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Ruchi Sood

Abstract

Asafoetida (Ferula asafoetida) also known as heeng, Devil’s drug, ferula, food of Gods, incense of Devil, stinking gum is an important spice crop belonging to family Apiaceae. It is native to Iran and Afghanistan. Its dried latex (gum oleoresin) is generally used for flavouring curries, sauces, and pickles. Therapeutically, it stimulates the intestinal and respiratory tracts as well as the nervous system. It is beneficial in asthma, whooping cough, and chronic bronchitis. Its essential oil is also used in medicines, food and cosmetic industries. Besides, it is also used as an alternative for pesticides in organic farming. The major constituents of asafoetida are the resin (40–64%), gum (25%) and essential oil (10–17%). The butyl propenyl disulphide is responsible for the aroma of asafoetida. The asaresinotannol is the major constituent present in the resin. It can be grown on unproductive cold deserts of dry temperate areas of Himalayas. It is mainly propagated by seeds. The seeds are sown either in winters or spring. It becomes ready for harvesting after 5 years of planting and yields around 900g per plant. The oleo gum resin and essential oil derived from this plant are sold at premium prices in the international market. The small and marginal farmers of Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti and Chamba can benefit from this new emerging crop.

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Keywords

Asafoetida, Apiaceae, Ferula asafoetida, Hing, Oleo gum resin

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Sood, R. (2020). Asafoetida (Ferula asafoetida): A high-value crop suitable for the cold desert of Himachal Pradesh, India. Journal of Applied and Natural Science, 12(4), 607-617. https://doi.org/10.31018/jans.v12i4.2418
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