Asafoetida Powder-Usage & Health Benefits
Asafoetida also known as ‘devil’s dung’ is the dried resin (gum) of the root called Ferula assafoetida - a perennial herb. Ground Asafoetida Powder may have an unpleasant smell which gives it its unusual nickname, but when it is cooked the taste and aroma are quite smooth and commendable. It is produced in a region between Mediterranean and Central Asia (especially Afghanistan and Iran), but the major consumer of the spice is India. It has many uses and benefits that you may be unaware of, to know them refer the following article.
Uses of Asafoetida Powder
As the odor of the spice is strong and pungent it is best if stored in air tight containers so it does not contaminate any of the other spices. The uses of the spice include culinary and medicinal usage.
As mentioned earlier, Indian cuisine is where this spice is valued the most. It is used to flavor, pickles, spice powders, curries, gravies, sautéed/ fried/ grilled vegetables, beans, legumes, chutneys, and some savory snacks. It is commonly consumed in some parts of India along with buttermilk at the end of the meal as a digestive. It can also be used as a substitute for garlic. It was also used as a tenderizer and preservative for meat. The spice was quite common during the middle ages in Rome, but is practically unknown in modern western cuisines these days. However, some commercial flavorings preparations in United States and Europe use asafoetida for flavoring.
In traditional Indian medicine practice (Ayurveda), Asafoetida is held in great esteemed amongst indigenous medicines. It is a good anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-epileptic, and antioxidant. It counteracts spasmodic disorders, aids digestion, nerve stimulant, and sedative. It is also reported to be an abortifacient/contraceptive and used to treat impotency. Certain researches claim that Asafoetida may serve as promising lead components for new drug development for swine flu (H1N1 virus). Externally, it can be used as a repellent to keep insects and mosquitoes away.
Health benefits of Asafoetida Powder
Asafoetida powder is an herbal remedy for many day to day discomforts and ailment. Here are some instances where it can be used successfully.
- Soothes the agitated nerves in asthma, bronchitis, and whooping cough
- Treats stomach disorders like bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain, stomach cramps, indigestion, and constipation
- Relieves bowel spasms
- Anti-parasitic in nature
- Treats hysteria, nervous disorders (especially among children), mood swings , and depression
- Prevents cancer and effects of external mutagens on the body owing to the antioxidant properties
- Treats sexually transmitted like Trichomoniasis
- Acts as an efficient expectorant
- Relieves pain due to migraines, headache, and toothache
In some cases excessive intake of the spice can cause side effects like skin rash, swollen lips, stomach burning, burping, headaches, and dizziness.
If you do not have this powder in your spice cabinet, do not worry! Here are some Asafoetida Substitutes that are commonly found and can be used instead.
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