Asafoetida or ‘hing’ as it is known in Hindi, is derived from ‘foetid’ in Latin, meaning “smelly”. This is because this spice does have a powerful pungent smell, but on cooking mellows down and a flavor similar to garlic or onion is produced. It has been traditionally used in India and Persia in pickles, as a flavoring agent and fragrance. It has numerous health benefits, being antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, sedative, diuretic nature. This spice has been largely forgotten by the west but in India, it has been traditionally used in food to add flavor, and to keep health problems at bay. Read on to find out more benefits of asafetida:
Lowers hypertension / blood pressure
Asafoetida contains coumarins which help in blood thinning and clotting. The anticoagulant property of hing / asafetida protects against cholesterol and triglycerides. Thus, it helps in lowering high blood pressure.
Cures IBS and digestive problems
This spice has been used for centuries as a popular remedy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), upset stomach, indigestion, intestinal gas and worms and flatulence. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic properties allows it to be effective against several stomach problems.
Aids in respiratory disorders
Due to the antiviral, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, asafetida is used to treat various respiratory problems such as bronchitis, asthma, common colds, dry and whooping cough. It also relieves chest congestion and releases phlegm due to its respiratory stimulant action.
Relieves menstrual problems
Hing / asafetida is very beneficial for women as it can help in irregular menstruation, getting rid of menstrual pain and cramps, heavy blood flow as it increases the levels of progesterone thus providing relief during menstruation.
Soothes migraines and headaches
The stress due to our lifestyles often results in headaches and migraines. Instead of using pain killers, you can use asafetida to be rid of migraines, headaches and even toothaches. Dissolving a pinch of asafetida / hing in 1 and ½ cup of water, let it simmer for 15 minutes and drink this throughout the day to relieve your headache. A paste of hing and lemon juice applied on your aching tooth will relieve the pain.
Helps in treating skin ailments
Asafoetida is added to skincare products due to the anti-inflammatory property it possesses. It’s a wonderfully effective remedy for calluses and corns. Any burning sensation can be cooled by asafoetida and it inhibits bacterial growth as well.
Aids in nerve problems
Asafoetida or hing is highly recommended for convulsions, hysteria, syncope and many other disorders of the nerves. It stimulates nerves, thus protecting against nerve ailments.
Lowers blood sugar
Adding asafetida to your food regularly can help in lowering blood sugar. It does this by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin which decreases blood sugar levels. Thus, asafetida is an effective remedy for diabetes and can help to control diabetes.
Provides cancer protection
Free radicals in the body can increase cancer risk. Asafoetida is a known antioxidant and when it is consumed regularly, it can protect the body from free radicals, thus decreasing the risk of cancer. The anti-carcinogenic property of hing can hinder the malignant cells from multiplying, thereby reducing the spread of cancer in the body.
Helps to treat male sexual disorders
What many people are not aware of is that hing / asafetida can be used to treat spermatorrhoea, premature ejaculation and impotency. Adding a pinch of hing in the food prevents and treats various male sexual disorders. Mixing a bit of hing in a glass of warm water and drinking it is said to enhance the libido by improving the blood flow.
Relieves ear pain
The antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties of hing / asafetida helps in relieving ear aches, which are caused by infections. Melting a piece of hing in some coconut oil and using this as ear drops (when lukewarm) can treat ear pain. 2-3 drops of this mixture is enough at one time, and you can use as needed.
Using asafetida / hing regularly in food can treat many ailments in the body, including indigestion, respiratory disorders, skin problems, diabetes, cancer, sexual problems, menstrual problems, hypertension and so on. This is one spice which should be consumed regularly to avail of its many benefits.