Asafoetida (/æsəˈfɛtɪdə/; also spelled asafetida)[1] is the dried latex (gum oleoresin) exuded from the rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferulaperennial herbs growing 1 to 1.5 m (3 to 5 ft) tall. They are part of the celery family, Umbelliferae. Asafoetida is thought to be in the same genus as silphium, a North African plant now believed to be extinct, and was used as a cheaper substitute for that historically important herb from classical antiquity. The species are native to the deserts of Iran and mountains of Afghanistan where substantial amounts are grown.[2]

Asafoetida has a pungent smell, as reflected in its name, lending it the trivial name of “stinking gum”. The odor dissipates upon cooking; in cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavour reminiscent of leeks or other onion relatives. Asafoetida is also known colloquially as “devil’s dung” in English (and similar expressions in many other languages).


Etymology and other names[edit]


The English name is derived from asa, a latinised form of Persian azā, meaning ‘mastic‘, and Latin foetidus meaning ‘smelling, fetid’, which refers to its strong sulfurous odour.[3]

In the United States, a folk spelling and pronunciation is “asafedity”.[citation needed] It is called perunkayam (பெருங்காயம்) in Tamilhinga (हिंग) in Marathi, yang’eh/ینگہہ in Kashmiri languagehengu (ହେଙ୍ଗୁ) in Odiahiṅ (হিং) in Bengaliingu (ಇಂಗು) in Kannadakāyaṃ (കായം) in Malayalam[4] (it was attested as raamadom in the 14th century), inguva (ఇంగువ) in Telugu,[4] and hīng (हींग) in Hindi.[4] In Pashto, it is called hënjâṇa (هنجاڼه).[5] Its pungent odour has resulted in its being known by many unpleasant names. In French it is known (among other names) as merde du Diable, meaning ‘shit of the Devil’.[6] In English it is sometimes called Devil’s dung, and equivalent names can be found in most Germanic languages (e.g., German Teufelsdreck,[7] Swedish dyvelsträckDutch duivelsdrek,[6] and Afrikaans duiwelsdrek). In Finnish, it is pirunpaska (‘Devil’s shit’) or pirunpihka (Devil’s resin’); in TurkishŞeytan tersiŞeytan boku (‘Satan’s shit’) or Şeytan otu (‘Satan’s weed’);[6] Also, it is called chitt or chiltit (חלתית) (lit. ‘you got sick’) in Hebrew;[8] and in Kashubian it is called czarcé łajno. Other names for it include ting[4] and haltit or tyib in Arabic.[9][clarification needed]and hingu in Malay.[citation needed]


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 acidumbelliferone and four unidentified compounds.[10] The volatile oil component is rich in various organosulfide compounds, such as 2-butyl-propenyl-disulfide, diallyl sulfide, diallyl disulfide (also present in garlic) [11] and dimethyl trisulfide, which is also responsible for the odor of cooked onions.[12] The organosulfides are primarily responsible for the odor and flavor of asafoetida.[13]

Botanical sources[edit]

Many Ferula species are utilized as the sources of asafoetida. Most of them are characterized by abundant sulfur-containing compounds in the essential oil.[14][15]

  • Ferula foetida is the source of asafoetida in Eastern Iran, western Afghanistan, western Pakistan and Central Asia (Karakum DesertKyzylkum Desert).[16][17] It is one of the most widely distributed asafoetida-producing species and often mistaken for F. assa-foetida.[16] It has sulfur-containing compounds in the essential oil.[15]
  • Ferula assa-foetida is endemic to Southern Iran and is the source of asafoetida there. It has sulfur-containing compounds in the essential oil.[14][15] Although it is often considered the main source of asafoetida on the international market, this notion is attributable to the fact that several Ferula species acting as the major sources are often misidentified as F. assa-foetida.[16][18] In fact, the production of asafoetida from F. assa-foetida is confined to its native range, namely Southern Iran, outside which the sources of asafoetida are other species.[15][17][19]
  • Ferula pseudalliacea and Ferula rubricaulis endemic to western and southwestern Iran are sometimes considered conspecific with F. assa-foetida.[16][18]
  • Ferula lutensis is the source of asafoetida in Eastern Iran.[15][17] It has sulfur-containing compounds in the essential oil.[15]
  • Ferula alliacea is the source of asafoetida in Eastern Iran.[17] It has sulfur-containing compounds in the essential oil.[15]
  • Ferula latisecta is the source of asafoetida in Eastern Iran and southern Turkmenistan.[17] It has sulfur-containing compounds in the essential oil.[14]
  • Ferula sinkiangensis is endemic to XinjiangChina. It is the source of asafoetida in China.[20] It has sulfur-containing compounds in the essential oil.[14]
  • Ferula fukanensis is endemic to Xinjiang, China. It is the source of asafoetida in China.[20] It has sulfur-containing compounds in the essential oil.[14]
  • Ferula narthex is native to Afghanistan, northern Pakistan and Kashmir.[16] Although it is often listed as the source of asafoetida, one report stated that it lacked sulfur-containing compounds in the essential oil.[21]



Containers of commercial asafoetida

Raw and Pure Asafoetida Crystals

This spice is used as a digestive aid, in food as a condiment, and in pickling. It plays a critical flavoring role in South Asian vegetarian cuisine by acting as a savory enhancer.[22] Used along with turmeric, it is a standard component of lentil curries, such as dalchickpea curries,[23] and vegetable dishes, especially those based on potato and cauliflower. Asafoetida is used in vegetarian Indian cuisine where it enhances the flavor of numerous dishes, where it is quickly heated in hot oil before sprinkling on the food. Kashmiri cuisine also uses it in lamb/mutton dishes such as rogan josh.[24] It is sometimes used to harmonise sweet, sour, salty, and spicy components in food. The spice is added to the food at the time of tempering. Sometimes dried and ground asafoetida (in small quantities) can be mixed with salt and eaten with raw salad.[13]

In its pure form, it is sold in the form of chunks of resin, small quantities of which are scraped off for use. The odor of the pure resin is so strong that the pungent smell will contaminate other spices stored nearby if it is not stored in an airtight container.[25]

Cultivation and manufacture[edit]

Asafoetida powder

The resin-like gum comes from the dried sap extracted from the stem and roots, and is used as a spice. The resin is greyish-white when fresh, but dries to a dark amber colour. The asafoetida resin is difficult to grate and is traditionally crushed between stones or with a hammer. Today, the most commonly available form is compounded asafoetida, a fine powder containing 30% asafoetida resin, along with rice flour or maida (white wheat flour) and gum arabic.[citation needed]

Ferula assa-foetida is a monoeciousherbaceousperennial plant of the family Apiaceae. It grows to 2 m (6+12 ft) high, with a circular mass of 30–40 cm (12–16 in) leaves. Stem leaves have wide sheathing petioles. Flowering stems are 2.5–3 m (8–10 ft) high and 10 cm (4 in) thick and hollow, with a number of schizogenous ducts in the cortex containing the resinous gum. Flowers are pale greenish yellow produced in large compound umbels. Fruits are oval, flat, thin, reddish brown and have a milky juice. Roots are thick, massive, and pulpy. They yield a resin similar to that of the stems. All parts of the plant have the distinctive fetid smell.[26]


Asafoetida was familiar in the early Mediterranean, having come by land across Iran. It was brought to Europe by an expedition of Alexander the Great, who, after returning from a trip to northeastern ancient Persia, thought they had found a plant almost identical to the famed silphium of Cyrene in North Africa—though less tasty. Dioscorides, in the first century, wrote, “the Cyrenaic kind, even if one just tastes it, at once arouses a humour throughout the body and has a very healthy aroma, so that it is not noticed on the breath, or only a little; but the Median [Iranian] is weaker in power and has a nastier smell.” Nevertheless, it could be substituted for silphium in cooking, which was fortunate, because a few decades after Dioscorides’ time, the true silphium of Cyrene became extinct, and asafoetida became more popular amongst physicians, as well as cooks.[27]

Asafoetida is also mentioned numerous times in Jewish literature, such as the Mishnah.[28] Maimonides also writes in the Mishneh Torah “In the rainy season, one should eat warm food with much spice, but a limited amount of mustard and asafoetida [חִלְתִּית chiltit].”[29]

Though it is generally forgotten now in Europe, it is still widely used in India. Asafoetida is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana (7:5:23-24), which states that one must not have eaten hing before worshipping the deity. Asafoetida is eaten by Brahmins and Jains.[30] Devotees of the Hare Krishna also use hing in their food, as they are not allowed to consume onions or garlic. Their food has to be presented to Lord Krishna for sanctification (to become Prasadam) before consumption and onions and garlic cannot be offered to Krishna.[31]

Asafoetida was described by a number of Arab and Islamic scientists and pharmacists. Avicenna discussed the effects of asafoetida on digestion. Ibn al-Baitar and Fakhr al-Din al-Razi described some positive medicinal effects on the respiratory system.[32]

After the fall of Rome, until the 16th century, asafoetida was rare in Europe, and if ever encountered, it was viewed as a medicine. “If used in cookery, it would ruin every dish because of its dreadful smell”, asserted Garcia de Orta‘s European guest. “Nonsense”, Garcia replied, “nothing is more widely used in every part of India, both in medicine and in cookery.” During the Italian Renaissance, asafoetida was used as part of the exorcism ritual.[33]

See also[edit]

Asafoet or lynx (from the Persian language: waswq, who waswh) or ashaq (from the Persian language: ashaq, who was ashah) or kalakh gum or angudan (in English: Asafoetida) is a bad-tasting vegetable. It is very good as it can only be placed inside a tight container, the best of which is the reddish clear, which, if dissolved in water, will dissolve quickly and make it like coffee. It was said that the best of it was what was red, which is pure, similar to myrrh with a strong smell, and if it was added, its color was white. and not continue to use it. This gum has been known since ancient times and they used to make it in incense to expel jinn and demons. Asafoetida is mainly used to treat convulsions of all kinds, and it is also used to treat chronic inflammation of the bronchi and airways. Asafoetida is useful in treating hysteria, colic, intestinal pain, and treating whooping cough (whooping cough). This herb is also useful in expelling gases collected in the stomach and intestines, and is useful as a sweaty medicine (helps to secrete sweat from the body).

1 Asafoetida in ancient medicine
2 Haltit according to Ibn Sina in the law
3 verbs and properties
4 Haltit according to David of Antioch
5 see also
6 references
Asafoetida in ancient medicine
According to Ibn al-Bitar in his book, which collects the vocabulary of medicines and foods, and has the power to avoid strong attraction, and for this reason, it reduces and dissolves meat. And if he drinks with myrrh and pepper, turn menstruation, and Al-Razi says: I saw him eloquent in nerve ailments, not altered by any medicine in heating and bringing fever. In India, they depend on asafoetida in their bah, which in my opinion is strong because it is very hot.

Haltit according to Ibn Sina in the law
Engdan: The essence: it is black and white, and it is stronger. And this black is not included in foods, its origin is close to the taste and its airy nature. Alasthragas is slow to digest, and this is not in its place, although it is also very slow in digestion. As for asafoetida, which is its gum, we single out another chapter for it, and to use its stew or vinegar takes precedence over its offense. Temperament: dry hot in the third.

Verbs and properties
It is a emollient, and its consistency is inflated, and if the body is rubbed, it is irritated, especially with its milk, it attracts the adornment: it changes the body’s wind, and if it is covered with oil, it dries like a gift of blood under the eye very much. Tumors and pimples: It is useful from internal embolisms, and if it or its origin is mixed with ointments, it is beneficial for pigs. Joints: If mixed with Irsa oil or henna oil, it is especially beneficial for joint pain. Organs of food: Its origin is belching and rationalization of the abdomen, and it is slow to digest and digests, heats the stomach, strengthens it, and breaks up desire. Organs of excretion: If cooked with pomegranate peel vinegar, the needles of breech hemorrhoids produce a foul smell of feces and loose stools, and it harms the bladder. A.H.

Haltit according to David of Antioch
Haltet: Al-Anjdan gum, which is a gum (plowed and for Majmami Al-Kabeer, and it is a gum taken from the plant mentioned at the end of the Leo sign with the condition, and its quality is taken from the Kerman Mountains and its works. It turns yellow, and its strength remains for seven years, and it is hot in the fourth and dry in the third or second, it falls into the great antidote. It analyzes wind, stomach, liver, dropsy, jaundice, spleen, dysuria, internal tumors, sores, hemorrhoids, weakness, nerve weakness, and relaxation of the body by drinking. between the ribs), back aches, and the bad vapors that were retained, epilepsy, quarter fever, and weak Beh drank. Paint, and his eyeliner with honey prevents water and is an antidote to all poisons, fat and food, especially with gentian, rue, and figs. Diarrhea, vomiting, fever and itching of the nose, drinking water of myrtle and apple or drinking sandalwood water will fix it, and it will harm the hot brain, and violet and nillover will fix it, and the liver will fix it by pomegranate, and the lower and more difficult ones will fix it.

It is an appetizer, strong laxative, pain reliever, anthelmintic, gas repellent, good for treating the heart, used in internal diseases, madness and jaundice, useful for treating hysteria, convulsive diseases, angina pectoris, and bloating colic, and it would diarrhea phlegm, raw and thick mixtures, strong diarrhea.

Dosage: 1 g per day (about a quarter of the size of a chickpea). (See the book Saudi Plants Used in Traditional Medicine / College of Pharmacy, King Saud University / Riyadh / Publishers Department of Scientific and Technical Research. See Dawood Al-Antaky’s Ticket, Haltit article.). The dose is half a weight in the ticket and in the treatment of 1-2 grams Supplement: The fair saying is useful in the great benefits of asafoetida: Removes bloating and gases Haltit: increases the secretion of mucus in the nose, airways and urethra.

Asafoetida: increases in body weight if used in combination. Asafoetida is a treatment for the eyes (purdah).
Asafoetida: purifies the voice and chest, and removes bad vapors, epilepsy, and weakness of the beha drink.
Asafoetida: if it is boiled with oil and a cat

Asafoetida: sputum, raw and thick mixtures will cause strong diarrhea.
Asafoetida: benefits from chronic diarrhea and chalazion and its treatment in the literature of Arab and Islamic medicine.
Chalazion and its Treatment in Arabic and Islamic Medicine

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