Asafoetida is a plant. It has a bad smell and tastes bitter. That probably explains why it is sometimes called “devil’s dung.”
People use asafoetida resin, a gum-like material, as medicine. Asafoetida resin is produced by solidifying juice that comes out of cuts made in the plant’s living roots.
Asafoetida is used for breathing problems including ongoing (chronic) bronchitis, H1N1 "swine" flu, and asthma. It is also used for digestion problems including intestinal gas, upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and irritable colon. Other uses include treatment of “whooping cough” (pertussis), croup, and hoarse throat.
Some people use asafoetida for hysteria, insanity, convulsions, and as a nerve stimulant for ongoing mental and physical fatigue with depression (neurasthenia).
Women sometimes use asafoetida to restart their menstrual periods after menstruation has stopped for some reason.
Asafoetida is sometimes applied directly to the skin for corns and calluses.
In manufacturing, asafoetida is used as a fragrance in cosmetics and as a flavoring ingredient in foods and beverages. Asafoetida is also used in products meant to repel dogs, cats, and wildlife.
How does it work?
There is some scientific evidence that the chemicals in asafoetida might help treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and also might protect against high blood levels of certain fats including cholesterol and triglycerides. Chemicals called coumarins in asafoetida can thin the blood.
- “Whooping cough” (pertussis).
- Intestinal gas.
- Stomach upset.
- Irritable colon.
- Nerve disorders.
- Menstrual problems.
- Corns and calluses, when applied directly to the skin.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & Safety
Asafoetida is safe for most people in the amounts typically found in foods. There is some evidence that it might be safe when used as medicine. In some people, asafoetida can cause swelling of the lips, burping, intestinal gas, diarrhea, headache, convulsions, blood disorders, and other side effects.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Children: Asafoetida is UNSAFE for infants because it might cause certain blood disorders.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE to use asafoetida if you are pregnant. It might cause a miscarriage. Avoid use.
It is also UNSAFE to use asafoetida if you are breast-feeding. The chemicals in asafoetida could pass into breast milk and then cause bleeding disorders in the nursing infant. Avoid use.
Bleeding disorders: There is concern that asafoetida might increase the risk of bleeding. Don’t use asafoetida if you have a bleeding disorder.
Epilepsy or history of convulsions: Don’t use asafoetida if you have epilepsy or some other central nervous system condition that might lead to seizures or convulsions.
Stomach and intestinal (gastrointestinal, GI) problems: Asafoetida can irritate the GI tract. Don’t use it of you have a GI infection or other GI condition.
High blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension): There is some concern that asafoetida might interfere with blood pressure control. Avoid use if you have a blood pressure problem.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with ASAFOETIDA
Asafoetida seems to decrease blood pressure. Taking asafoetida along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.
Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.
- Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with ASAFOETIDA
Asafoetida might slow blood clotting. Taking asafoetida along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
The appropriate dose of asafoetida depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for asafoetida. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.