Health Benefits Of Asafoetida

What is asafoetida?

Asafoetida is an oleo-gum resin derived from the Umbelliferae family's herbaceous plant Ferula asafoetida. It is used as a digestive aid spice, in food as a condiment, and in pickles. It is used to treat hysteria, some nervous conditions, bronchitis, asthma, and whooping cough. The gum resin is used to relieve spasms,  treat constipation and flatulence, and as a sedative. The volatile oil in the gum is eliminated through the lungs; this is an excellent asthma treatment. Asafoetida has also been used to treat insomnia. It thins the blood and lowers blood pressure as well. It is widely used in Indian cuisine and as a medicine in Indian medical systems such as Ayurveda. In ancient Rome, asafoetida was stored in jars with pine nuts, which were used to flavor delicate dishes on their own. Another method is to dissolve asafoetida in hot oil and then add the oil to the food, drop by drop. Asafoetida enhances mushroom and vegetable dishes, but it can also be used to add a unique flavor to fried or barbecued meat. Because of its high concentration of sulfur compounds, asafoetida has a strong, pungent odor. In fact, because of its foul odor, it is sometimes referred to as stinking gum.1, 2

Health benefits of asafoetida

Rich in antioxidants

Asafoetida is a good source of antioxidants.2, 3 Antioxidants are compounds, either man-made or natural, that help shield our cells from damage by harmful unstable molecules, like free radicals. By doing so, they can also help guard against conditions like chronic inflammation, heart issues, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.4 Asafoetida is rich in phenolic compounds like tannins and flavonoids, celebrated for their strong antioxidant abilities.3

Digestive aid

Asafoetida helps in digestion by increasing digestive enzyme activity. It may specifically increase the release of bile from your liver, which is required for fat digestion.2, 5

Helpful in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS)

It is an effective treatment for a variety of stomach ailments. It is one of the best flatulence remedies available and is a key ingredient in the majority of digestive powders. In cases of flatulence and stomach distension, asafoetida should be dissolved in hot water and a pad of cloth steeped in it used to stimulate the abdomen.1

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic digestive condition characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, and gas, as well as constipation, diarrhea, or both.6

Because of its potential digestive effects, asafoetida is thought to help reduce IBS symptoms.

Female health issues

The herb is thought to be beneficial in the treatment of a variety of female health issues, including sterility, unwanted abortion, pre-mature labor, unusually painful, difficult, and excessive menstruation, and leucorrhoea.1

Other benefits

  • Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties2, 7, 8
  • Lowering blood pressure2
  • Anti-cancer properties2
  • Anti-diabetic2

Nutritional facts

Here are some helpful tables to present the nutritional information for 100 grams of asafoetida:

Table 1: Basic Nutritional Information

NutrientAmount per 100g
Iron39 mg
Calcium690 mg
Carbohydrate68 g
Dietary Fiber4 g
Protein4 g
Phosphorus50 mg
Total Fat1 g

Table 2: Percentage of Daily Values (DV) for 100g of Asafoetida

Nutrient% DV
Dietary Fiber16%
Total Fat1.5%

These tables provide a clear and organized overview of the nutritional content of asafoetida.(9)

Uses of asafoetida

  • As a flavoring agent and is a constituent of many spice mixtures 
  • It is used to flavor curries, meatballs, lentils, and pickles 
  • The whole plant is used as a fresh vegetable
  • It is also used as an antidote to opium1
  • A variety of traditional medicines contain asafoetida 
  • In Afghanistan, a hot water extract of dried gum is taken orally to treat hysteria, whooping cough, and ulcers
  • In China, a decoction of the plant is taken orally as a vermifuge
  • In Egypt, a hot water extract of the dried root is taken orally as an antispasmodic, diuretic, vermifuge, and analgesic 
  • In the United States, a fluid extract of the resin is taken orally to stimulate the menstrual flow, for deworming, an aphrodisiac, and a stimulant to the brain and nerves;
  • It is also claimed to be a powerful antispasmodic. Since ancient times, asafoetida has been revered among indigenous medicines in India1

Side effects and other concerns

In the amounts found in foods, asafoetida is safe for most people. There is some evidence that asafoetida may be safe when taken orally as medicine. Asafoetida can cause lip swelling, burping, intestinal gas, diarrhea, headache, convulsions, blood disorders, and other side effects in some people. (10, 11)


Asafoetida is widely used as a flavoring spice in a variety of foods all over the world. It has traditionally been used to treat a number of diseases, such as respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, and nervous system-related diseases. Recent studies have revealed that asafoetida has antioxidant, antiviral, antifungal, cancer chemopreventive, antidiabetic, antispasmodic, hypotensive, and molluscicidal properties. Thorough clinical research is required to understand the true clinical benefits of asafoetida.


  1. Mahendra P, Bisht S. Ferula asafoetida: Traditional uses and pharmacological activity. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 2012;6(12):141.Available from:
  2. Amalraj A, Gopi S. Biological activities and medicinal properties of asafoetida: A Review. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. 2017;7(3):347–59. Available from:
  3. Bagheri SM, Hedesh ST, Mirjalili A, Dashti-R MH. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory and some possible mechanisms of antinociceptive effect of Ferula Assa foetida oleo gum resin. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 2016;21(4):271–6. Available from:
  4. Antioxidants: In depth [Internet]. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; [cited 2023Mar24]. Available from:
  5. Ramakrishna Rao R, Platel K, Srinivasan K. In vitro influence of spices and spice-active principles on digestive enzymes of rat pancreas and small intestine. Nahrung/Food. 2003;47(6):408–12. Available from:
  6. Weaver KR, Melkus GDE, Henderson WA. Irritable bowel syndrome. AJN, American Journal of Nursing. 2017;117(6):48–55. Available from:
  7.  Daneshkazemi A, Zandi H, Davari A, Vakili M, Emtiazi M, Lotfi R, et al. Antimicrobial activity of the essential oil obtained from the seed and oleo-gum-resin of Ferula assa-foetida against oral pathogens. Frontiers in Dentistry. 2019; Available from:
  8. Kavoosi G, Tafsiry A, Ebdam AA, Rowshan V. Evaluation of antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of essential oils from carum copticum seed and ferula assafoetida latex. Journal of Food Science. 2013;78(2). Available from:
  9. Asafoetida facts and health benefits [Internet]. Health Benefits | Health Benefits of foods and drinks. 2017 [cited 2023Mar24]. Available from:
  10. Asafoetida: Health benefits, side effects, uses, Dose & precautions [Internet]. RxList. RxList; 2021 [cited 2023Mar24]. Available from:
  11. Bagheri SM, Yadegari M, Mirjalily A, Rezvani ME. Evaluation of toxicity effects of asafetida on biochemical, hematological, and histological parameters in male wistar rats [Internet]. Toxicology international. U.S. National Library of Medicine; 2015 [cited 2023Mar24]. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Nivedita Balyan

MSc. Business Analysis and Consulting, University of Strathclyde, Scotland

Nivedita (M. Pharm) is a healthcare consultant with 8 years of experience in syndicated report writing, clinical trial tracking and data analysis. She has exposure to team handling and project management. She has worked on medical information, targeted literature review and client handling. She has worked for pharmaceutical and medical devices clients.

Currently, she is pursuing MSc. Business Analysis and Consulting from University of Strathclyde presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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