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Benefits of Asafetida

Updated: January 1, 2011 12:13 pm

Asafetida, also known as ‘hing’ in Hindi, is a spice with a very strong odor when raw, but gives a pleasant smell and flavour when added to hot ghee or oil. It is one of the main spices to season different food items. It is the spice that replaces garlic and onion for those who do not use them. It gives good flavour to dal, rasam, sambar, chutneys and pickles. It is specially used in green leafy vegetables as it reduces the flatulence. In addition to giving flavour to various dishes, it has amazing health benefits. In the days of Wild West in America, it was used as a cure to alcoholism and the strong smell of it was thought to bring people out of hysteria and calm them. It was formerly used as carminative, antispasmodic and as an expectorant. It is thought to exercise a stimulant action on brain and also a local stimulant to mucus membrane especially to the elementary tract and used as laxative medicine. Here are some of its health benefits.
■ Warm a pinch of asafetida in a spoon of caster oil and take it with a cup of warm water. This will give relief from stomach ache.
■ Warm a ¼ spoon of asafetida in one spoon of pure ghee and take it with a cup of buttermilk.
■ Sometimes gas problems give us lot of trouble. We wake up in the middle of the night and feel very uncomfortable. In such a situation we can take a pinch of asafetida, warm it in little ghee and take with water this gives relief from gas and this can be repeated 3 times a day.
■ To get relief from giddiness and fainting add a pinch of asafetida to a spoonful of hot ghee, add this to a cup of water and drink 3 times a day.
■ Some women get stomach pain during the menstrual cycle and every month it is a nightmare for them. They can get relief from this pain by taking a pinch of asafetida and warm it with a spoon of ghee and take along with rice. This should be taken at the start of the meal. Regular use of this every month will definitely give them relief from stomach ache.
■ For those who suffer from respiratory problems, asthma etc can get benefit by taking one gram of asafetida roasted and added to the same amount of jaggery (gur).
■ According to a study the roots of Asafetida produces natural anti viral drug compound that kill the swine flu virus H1N1.
■ It is used to aid indigestion by adding water to it and smearing it on the abdomen of the affected person.
■ A pinch of asafetida in a glass of water helps in the effective relieving the problem of bloating.
■ Add a pinch of asafetida to a spoon of honey, one spoon of white onion juice and one spoon of betel leaf juice. Mix well to get relief from whooping cough, asthma and bronchitis.
■ It helps to relieve tooth ache, which is caused due to dental cavities.
■ In Ayurveda and Unani medicine, it is used to treat epilepsy and bronchitis etc.
■ For those suffering from indigestion take 20gm of asafetida, 20 g of saindha lavan (rock salt), 20gm of dry ginger (roast little to make powder), 20g of pippal, 20g of pepper. Make powder of all these ingredients, mix well and store in a bottle. By adding little water this paste can be smeared on the abdomen of the effected person to get relief from indigestion.
■ Due to its pungent smell, mixed with garlic it prevents snakebite and repels insects.
■ It is useful in lowering blood pressure and treating cardiovascular diseases because of its sedative properties.
The herbal oil of asafetida is beneficial for its calming effect on muscles affected by spasms. It is extensively used in the external treatment of physical and emotional symptoms connected to sudden mood swings and depression in different people. All the medical and various other benefits of Asafetida makes it an invaluable herb which can help maintain the overall health of a person.

By N Suguna

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