Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Asafoetida

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Asafoetida is one of the spices used to enhance the flavor of Indian food in everyday cooking

Asafoetida is one of the spices used to enhance the flavor of Indian food in everyday cooking. Singara, Dalpuri, Alupuri etc. remain incomplete in taste without asafoetida. Asafoetida is also used in South Indian casual dishes like sambar, rasam, dal, merubara, broth curry etc. Asafoetida is a much-loved spice in Indian cuisine and is widely used. Asafoetida is used in various cuisines in some regions of Bangladesh.

Well known as Asafoetida in Bangladesh-India. Although it has different names depending on the region. Asafoetida is an ancient spice food. The scientific name is Ferula assa-foetida (Ferula assa-foetida L). Belongs to the family Umbelliferae. Asafoetida was once and still is widely used in the Indian subcontinent. These species grow in the deserts of Iran and the mountains of Afghanistan. Asafoetida is native to the rocky regions of Iran and Afghanistan, but is widely cultivated in India. Asafitida was once very popular in the early Mediterranean region. Although it has now almost disappeared from Europe and is now widely used in India. In Iran and Afghanistan, their common name is badian, which means gas or air. A special use of hing is to remove flatulence or gas in the stomach.

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Asafitida has a pungent smell. Their tribal name is stinking gum. But dishes cooked with asafoetida smell like onions. After cooking, their flavor changes to aromatic. Asafitida is sometimes referred to as “food of the devils” or “devil’s dung”. Asafoetida was once used to make fishing rods. The smell of asafoetida was crowded with different types of fish besides lionfish.

Asafoetida is harvested from the root of the Ferula asaphytida plant. Asafoetida is actually the dried pulp that is collected from the rhizome or tap root. When the tree is five years old, it is cut from the root and placed in an earthen pot to collect the pulp. When the grass accumulates and fills up, new pots are planted again. Initially, the color of this tissue is white. Later gradually the cells started to acquire yellow color. For about 3 months, this cyst continues to come out. About 1 kg of resin is available from one tree. Asafoetida is also used as a medicinal ingredient in several countries including India and Nepal. The name hing is more familiar to us as a spice. Asafoetida is collected from several species of Ferula. It is a perennial plant, growing from one to one and a half meters tall.

Several Arabic and Islamic scientists and pharmacists describe Asafitida. The famous physician Ibn Sina discusses the effects of Asafitida on digestion. Ibn al-Baytar and Fakhr al-Din al-Razi discuss some of the positive actions of asafoetida on the respiratory system.

Asafitida was scarce in Europe until the 16th century. Whatever was available was used as medicine. But in India it was widely used as a spice and medicine. At one time in Italy, asafitida was used in religious ceremonies to exorcise demons.

Asafoetida is a very important herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Reduces the amount of gas in the stomach and increases the efficiency of digestive enzymes. Asafoetida has been used for ages to cure indigestion and various stomach ailments. Asafoetida is a very good anti-oxidant. Improves memory power. It also plays a role in reducing obesity. Asafoetida acts as an antacid. As a herbal medicine, hing is used to treat various types of bacteria and fungi. Asafoetida’s antimicrobial benefits are well documented.

Asafoetida contains calcium, fiber, protein, phosphorus and niacin. Medicines made with asafoetida work to preserve the liver. A combination of asafoetida is known to reduce the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease. Asafoetida is very beneficial for diabetic patients. Helps relieve dry cough, whooping cough, bronchitis or chest cold. Asafoetida has a role in food preservation.

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