Health Benefits & Uses Of Heeng/Hing (Asafoetida) Powder

 14 Apr 2021  2774

Ferula Asafoetida Linn is an herbaceous, monoecious, perennial plant; it is considered as the most important species among the other 130 species of Ferula.The oleo-gum- resin is obtained from the rhizome and root of the plant which is generally collected in earthen pots and then dried.

This dried substance is used as spices for flavorings food, it is available in powder and crystal forms. Ferula Asafoetida Linn is commonly known as Hing or Heeng in Hindi and Hing in English is known as “Asafetida” which is also called as devil’s dung or stinking gum. The name Asafoetida came from the Latin name “ferula” which means “vehicle” or the “carrier”.

What is Hing/Heeng?

Asafoetida is also known as Hing or Heeng it is an ingredient that is made from the oleo-gum-resin which is obtained from the plant called Ferula asafoetida L plant. It has a unique strong pungent smell when raw but dulcet and garlicky when used in cooking.

The dried gum of the plant consists a combination of various properties, such as it has about 40–64% resin, about 25% of endogenous gum, 10–17% volatile oil, and 1.5–10% of ash, besides this, it also contains asaresinotannols ‘A’ and ‘B’, ferulic acid, umbelliferone and other four unidentified compounds which make it so unique.

Vernacular names:

  • Arabic: Zallouh; Anjadan, Hilteet; Simagh-ul-mehroos
  • Assamese: Hin
  • Bengali: Hing; Hingra
  • English: Asafoetida
  • Europeans: Devil’s dung
  • Gujarati: Hing; Vagharni
  • Marathi: Hing; Hira
  • Hindi: Hingra; Hingu
  • Oriya: Hengu; Hingu
  • Kannada: Higu; Ingu; Hing
  • Persian: Angoza, Nagoora, Amma, Nagsatgudha, Angzoo, Anksar
  • Punjabi: Hing
  • Sanskrit:Ramatta; Bhutnasan; Hingu; Sulansan; Bahleeka
  • Suraini: Halteesa
  • Telugu: Ingura; Inguva; Ing
  • Turkish: ?eytan boku (devil’s shit), ?eytantersi (devil’s sweat) or ?eytanotu (the devil’s herb)
  • Urdu: Hilteet, Hing

What is hing made out of?

Hing is a type of resin that is made from the plant called ferula, which is collected from stem, bark, and root. The ferula plant consists of a large number of schizogenous ducts. After a period of five years, the roots have stored a sufficient white gum resin emulsion into it.

At that period of time, the plant is about 12 to 13 cm thick at the crown, with a large flower stem about 10 cm thick and 2.5 to 3 m in height. At the end of March, just before the plant is about to flower, the top of the root is laid bare and the stem is cut near the crown, exudation flows from the cutting surface.Until the resin becomes hardened is protected by the dome cover stick and leaves. After a week or two, the hardened resin gum is discarded outside. Again a slice of the root is cut and the juice is allowed back to exudes and gathered. This process is repeated several times with an interval of about 10 days for several months.

According to Santapau & Henri, (1973), there more than 130 species of Ferula found in the world, and among it only some spices of plant yield Asafoetida.


  • Assam: Hin
  • Sanskrit: Ramatha, Sahasravedhi
  • Bengali: Hing
  • English: Asafoetida
  • Gujarati: Hing,
  • Punjabi: Hing
  • Vagharni Hindi: Hing, Hingda
  • Oriya: Hengu, Hingu
  • Kannada: Hingu, Ingu
  • Marathi: Hing, Hira
  • Kashmiri: Eng
  • Malayalam: Kayam
  • Telugu: Inguva
  • Tamil: Perungayam
  • Urdu: Hitleet, Hing

Heeng/Hing: Ayurvedic View

In the ancient texts of Ayurveda Ferula assafoetida L is describe as “Hingu”. It has been used as a flavoring of food and as a remedy for various ailments. For several centuries of constant use, it has become a trusted traditional medicine.

The Asafoetida (Hing) has been also referred to as the “food of the gods”. Asafoetida is in use since ancient times in Indian medicine for cooking as a spice.Asafoetida balances Vata and Kapha doshas as it relives Vata and Kapha it can be useful for the treatment for various ailments.

  • Neurological (paralysis, hysteria, depression, and epilepsy),
  • Gastrointestinal (intestinal parasites, flatulence, weak digestion, stomach pain),
  • Respiratory (influenza, asthma)
  • Reproductive disorders (premature birth, very painful, difficult and excessive menstruation, vaginal discharge, and infertility.

Ayurvedic Properties

  • Rasa: Katu
  • Virya: Ushna
  • Guna: Tikshna
  • Vipak: Katu
  • Dosha: Balances Vata, Kapha and increases Pitta

Uses In Different Parts Of The World

  • Pakistan: People in the area of Khyber Pakhtoon khowa hang a small bag of Asafoetida around their neck or tie them around the arm to keep safe from bacterial, seasonal, and viral diseases.

  • Afghanistan: People use an extract of dried gum with hot water; it is then taken orally for whooping cough, treat ulcers, and hysteria.

  • China: The decoction of the plant is taken orally as an Anthelmintic.

  • Egypt: Extract of the dried root with hot water is taken orally as an antispasmodic, as a diuretic, as an analgesic and anthelmintic.

  • Malaysia: Resin gum is chewed for amenorrhea.

  • Morocco: It is used as anti-epileptic.

  • Nepal: Water extract of the resin is taken orally as an anthelmintic.

  • Saudi Arabia: Dried gum is used medicinally for bronchitis, whooping cough, and asthma.

  • United States: Fluid extract of the resin is taken orally as an emmenagogue, a stimulating expectorant, an aphrodisiac, an anthelmintic, and a stimulant to the brain and nerves, claimed to be a powerful antispasmodic.

  • France: The gastronomers rub a little Asafoetida on hot plates from which they eat beef steaks.

  • Europe: Asafoetida is considered as a valuable medicine in Europe, which is used to invoke male gods, especially those of a phallic nature. There is also a myth that claims that Asafoetida was developed from the semen of a god of fertility when it was soaked into the earth.


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