From NPR’s “The Salt” – Meet Hing: The Secret Weapon of Indian Cuisine by Carolyn Beans.
In response: I think it’s fantastic to learn how a single spice can have so many uses! Let’s relate this (should be popular) spice to Ayurveda! It’s a pungent herb more commonly used today for its carminative (gas relieving) properties. It stimulates movement in the body channels, particularly that of the colon. Samana vata is movement in the body governing assimilation of, well nutrients in this case. And apana vata governs downward movement – both are stimulated through Asafoetida. The spice is cleansing to the colon and stimulating for digestive power.
A little goes a long way!! At spice stands I’ve seen them mix hing with fennel. This makes it a little safer to keep the in cupboard. I keep my hing in a zipped baggie inside of an airtight jar. A reused baby food jar works well. The smell really could contaminate your whole house but try a 1/4t in your next rice dish, or vegetable soup. Many ways to incorporate, similarly in flavor to garlic and onions. My favorite is adding a 1/4t hing to cooking beans or making it a part of vata reducing churna – perfect for fall.
Other notes of asafoetida’s ability to stimulate movement is in the blood, called an emmenagogue. Additionally, it’s a nervine which strengthen functional ability of the nervous system. Also an aphrodisiac but you wouldn’t guess that by the smell! Vajikaranas is the word for aphrodisiac. “Vaji” is horse, or stallion and these substances reinvigorate the body by reinvigorating the sexual organs. Asafoetida is used externally as well, creating a medicated paste or oil for abdominal pain, arthritic pain and painful joints.
Information for this posting comes from The Yoga of Herbs by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad.