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Oct 1

Written by: Jayanthi
Monday, October 01, 2007

Also known as:  Hing/Ing (Hindi), Perungayam (Malayalam and Tamil).
Note: Within my site, this spice is interchangeably referred to as asafetida or ing.

Why write about Asafetida?  I am captivated by this spice for many reasons.  Its aroma in the bottle is quite pungent, and most likely is not a spice people would like to sniff for cooking inspiration (in contrast to possibly, oregano, cumin, etc.); however this scent becomes camouflaged once added to many dishes.  It is this very same scent that when added to bean and other dishes reduces stomach upset and gas.

Parts of the plant used:  Root as a resin or, more commonly, powder.

Ayurvedic Use as quoted from The Ayurvedic Encyclopedia: Natural Secrets to Healing, Prevention and Longevity, by Swami Sada Shiva Tirtha . (page 155)

-I am providing this information for your reference only.  I am not a physician or ayurvedic doctor.  Consult your doctor or ayurvedic practitioner for indications based on your particular health concerns and/or dosha imbalances.-

Reduces Vata and Kapha, increases Pitta.
Acts as a stimulant, carminative, antispasmodic, anthelmintic.
Used for:  It is the best Vayu spice (wind reducing), relieves abdominal distention, pain, cramping and gas, parasites, worms, candida, delayed or difficult menstruation, pain, mental disorders (nervousness, vertigo, anxiety, hysteria, worry, depression), lethargy, cough, asthma, arthritis, headaches, nerve pain, paralysis, circulation.
Do not use for meditation or yoga, it aggravates bile or acid conditions.

I have used Asafetida to benefit my health:  I add a pinch of this powdered spice to any dish that I think will produce gas, bloating or is very oily.  (I have never used the raw or resin form.)  For me this spice has been very successful in reducing the same.  Also, when I experience various stomach upsets – gas, heaviness, bloating, I mix together 2-3 tablespoons yogurt with twice the water, a pinch of this spice and a little less salt.  It doesn’t smell all that great, but within 10-15 minutes at the most, the problem is gone.  I learned this remedy in Chennai, though many of my Indian friends from other parts of India have not heard of this.  So, when I found Anjali Damerla’s post endorsing this, my claims had some backing.  Thank you, Anjali!

I have used Asafetida in cooking:  I use asafetida in almost all dishes because of it’s power to initiate digestion.  The most popular dishes I put it in are bean or lentil dishes: dhal based curries, sambars, or sabjis (i.e. spicy spinach dishes, Rajmah, chole masala) or ground up lentil pastes used to make dosai, idli or vadas.  I have even put it in non-Indian dishes, like baked falafel.  It is noted that I have not noticed any difference in the taste in the final product with or without this spice, so you don’t need it to make these dishes, but it helps in the final outcome of how the body digests it.

Herb of the Month Column Listings: Fenugreek/Methi 


References:  Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages  |  Herbal Bookshelf  |  Mahanandi  |  Wikipedia

How have you benefited from using Asafetida?  Share below.


Copyright ©2007 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar


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