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Ferula foetida

Botanical name: ferula foetida, Ferula northex
Nepali Name: Hing

Origin, Distribution Composition
Asafoetida is a resinous gum of a tall perennial herb, with robust carrot shaped roots. It is dirty yellow in colour with a pungent smell. It is used as a flavouring agent and forms a constituent of many spice mixtures.
ferula asafoetida
Asafoetida has several varieties which are distributed from the mediterranean Region to central Asia . It is grown in Iran and Afghanistan. The other species, known botanically as Ferula northex, grow abundantly in Kashmir, Western Tibet and Afghanistan. It forms a good substitute for asafoetida.

An analysis of asafoetida shows it to consist of carbohydrates 67.8 percent per 100gms, moisture 16.0percent, protein 4.0 percent, fat 1.1 percent, mineral 7.0 percent and fibre 4.1percent.            
Its minerals and vitamin contents include substantial calcium besides phosphorus, iron, carotene, riboflavin and niacin .Its calorific value is 297.
Asafoetida contains resin, gum, volatile oil and ash. The resin consists chiefly of asarenotennol, free or combined with ferulic acid. Umbelliferone seems to be present in the combined state.

Therapeutic Uses:

Healing Power and properties
Asafoetida has been held in great esteem amongst indigenous medicines from the earlist time in India. It is reputed as a drug which expels wind from the stomach and counteracts any spasmodic disorders. It is also a nervine stimulant, digestive agent and a sedative.

Respiratory Disorder

Asafoetida is useful in the treatment of respiratory disorders like whooping cough, asthma and bronchitis. About 3to6 centigrams of this gum, mixed with 2 teaspoon of honey, a quarter teaspoon of white anion juice and 1 teaspoon of betel leaf juice, taken thrice daily would keep the patient away from such disorders.

The herb is an effective remedy for hysteria. Inhaling this gum prevent hysterical attacks. An emulsion made by 2 grams of the gum with 120 ml of water is a valuable enema per rectum in treating hysteria, when oral dosage not advisable.

The herb is beneficial in the treatment of impotency. About 6 centigrams of asafoetida should be fried in ghee and mixed with honey and a teaspoon of fresh latex of banyan tree. This mixture should be taken once daily for 40 days before sunrise. It is also considered a specific medicine for spermatorrhoea and premature ejaculation.

Children's Disorders
The herb is extensively used in the treatment of nervous disorders of children .There is an old European belief that a small piece of this gum, hung around a child's neck, would protect it from many disease, especially germs which are sensitive to its particular odour.

Women's Ailments        
The herbs is considered useful in the treatment of several problems concerning women such as sterility, unwanted abortion, pre-mature labour, unusually painful, difficult, and excessive menstruation and leucorrhoea. About 12 centigrams of gum fried in the ghee mixed with 120 grams of goat's fresh milk and a table spoon of honey, should be given thrice daily for a month. It excites the secretion of progesterone hormone.

Asafoteida is also useful for women after childbirth. Owing to its antiflatulent and digestive properties, the herb can be taken with beneficial result during the post-delivery period. In southren India, the powder of the herb mixed with the rice is given to women after delivery.

Stomach Disorder
The herb is an effective remedy for several diseases of the stomach. It is one of the best remedies available for flatulence and is an essential ingredient for most of the digestive powders.
In the case of flatulence and distension of the stomach, asafoetida should be dissolved in the hot water and a pad of cloth steeped in it may be used for fomenting the abdomen.

Asafoteida is useful in alleviating toothache. After being pestled in lemon juice, it is slightly heated. A cotton piece, soaked in the lotion and placed in the cavity of the tooth, relieves pain quickly.

Preparation and Doses:
Asafoteida fried in ghee is administered either as a solution, emulsion or pills .The dose is 30 to 90 centigrams. The solution is made by thoroughly mixing 20 grams of the gum with the half a litre of water. The dosage for adults is one to two tablespoons and one-fourth to half for children.

Other Uses:
Antidote of Opium:
The herb is used as an antidote of opium. Given in the same quantity as opium ingested by the patient, it will counteracts the effect of the drugs.
The gum resin isrelished as a condiment in India and Iran where it is used to flavour  curries, meatballs, dal and pickles. It is used in Europe and United States in perfumes and for flavouring. The whole plant is used as afresh vegetable.

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