What is Asafoetida gum & why it’s called devil’s dung?

Asafoetida gum
Asafoetida gum

What is Asafoetida gum ?

Asafoetida gum is the dry latex or gum that is produced from hardened juice that comes out when the Ferula Asafoetida plant living roots are cut.

It has a stinky, bad and bitter taste. Its smell and taste is nauseating that it has to be placed in a very tight box, and due to these characteristics it’s called “devil’s dung.”


Some people believe in its effectiveness to expel Gin, demons and evil spirits and use it as incense for this purpose! In ancient mythology, it was used to summon male gods, especially those of a penile nature. One myth claims that it evolved from the semen of a fertility god!

Asafoetida gum is extracted from large-rooted Ferula Asafoetida plants when they are 4-5 years old. Just before the plants bloom, in March and April, the top of the root of a live root is stripped, and the trunk is cut near the crown and left to exude milky juice from the cut surface. After a few days, the secretions are scraped and a new slice of the root is cut to exude more glue and the process is repeated multiple times until the exudation stops (about 3 months after the first cut). Asafoetida gum is sometimes collected from multiple successive cracks made at the intersection of the trunk or leprosy and roots.

Use it as a spice

Despite its stench and nauseating taste, one of its well-known uses to date, particularly in India and Iran, is to use it as spices to the point where it was called in Persia the food of the gods. In ancient Rome, it was used as a flavor ingredient and spices in foods and drinks after preparing it in a certain way.


Another way to use it is to melt it in hot oil and add that oil drop-by-drop to food. If used moderately enough, it promotes mushroom and vegetable dishes, but it can also be used to give fried or grilled meats a unique flavor.

Described as articulated by ancient texts, several centuries of continuous use have given Asafoetida gum the specificity of tempting spices. The entire plant is also used as fresh vegetables.

In Iran, this herb is highly regarded as spices, and is mixed with almost all its dishes. French gastronomists rub a little of it on the hot beef dishes For the distinctive flavor, it’s also used in famous Worcestershire sauce. When used carefully, it adds character to curry, stews, broth, etc.


Skilled and calculated manipulation of perfume formulations has made it a useful component of luxury fragrances.

نبات الكلخ الذي يستخرج منه صمغ الحلتيت
Asafoetida plant

Benefits of medical solutions

How does it work?

There is some scientific evidence that chemicals in Asafoetida gum may be useful in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), flatulence and stomach, and may also be useful in protecting against high levels of certain blood fats including cholesterol and triglycerides. It also has chemicals that can cause blood thinning.

People use Asafoetida gum to treat medical conditions such as sputum expulsion, breathing or throat problems, digestion problems, or by women to re-start menstrual periods after menstruation has stopped for some reason.


Asafoetida gum is sometimes applied directly to the skin to treat corns and foot nails

There are some but insufficient evidence of its effectiveness in the following cases.

  • Asthma.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Convulsions.
  • Foot nail
  • Hysteria.
  • Intestinal gases.
  • Irritable.
  • Menstrual problems.
  • Neurological disorders.
  • Stomach disorder.

Recent molecular studies also shown that Asafoetida gum have many effective properties, such as antioxidant, antiviral, antifungal, antifungal, chemical cancer prevention, anti-diabetes, anti-spasm, and as a pressure-killer but need further clinical trials to confirm these properties.


Antidote to opium

The herb is also used in ancient Indian medicine as an antidote to opium. If given the same amount of opium as the patient, it will address the effect of the drug.

Animal expulsion

It is also used in products aimed at repelling dogs, cats and wild animals.

Is Asafoetida gum safe to use?

Asafoetida gum can often be safe for most people when taken orally in the quantities commonly found in foods. There is some evidence that Asafoetida gum may be safe when taken orally as a drug.


Asafoetida gum side effects

  • Taking Asafoetida gum may cause symptoms such as lip swelling, burping, intestinal gases, diarrhea, headaches, convulsions, blood disorders, and other side effects.
  • It should not be used by pregnant women, nursing women, children, epilepsy, bleeding, stomach and bowel problems, low blood pressure, or with medications that lower blood pressure because it may increase it.
  • It should not be used before surgery because it increases blood flow and increases bleeding.
  • Cases of poisoning caused by Methemoglobinemia have been detected, a condition that severely reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen, causes hypoxia and requires immediate treatment.


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