• Name : Hingu
  • English Name :Asafoetida
  • Scientific Name :Ferula narthex



Hingu consists of oleo-gum-resin obtained from rhizomes and roots of Ferula foetida Regel., Ferula narthex Bioss,and other species of Ferula (Fam. Umbelliferae), a perennial herb, occurring in Persia and Afghanistan, resin collected after making incisions at the upper part of tap root of more than five year old plants by scrapping in March, April, just before flowering, whole process repeated many times, after one or two days or after a few weeks when it gets hardened.1


Morphological Description (Habit):

Rounded, flattened or masses of agglutinated tears, greyish-white to dull yellow, mostly 12-25 mm in diameter, freshly exposed surface, yellowish and translucent or milky white, opaque, slowly becoming pink, red, finally reddish brown, odour, strong, characteristic and persistent, taste, bitter and acrid.1


Parts Used:

Oleo-gum Resin



Essential oil, gum and resin.


As per Ayurveda:

           Rasa (Taste)                 : Pungent

           Guna (Property)           : Sharp

           Veerya (Potency)         : Hot

           Vipaka (End Result)      : Pungent


Pharmacological Actions:

This spice is used as a digestive aid, in food as a condiment and in pickles. It is used in modern herbalism in the treatment of hysteria, some nervous conditions, bronchitis, asthma and whooping cough. It was at one time employed in the treatment of infantile pneumonia and flatulent colic. The gum resin is antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant, laxative, and sedative. The volatile oil in the gum is eliminated through the lungs, making this an excellent treatment for asthma. The odor of asafoetida is imparted to the breath, secretions, flatus, and gastric eructations. Its properties are antispasmodic, expectorant, stimulant, emmenagogue and vermifuge. Asafoetida has also been used as a sedative. It also thins the blood and lowers blood pressure. It is widely used in India in food and as a medicine in Indian systems of medicine like ayurveda. Asafoetida has been held in great esteem among indigenous medicines, particularly in Unani system from the earliest times.2

In Iranian traditional medicine, asafoetida is considered to be sedative, analgesic, carminative, antispasmodic, diuretic, antihelmintic, emmenagogue and expectorant.3

Hingu is Vatakaphahara. The primary pharmacological actions of this carminative resin are summarized as under:


Central Nervous System:

i. The gum extract has been observed to reduce seizure duration and intensity in epilepsy. It also possesses significant antioxidant activities.4

ii. Exhibits neuroprotective effect.5

iii. Memory enhancing potential of F. foetida can be attributed to acetylcholinesterase inhibiting and antioxidant properties. Hence, dietary usage of F. foetida is beneficial and can also be employed as an adjuvant to existing anti-dementia therapies.6

iv. Asafoetida is a nerve stimulant and its administration in neuropathic animals exerted neuroprotecting effects through stimulating axonal regeneration and remyelination and decrement of lymphocyte infiltration.7 (mice study)


Respiratory System: 

i. Exerts potent relaxant effect on tracheal smooth muscles.8


Digestive System: 

i. Protects against ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity.9

ii. Asafoetida possesses significant antispasmodic activity.10

iii. It is an excellent carminative.


Endocrinal System: 

i. Asafetida extract treatment exerts therapeutic protective effect in diabetes by preserving pancreatic beta-cells integrity and significant activity extract, which supports traditional usage to prevent diabetic complications.11


Cardiovascular System: 

i. Exerts antispasmodic and hypotensive effects.12


Reproductive System: 

i. Useful as an emmenagogue.



i. Asafoetida has been observed to exhibit a significant antinociceptive effect on chronic and acute pain.3

ii. Has been observed to exhibit antiviral and cytotoxic activities against influenza A (H1N1) virus.13



Indigestion, flatulence and allied abdominal discomfort




1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part-1, Vol-1.

2. Mahendra P, Bisht S. Ferula asafoetida: Traditional uses and pharmacological activity. Pharmacogn Rev. 2012 Jul;6(12):141-6.

3. SM Bagheri, MH Dashti-R, A Morshedi. Antinociceptive effect of Ferula assa-foetida oleo-gum-resin in mice. Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2014; 9(3).

4. Zahra Kiasalari, Mohsen Khalili, Mehrdad Roghani, et al. Antieplipetic and antioxidant effect of hydroalcoholic extract of Ferula asafoetida gum on Pentylentetrazole-induced kindling in male mice. Basic and Clinical Neuroscience. 2013; 4(4): 21-28.

5. Ghazaleh S. Tayeboon, Fatemeh Tavakoli, Shokoufeh Hassani, et al. Effects of Cymbopogon citratus andFerula assa-foetida extracts on glutamate-induced neurotoxicity. In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal. 2013; 49(9): 706-715.

6. Vijayalakshmi, Adiga S, Bhat P, Chaturvedi A, et al. Evaluation of the effect of Ferula asafoetida Linn. gum extract on learning and memory in Wistar rats. Indian J Pharmacol. 2012 Jan;44(1):82-7.

7. Homayouni Moghadam F, Dehghan M, Zarepur E, et al. Oleo gum resin of Ferula assa-foetida L. ameliorates peripheral neuropathy in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 May 28;154(1):183-9.

8. Bayrami G, Boskabady MH, et al. Relaxant effects of asafoetida extract and its constituent umbelliprenin on guinea-pig tracheal smooth muscle. Chin J Integr Med. 2013.

9. Shivashankara AR, Azmidah A, Haniadka R, et al. Dietary agents in the prevention of alcohol-induced hepatotoxicty: preclinical observations. Food Funct. 2012 Feb;3(2):101-9.

10. Bagheri S, Hejazian Sh, Dashti-R M. The Relaxant Effect of Seed's Essential Oil and Oleo-Gum-Resin of Ferula Assa-Foetida on Isolated Rat's Ileum. Ann Med Health Sci Res. 2014 Mar;4(2):238-41.

11. Abu-Zaiton AS. Anti-diabetic activity of Ferula assafoetida extract in normal and alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Pak J Biol Sci. 2010 Jan 15;13(2):97-100.

12. Fatehi M, Farifteh F, Fatehi-Hassanabad Z. Antispasmodic and hypotensive effects of Ferula asafoetida gum extract. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Apr;91(2-3):321-4.

13. Lee CL, Chiang LC, Cheng LH, et al. Influenza A (H(1)N(1)) Antiviral and Cytotoxic Agents from Ferula assa-foetida. J Nat Prod. 2009 Sep;72(9):1568-72.


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