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Asafetida - A Nervine Stimulant, Digestive and Sedative

by: H.K. Bakhru



Indian name - Hing

There are about 70 different spices grown all over the world, of which a large number have made their home in India. The most common use of spices is as appetizers. They lend flavor, aroma and taste to our food. People in India have been using them for another important purpose too - as medicines. There was a time when every housewife routinely treated minor ailments such as cold and cough, burns bruises and stomach upsets.

Unfortunately, with the spread of modern medicine, we have forgotten much of this valuable heritage.

A resinous gum from a perennial plant, Asafetida or hing is a much-used spice in Indian homes. It is a valuable nervine stimulant, digestive and sedative. It helps cure:

Stomach disorders - It is one of the best remedies for flatulence. A piece of the gum or a quarter teaspoon of the powder can be dissolved in hot water and used for fomenting the stomach. Alternatively, a large pinch of the powder can be dissolved in warm coconut oil and rubbed over the navel and around.

Respiratory Disorders - Whooping cough, asthma and bronchitis can all be treated with asafetida. Mix a large pinch of the powder or a small piece of the gum with two teaspoons of honey, a quarter teaspoon of white onion juice and one teaspoon of betel-leaf juice and take three times daily.

Hysteria - Smelling this gum can prevent hysterical attacks. An emulsion of two grams of asafetida in 120 ml of water can be given as an enema if oral administration is not advisable.

Sexual Dysfunction - In cases of impotency, about six centigrams of the spice should be fried and mixed with honey and a teaspoon of fresh latex from a banyan tree. This mixture should be taken before sunrise, once daily for 40 days.

Toothache - Grind a bit of the gum with a pestle in lemon juice and warm slightly. Soak a piece of clean cotton in this lotion and place in the cavity of the painful tooth for speedy relief.


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