Health benefits of Asafoetida
Asafoetida is a plant based resin and is hard contains the color white when fresh and turns into yellow along with age and eventually attains brown color. It is very hard in nature and needs to be crushed into powder before using it.
Generally asafoetida is not used in virgin state. It is commercially available in mixed form which contains 30% of asafoetida and starch or wheat powder and gum. This is called compounded asafoetida and is available in hard briquette form as well as in powder form. Asafoetida tablets are also available in the market or on Amazon.
It is widely used in cooking in Mediterranean region and Indian sub-continent. When cooked it attains a flavor similar to onion and also it emanates a pungent smell of onion. This is because both of them contains a common chemical i.e., sulfur. It is used in minute quantity in cooking and it is also used as a condiment. It is exclusively used in legumes / lentils / beans which contains protein and fiber in rich quantities and also produce gas. Asafoetida is a good agent that neutralizes gas and helps ease the digestion. Garlic also has similar quality. One important note in this context – do not use onion or garlic & asafoetida together while cooking. Ayurveda uses it as a gas expeller and advises that it should be taken regularly twice a day. A pinch of asafoetida contains only one calorie without fat, cholesterol, sodium or sugar.
To remove impurities in asafoetida, dissolve it in water and boil it till water gets evaporated.
Despite strong pungent smell, asafoetida is being used in production of perfumes as a fragrant enhancer.
Major nutrients of asafoetida are iron, calcium, carbohydrate in large quantities, and to some extent protein & dietary fiber.
Asafoetida is available in white and black colors. White one is available in crystalline form and it has good medicinal qualities. Now-a-days both types are available in powdered form. Since asafoetida has unusual taste and strong smell, it is available in compounded powder form.
Health benefits of asafoetida –
It is used as a digestive aid. In several regions it is used as a medicine for flatulence . It is also good laxative and can be used for constipation problems.
Lungs related issues
It also alleviates asthma & bronchitis. The volatile oil in the asafoetida gum penetrates into lungs and expels the phlegm and provides good relief from chest congestion.
Also it is believed it works well for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) a decease which is increasing at alarming rate throughout the world.
Asafoetida has a chemical that has blood thinning quality and hence it prevents blood clotting. Blood clots can prevent blood flow to lungs, heart or brain. Hence asafoetida saves us from having heart attack or stroke.
Controls blood pressure and insulin levels
It is also believed asafoetida lowers blood pressure. Drinking warm water with a pinch of asafoetida improves smooth blood flow.
Asafoetida works well in regulating blood sugar levels. It encourages body cells to produce more insulin and thereby reducing sugar level. It also brings down excessive cholesterol levels in blood.
Used in medications
Asafoetida is an anti-inflammatory substance and has excellent anti-oxidant properties. These two qualities make it to be widely used in medications. It is also used in Ayurveda and homeopathic medicines. It is also available as a supplement and in several other forms on Amazon.
Due to anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, asafoetida is used in skin related medicines.
Anti-inflammatory compounds in asafoetida useful in reliving menstrual cramps, painful menstruation and irregular periods in women. It even resumes menstrual periods after menstruation got stopped for any reason.
It is also useful in treating men’s sexual problems. It is very good agent to improve impotency, pre-mature ejaculation and other related issues. It also removes infertility in both men and women.
Anti-oxidants in asafoetida is good for relieving from various kinds of pains, for example tooth ache, migraine etc. Asafoetida mixed warm water relieves from headaches and migraines. Mix asafoetida with lemon juice and prepare it like a paste and apply on painful teeth to get relief from pain.
Asafoetida is a pesticide
Asafoetida is a good repelling agent that can drive away cats & dogs. It is also a good repellent for insects and other organisms harmful to crops. Commercial pesticides made of chemicals destroy and kill insects. Fruits and vegetables do have traces of these pesticides and these cannot be removed even after washing and is harmful to our body. Unlike pesticides, asafoetida does not kill insects but it repels them. Also traces or deposit of asafoetida on the crop is not harmful to our body. Hence these pesticides are also deposited on crop when sprayed and harmful for our body when the crop produce is consumed.
Since asafoetida is a natural blood thinner, it may cause blood pressure to go too low in the people having low blood pressure. Hence they should not consume asafoetida.
It is recommended pregnant women should not consume asafoetida. It may cause miscarriage.
Breast feeding women should avoid asafoetida – certain chemicals in asafoetida could pass into infants through breast milk and it may result in bleeding disorders.
If consumed in high quantities, it may cause nausea, diarrhea, burping, lip swelling.
Children should avoid consuming asafoetida since it may cause blood disorders. They can eat food to which asafoetida is added in minimum quantity for taste and flavor.
Disclaimer: Data in this site is solely of a general reference nature. People on medication should continue to visit their physician. It has no intention of replacing the medical treatment or consultation. Please do follow medical advice of your physician.
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