Asofoetida (scientific name Ferula asafoetida) is also known as Asafetida, Assafetida, Assafoetida, Devil’s Dung, Devil’s Durt, Food of the Gods (Persian), Laser (Roman), Stinking Gum, Hing (Hindi). The name is combination of Persian aza (meaning resin) and Latina foetidus (meaning stinking). Asofoetida has been used as a spice in ancient Rome. Although it is not native to India, Asofoetida is widely used in Indian medicines and cookery for ages.
The spice, Asofoetida is hard resinous gum, from sap of roots and stem. The resin is powdered and used. Resin is composed of coumarin. Asofoetida has pungent smell like sulphur, which dissipates on cooking. It adds onion like pleasant flavour to food. Minute quantities of asafoetida is added is added directly to cooking oil or cooking liquid.
Health benefits of Asafoetida can be attributed to its medicinal properties like carminative, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and others. Health benefits of Asafoetida are summarized below: