Some of the most interesting health benefits of asafoetida include its ability to protect the gastrointestinal system, improve menstrual symptoms, reduces inflammation, boost the immune system, eliminate respiratory issues, prevents reproductive disorders, improve mood swings and nervous disorders, and ease the pain.
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What is Asafoetida?
There is a perennial herb genus called Ferula exudes a particular type of sap from its taproot. That sap is a dried latex or resin that is called asafoetida. This plant is native to Iran and the Middle East, but it is found as far as India, where it is widely cultivated. Although the smell of the plant is quite pungent, when used in cooking and food preparation, the taste and aroma is not unlike a leek. Some of the common names for Ferula assa-foetida include asant, Devil’s dung, and ting. The dried variety of asafoetida can be crushed into a spice and added to many different foods, and is commonly found in Indian cuisine, in dressings, glazes, in sautees and as a typical spice. Its pungent smell is usually lessened to a more manageable level when cooked in oil or ghee. It had been used for thousands of years in its native lands, but didn’t cross over into Europe and the West until the 16th century.
However, the real benefit of asafoetida is in the realm of herbal medicine, where it has dozens of common uses. It is composed of approximately 15% volatile oils, including ferulic acid, certain tannols, and a variety of other active components that contribute to the health benefits regularly recorded as a result of consumption. For this reason, asafoetida has become quite popular in the west as an alternative treatment for many common ailments.
Health Benefits of Asafoetida
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the many impressive health benefits of asafoetida.
There is a wealth of research in the world concerning the prevention and treatment of cancer, and as such, asafoetida has received considerable attention. The high concentration of antioxidant compounds, namely ferulic acid and umbrelliprenin, have been shown to actively seek out and neutralize free radicals within the body, and have been directly linked to a reduction in cancerous cells.
Although the exact mechanism of pain relief is still a bit mysterious, asafoetida has been recommended as a safe analgesic for a wide range of pain levels and symptoms, from chronic pain from injuries or surgeries to the colic pain of toddlers. Asafoetida is known to eliminate many of the primary conditions that cause pain, such as eliminating bloating and flatulence build-up in infants, thereby relieving their crying and pain. Whatever your pain symptoms happen to be, adding a bit of asafoetida to your diet certainly won’t hurt.
Insect bites are annoying no matter what country you’re from, and that itching irritation can almost drive you mad. Fortunately, if you create a paste based of asafoetida, you can apply it directly to the spot of the bug bite to speed healing and reduce inflammation, which should also eliminate your desire to constantly scratch it!
One of the ancient uses of asafoetida is as a sexual stimulant, and it is well-known to eliminate symptoms of impotence or infertility in men and women. By stimulating hormonal activity and boosting energy and blood flow, asafoetida is basically an aphrodisiac that is easily accessible and has no side-effects except a better sex life.
As mentioned earlier, asafoetida is often prescribed for those suffering from gas, intestinal worms, IBS, indigestion, and basically any disorder that is affecting your gastrointestinal system. This can include reducing cramping, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, ulcers, and excess flatulence, as well as food poisoning and more serious stomach issues, such as colorectal cancer.
As an antiviral, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant substance, asafoetida is ideal for treating respiratory conditions. It can help to eliminate excess mucus and phlegm from the system, while also neutralizing and bacteria or pathogens that may be in the respiratory tracts, effectively boosting your immune system and letting you breathe easy, even if you suffer from conditions like asthma.
In a similar anti-inflammatory capacity as explained earlier, asafoetida has long been relied on to soothe the pain of headaches. By improving blood flow in the capillaries and eliminating excess free radicals, asafoetida can eliminate the tension and pain of headaches and migraines quite effectively.
Reduces Nervous Disorders
It seems that the list of benefits from asafoetida never stops; you can also use this taproot resin to soothe the body and mind, making it an effective treatment for hysteria, mood swings, chronic anxiety, depression, and stress. This is a crucial health benefit of asafoetida, as all of these disorders can wreak havoc on your overall system if not properly regulated and controlled.
Improves Reproductive Health
Progesterone is one of the most important elements for female reproductive health, and asafoetida stimulates the production of this crucial hormone. This can help to increase the safety of expectant mothers by preventing premature births, excessive bleeding, and sterility, while also lessening the symptoms of menstruations for women in general.
Treats Toothaches & Earaches
Another popular traditional use of asafoetida is in the treatment of toothaches and earaches. You can make a mouth rinse with asafoetida and water for toothaches and an ear drop mixture with coconut oil for earaches. Both of these benefits are due to the anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antibacterial effects of this useful and versatile resin.
A Final Word of Warning: Excessive consumption of asafoetida can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and urination discomfort. Furthermore, if used for extended periods by pre-menopausal women, it can cause irregularities in the menstrual cycle. As is always recommended, consult your medical professional or trained herbalist before adding such a powerful (but beneficial) substance to your diet.