Asafoetida (Ferula assa-foetida), also known as “hing,” is a resinous gum obtained from the tapping of the root or lower part of the stem or the cut section of the stem of the Ferula assa-foetida plant.

The plant has two genders, male and female, and the gum of asafoetida is extracted from the female type. The male plant has a fleshy, tall stem that grows up to 2 meters in height. It has yellow flowers at the top of the plant in the form of umbels, which eventually develop into seeds.

The underground stem of the female type of this plant, which spreads on the ground, is not visible in the initial years, but eventually, after a few years, these stems grow and become thick. The resinous gums are extracted by cutting these stems. The harvesting of this plant begins in spring and continues until mid-summer.

Asafoetida has various types that differ in their growth regions, properties, taste, and aroma. The F. foetida species, which has a mild taste and a strong, pungent odor, grows in the Fars province and the Larestan region and is known as “bitter asafoetida.”

Another type of this plant, F. alliacea, grows in the Khorasan and Kerman regions and is known as “sweet asafoetida.”

Asafoetida is consumed orally, as a tonic, and through inhalation.

The properties of asafoetida include:

1. It is carminative and soothing.
2. It is used in the treatment of respiratory disorders such as asthma, bronchitis, and black cough.
3. It is anti-flatulent and improves digestive disorders.
4. Due to its medicinal properties, it is used as a flavor enhancer.


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