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Wholesale Asafoetida

Ferula asafoetida
plant overview
asafoetida, a common indian spice

Asafoetida or asafetida refers to the gum or latex obtained from the taproot of an ancient plant simultaneously known as Devil's Dung and Food of the Gods. While it has a history of use in various applications, asafoetida is best known as a spice used in Indian cooking.

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Asafoetida, the common Indian spice

A Bit of Botany

a bit of botanical information about asafoetida

Ferula asafoetida is a monoecious, herbaceous, perennial plant of the family Umbelliferae, also called Apiaceae. It grows to 6 or 7 feet high, with a circular mass of 10-15 inch leaves. Stem leaves have wide sheathing petioles. Flowering stems are 8-10 feet high and 4 inches 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.

common names
& nomenclature

The English name is derived from the Persian word for resin (asa) and Latin foetida, which refers to its strong sulfurous odor.

Also known as:
ferula assafoetida, asafetida, asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, jowani badian, stinking gum, devil's dung, as well as hing and ting.

Where in the World

habitat and range for asafoetida

Ferula asafoetida is native to the mountains of Afghanistan, and is mainly cultivated in nearby India.

Cultivation & Harvesting

considerations for growing asafoetida

Asafoetida prefers full sun, does not grow well in the shade.

Grow Asafoetida in light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Prefers well-drained soils.

Asafoetida can be grown from seed; direct sow outdoors in fall as soon as the ground can be worked.

The resin-like gum that comes from the dried sap of the plant is extracted from the stem and roots and is used as a spice. The resin is grayish-white when fresh but dries to a dark amber color. The asafoetida resin is difficult to grate and is traditionally crushed between stones or with a hammer.

Store asafoetida powder in a cool, dry place.

The Rest of The Story

asafoetida history, folklore, literature & more

understanding asafoetida
There are many herbs that are common household names, but asafoetida isn't one of them. However, asafoetida is an herb that every household should have in it. That's because it helps to treat a wide variety of conditions and can truly improve your health.

For example, asafoetida can help to stabilize your mental health. It's been used for centuries to help calm the nerves and reduce anxiety. In fact, in the 1800s, it was the most commonly prescribed herb for this type of problems. With the advent of modern medicine, many herbal remedies have been tossed to the wayside. However, you shouldn’t discount the remedies of your grandparents and great grandparents.

If you're battling high cholesterol, asafoetida can help to reduce your cholesterol levels to a healthy number. It's the main ingredient in Worcestershire sauce, so you may want to consider adding that to your plate when you have a fatty meal. However, you can also take it in the form of a powder.

Asafoetida can also help to relieve problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. It does this by helping to reduce the gas in your digestive system. When gas is absorbed and reduced, you don’t have so many problems with painful intestinal cramping and discomfort.

It's also a reliable method for killing off intestinal parasites such as worms. It's a natural way to relieve the body of parasites without painful side effects. You'll be restored to good health in no time.

Topically, asafoetida can be used to treat insect bites. It can also be used to repel the insects that are doing the biting. You’ll just need to use an ointment or cream that contains asafoetida to treat your skin. The smell of the herb will help you to keep the bugs at bay.

Additionally, asafoetida can be a helpful remedy for serious coughing problems such as bronchitis or whooping cough. It helps to relieve the spasms in the airways that are causing the coughing in the first place.

One word of caution, asafoetida shouldn't be taken by women who are pregnant. It could cause a miscarriage. It can also affect your hormonal cycles, so it may not be the best choice if you're having problems with your menstrual periods.

However, for most people asafoetida is a great solution for the problems of gas and spasmodic coughing. You'll want to stock your pantry with asafoetida powder so you'll have it on hand when you need it most.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised: 
Before making any changes to your diet you should always consult with your doctor,
especially if you are pregnant, nursing or have existing conditions.

PHOTO (TOP): ©Henriette Kress, AHG
Visit Henriette's Herbal Homepage for more great pictures.