FWD 2 HerbClip: News

Asafetida – A Grounding Herb

Asafetida (asafoetida; hing; Ferula assa-foetida) is an oleo-gum-resin which exudes from the root of the perennial herbs of the Ferula species. It is grown in Afghanistan, Iran, and India and is used as both a cooking spice and healing herb. While it can be found in markets in block form, it is usually sold as a yellow powder and has an intense smell – a little goes a long way. It has been said to have a sulfurous, bad onion odor, which dissipates to a more pleasant onion-garlic smell when cooked.

With both pungent and healing activities, asafetida is used for digestive, nervous, circulatory, and respiratory conditions. It is used as a stimulant, carminative, analgesic, aphrodisiac and fertility enhancer (See HC 051164-432), antiseptic, and antispasmodic.

Considered to have powerful digestive properties, asafetida can remove food stagnation from the gastrointestinal tract and break up impacted fecal matter. The resin cleanses the intestinal flora while strengthening digestive fire. It is very good for Vata (air) conditions and can dispel intestinal gas and relieve cramping. It has been used for whooping cough, asthma, and bronchitis. Externally, asafetida can be used as a paste for abdominal, arthritic, and joint pain.

Asafetida is considered to have a grounding effect but can dull the mind. In Ayurveda, it is delineated as tamasic, having the properties of inertia, darkness, dullness, and resistance. Asafetida can therefore balance an overactive, over emotional, turbulent system.

Asafetida is often used in kichadi (pronounced kicheri), a healing stew in Ayurveda. The basic ingredients are basmati rice, split mung beans, and ghee (clarified butter). Depending on the nutritional needs of the system, a variety of herbs, spices, and vegetables can be added to promote healing.

Lori Glenn,  Managing Editor