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Asafoetida

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  • Botanical: Ferula assafoetida
  • Family: Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
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Asafoetida

Botanical

Ferula assafoetida

Family

Apiaceae or Umbelliferae

Known as

Ferula scorodosma, Asafetida, Ferula assa-foetida, Asant, Stinkasant, Teufelsdreck

Collection Times

June

Parts Used

leaves, roots

Medicinal

abdominal pain, bronchitis, blood cleansing, bronchitis, circulation, constipation, coughs, cramps, cramps stomach, diarrhea, digestion, flatulence, high blood preasure, indigestion, intestinal parasites, stomach pain, vomiting, worm, tapeworms

Heart & Circulation

blood cleansing, high blood pressure, vascular

Respiratory System

bronchitis, catarrh, cough, difficulty breathing, respiratory

Stomach & Intestinal

abdominal pain, bowel cleansing, constipation, diarrhea, digestion, flatulence, gastrointestinal, gastric inflammation, laxative, indigestion, intestinal parasites, tapeworms, vomiting, worm, emetic

Properties

antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, deodorant, expectorant, parasiticide, sedative, stimulant, tonic

Description

A coarse umbelliferous plant growing up to 7 feet high, large fleshy root covered with bristly fibres, has been for some time successfully cultivated in Edinburgh Botanical Gardens; stem 6 to 10 feet, numerous stem leaves with wide sheathing petioles; flowers pale greeny yellow, fruit oval, flat thin, foliaceous, reddish brown with pronounced vittae, it has a milky juice and a strong foetid odour; These high plains are arid in winter but are thickly covered in summer with a luxuriant growth of these plants. The great cabbage-like folded heads are eaten raw by the natives. 

Properties & Uses

Asafoetida is a very effective medicinal herb that acts mainly on the digestive system, cleansing and strengthening the gastro-intestinal tract. It is much used in the Ayurvedic tradition. The gum-resin contains a volatile oil that is as persistent in aroma as garlic. They leave the body via the respiratory system and aid the coughing up of congested mucous. The pungently flavoured gum-resin that is obtained from the root is alterative, anthelmintic, antiperiodic, antispasmodic, carminative, deobstruent, deodorant, expectorant, laxative, sedative and stomachic. It is used in the treatment of simple digestive problems such as wind, bloating, indigestion and constipation, and also for respiratory problems such as bronchitis, bronchial asthma and whooping cough. It is also used as a circulatory stimulant, lowering blood pressure and thinning the blood. The resin has a synergistic effect on other herbal preparations such as camphor, valerian and nux-vomica. It is used in tincture as a mild cardio-tonic. As an aphrodisiac.

Other Uses

A gum-resin is obtained from incisions in the roots and rhizomes. The stem is removed at the end of the growing season, the root uncovered and a thin slice removed. Another report says that the stem is removed as the plant starts to flower. The gum exudes and hardens and a fresh slice is then made. The gum should be stored in an air-tight container to prevent its strong flavour contaminating nearby substances. The gum is a source of an essential oil which has medicinal properties and is also used as a food flavouring and in perfumery.

Cautions

Do not use orally. Avoid during pregnancy as possible increased bleeding. Topical use may cause skin irritation

Distribution

The species is native to the deserts of Iran, mountains of Afghanistan, and is mainly cultivated in nearby India.

Constituents

Typical asafoetida contains about 40–64% resin, 25% endogeneous gum, 10–17% volatile oil, and 1.5–10% ash. The resin portion is known to contain asaresinotannols 'A' and 'B', ferulic acid, umbelliferone and four unidentified compounds.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.