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Asafoetida: Why This Stinky Herb Is so Beneficial

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

asafoetida benefits

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  • The Indian cooking spice asafoetida is a gum obtained from a type of giant fennel. It has an offensive smell akin to that of rotting garlic and sweaty feet, but an appetizing savory, umami taste
  • With its onion-garlic flavor, you can use it as a substitute for either of those ingredients. Many recommend using it in bean-based dishes, as it helps prevent gassiness
  • Asafoetida has antibacterial, antiparasitic and antiviral properties. In 2009, researchers discovered certain compounds in the herb were more effective at killing the H1N1 influenza virus than the commercial antiviral drug amantadine
  • Asafoetida also has antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant, laxative and sedative properties, just to name a few. Historical uses include the treatment of nervous conditions, bronchitis, asthma, whooping cough and more
  • This smelly herb can also be useful for the prevention and treatment of various gut ailments, and for feminine health issues such as sterility, premature labor, painful and excessive menstruation and leucorrhoea

The Indian cooking spice asafoetida — a name that translates into “rotten resin” — also known as hing, hingu or heeng, is a gum obtained from a type of giant fennel. It has an offensive smell akin to that of rotting garlic and sweaty feet, but an appetizing savory, umami taste. In France, the herb is known as devil’s dung.

According to GoodFood.com, Jain and Brahmin Indians have long used it in lieu of garlic and onions. It’s also popular among those in whom onions cause digestive trouble.


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