Flower Oils & Absolutes
Peppermint / Menthol
Botanical Name Asafoetida: Ferula assafoetida
Synonyms: Stinking gum, Hing, Giant Fennel, Ting, Devil’s Dung, Jowani Badian
Asafoetida is widely used in India in different kinds of food for the taste and aroma. Many of the European countries have stopped using it because of the stink and taste. So there is wide difference of opinion about its use in different parts of the world. It was Alexander the Great who brought it to Europe after his conquering expedition to Persia. It was widely found in the north eastern Persia and he thought that he had found a plant identical to the silphium of North America.
History of Asafoetida
Asafoetida has some medicinal properties also. So soon silphium was replaced by asafoetida by physicians and cooks. Many Arab and Islamic pharmacists and scientists talked about the effect of asafoetida on digestion. It was said to be having some medicinal effects on the respiratory system also. Jewish physicians too talked about asafoetida and its medicinal values. They had described that spicy food should be eaten with warm food during rainy season but with limited amount of asafoetida and mustard. After the fall of Roman Empire in the 16th century Asafoetida was seen only as a medicine. The usage of asafoetida was rare.
Properties of Asafoetida
Asafoetida is widely used in India as digestive aid in food. It is used as a condiment in food and in pickles. It enhances the flavour of the food and with turmeric it is a standard factor in many of the Indian cuisine. It is believed to complement the sweet, sour, salty and spicy components in the dishes.
The odour of asafoetida is very strong and if not stored in airtight containers it will pollute the odour and taste of other spices. Most of the containers with asafoetida are sealed in airtight plastic containers with a small hole in the centre to serve lightly over the food while it is being cooked. To dilute the flavour and odour heating the asafoetida powder over oil or ghee is the best and correct way.
Health Benefits and Applications Asafoetida:
In India asafoetida is used as antibiotic and when served to small children it will keep them away from diseases.
It is believed to be the best medicine to fight influenza. In 1918, it was used to fight Spanish Influenza pandemic.
Taiwanese scientists have found out that root of asafoetida produces a natural medicine that kills the H1N1 virus.
It is also used to help digestion.
It is also said to be a good medicine for asthma and bronchitis.
Unani medicine use asafoetida as an antiepileptic medicine.
Ayurveda also uses asafoetida for cure of many diseases.
Asafoetida is considered to be good medicine to treat impotency in men. A mixture of asafoetida fried in ghee mixed with spoonful of fresh banyan tree latex and honey taken every day helps in treatment of impotency. This mixture has to be consumed for 40 consecutive days on empty stomach.
It is said to be a good medicine to treat with problem related to sterility, leucorrhoea, menstrual problems and premature labour.
It is also good for women during the post delivery period.
It is good for nervous disorders in children.
its taste has been described as hay like and sweet. It is used as a colouring agent in food items. It is widely used in Indian, European, Arab, Turkish and Persian cooking. Liquor and confectioneries also use saffron in their products. In China and India saffron is used as a fabric dye. It is used in perfumes too. Apart from cooking, saffron is used for religious purposes in India. It is given to small children along with the food for a glowing skin. It is believed that the consumption of saffron makes the skin radiant and glowing.
There are many medicinal histories for saffron as part of traditional healing.
It has properties which is cancer suppressing
It is mutation preventing( anti-mutagenic)
It has antioxidant properties
Its stigmas and petals helps depression
It protect eyes from direct effects of bright light
It is mentioned that saffron has many potential medicinal properties