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 it works
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.
Not ProvenBronchitisAsthma “Whooping cough” (pertussis)HoarsenessHysteriaIntestinal gasStomach upsetIrritable colonConvulsionsNerve disordersMenstrual problemsCorns and calluses, when applied directly to the skinOther conditions
Asafoetida is LIKELY SAFE for most people in the amounts typically found in foods
There is some evidence that asafoetida is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth as medicine. In some people, asafoetida can cause swelling of the lips, burping, intestinal gas, diarrhea, headache, convulsions, blood disorders, and other side effects.
Children: Asafoetida isUNSAFEfor infants when taken by mouth because it might cause certain blood disorders.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE to take asafoetida by mouth if you are pregnant. It might cause a miscarriage. Avoid use.
It is also UNSAFE to take asafoetida by mouth 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.
Surgery: Asafoetida might slow blood clotting. There is concern that asafoetida might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking asafoetida at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
ModerateMedications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
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.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.