Asafoetida, also called devil’s dung, is a perennial plant native to the Middle East. The name comes from the Farsi aza (resin) and the Latin foetidus (smelly). Just grows in parts of Iran, Afghanistan and Kashmir. This interesting herb produces a gum from the roots that is harvested after the plant reaches maturity. Ferula asafoetida resin is produced by solidifying juice that comes out of cuts made in the plant’s living roots. Ferula asafoetida has pungent smell like sulphur, which dissipates on cooking.Indians add it to a spoon of hot ghee to decrease its odor and taste better. Due to the unpleasant odor of raw asafoetida, it is generally stored in airtight containers.
Asafoetida is one of the herbal remedies which used in eastern medicine for treating respiratory tract infections and cough. Antiviral effect has been showed in vitro against the influenza A virus (H1N1). In 2009, researchers at the “Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan” reported that the roots of Asafoetida produce natural antiviral medicine compounds that kill the swine flu virus, H1N1. Ayurvedic therapists use asafoetida in antispasmodic and anti-flatulent mixtures. There is some scientific finding that the chemicals in asafoetida might help treat IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Pungent sulphurous smell of Asafoetida is considered to calm epilepsy and hysteria.
Traditionally, a daily dosage of asafetida resin 200 to 500 mg is used. If used in a raw form can cause vomiting, nausea and may led to irritation of throat.