterial blood pressure. The gum extract seems to contain relaxant compounds that have an optimistic effect on blood pressure and cardiovascular health.
3. Helps Treat IBS
IBS generally causes severe symptoms, including one or more of the following: alternating diarrhea and constipation, intestinal gas, bloating and cramping, abdominal pain, painful bowel movements, mucous discharge, and undigested food in the stool. Asafoetida has been studied and found to be a successful homeopathic remedy for those suffering from IBS.
A 14-week, double-blind study treated IBS sufferers people with asafoetida or a placebo. Results showed that subjects taking the homeopathic remedy of asafoetida improved to a greater extent than those taking a placebo. Additionally, asafoetida is specifically recommended for IBS sufferers that experience constipation alternating with watery diarrhea, bloated stomach with a lot of gas, and a sensation of a lump in the throat that’s relieved by swallowing and belching. These symptoms are also typically worse after eating and sitting, during the night, and on the left side, but are relieved by pressure and by motion in the open air. (1)
4. Regulates Blood Sugar
Animal studies have shown that asafoetida might be an effective and natural way to help keep blood sugar levels in check and maintain normal blood sugar. When asafoetida extract was given to diabetic animal subjects at a dose of 50 milligrams per kilogram for four weeks, researchers observed a blood sugar-lowering effect. The study concluded that this effect is likely due to the presence of phenolic acids, specifically ferulic acid, and tannins in asafoetida extract. (2)
5. Stabilizes Mood Disorders
Frequent use of asafoetida helps to soothe the body and mind, making it an effective treatment for mood swings, chronic anxiety, depression, and stress. This is an important health benefit of asafoetida, as all of these disorders can cause disaster on your overall system if not appropriately regulated and controlled. (3)
6. Reduces Flatulence
Asafoetida has traditionally been used to expel wind/gas from the stomach. In other words, it’s an antiflatulent agent (gas reducer) that’s used for the alleviation and prevention of excessive intestinal gas. It’s commonly combined with lentils and other legumes just for this reason — to reduce gas post-meal and keep gas in check in check.
I particularly like VPK’s Herbal Di-Gest which is a great formula that is mainly Asafoetida – as it is organic and sustainably sourced. So feel free to use this link to hop onto their site and check them out. Asafoetida or hing is just one of many Ayurvedic remedies for strong digestion. Download our free guide below and get our top tips for healthy digestion.