We know this spice by the name of Hing , Asafoetida is the powdered and dried resin extracted from the roots of Ferula, a native herb of Iran and Afghanistan but mainly cultivated in India, it’s also known as food of the gods.
Hing emerged as a substitute for the now-extinct precious spice ‘Silphium’ during the invasion of Asia by Alexander the Great. Its medicinal use dates back to 700 B.C. In the “Mahabharata”, there are descriptions of meat being dressed in ghee, and garnished with Hing.
In concern to appearance hing in raw form is sold as blocks or pieces of brown resin. Though in raw form it smells unappetizing, but transforms when heated to give off a rich savory flavor much like sautéed onions and garlic.
Hing is a spice that is used in our daily cooking, adding taste to our dals (lentils) and spicy meals, and also used as a common ingredient in preparation of pickles adding a strong pungent smell and mysterious flavor to our dishes. But adding this spice to our food not just only appreciate its taste but it also acts as a boon for our health.
Out of numerous health benefits of Hing, some of them are:
- It helps in tackling food poisoning and indigestion: Due to presence of anti-oxidants Hing has been used since ancient times as remedies for indigestion.
- It helps in lowering blood sugar level: Due to Hing’s anti-diabetic properties, it stimulates the pancreatic cells to secrete more insulin which in turn decreases your blood sugar levels.
- It helps in controlling cholesterol and high blood-pressure: Hing has compounds that aid in improving one’s blood flow and thinning of blood thereby prevent blood clotting. Additionally, this spice lowers your blood cholesterol levels and also has properties to tackle hyper tension.
- It helps in relieving pain: Hing is enriched with antioxidants which do wonders in fighting various pains such as toothache, migraine and headache.
- It provides relief against skin ailments: Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory agents, Hing is added to many skincare products. It acts as an effective home remedy to deal with skin ailments like burning sensation of the skin. This spice has a cooling effect when applied on the skin along with inhibiting the growth of bacteria responsible for skin ailments.
- It protects against cancer: As Hing is known to be a powerful anti-oxidant, this herb when consumed on a regular basis is known to protect the body cells from free radicals. The compounds in turn can increase your risk of cancer. Also, the anti-carcinogenic activity of Hing plays a significant role in hindering the growth of malignant cells thereby protecting against cancer.
How to use it (to reap medical benefits)?
In order to reap the aforesaid medical benefits, this marvelous spice should be used in following way:
- Add half a teaspoon of Hing powder to a glass of warm water and drink this solution on an empty stomach to reap its health benefits.
- Alternatively, you can also add 2 – 3 small pieces of Hing to buttermilk and drink it.
- Dissolve a spoonful of Hing in a cup of hot water. Now, steep a cloth in the solution and use it for fomentation.
- Finally, the best way to use this spice is to add this herb while cooking as it will impart a unique flavor and taste to food.
“A Recipe has no Soul but you as the Cook must bring Soul to the Recipe”