Monthly Archives: July 2012

Asafoetida – Devil’s Dung


Did I get your attention?

Asafoetida certainly has mine.

As I was  researching old spells (yes spells – healers were the original medical doctors and these mixtures were passed on and became spells eventually) I ran into an formula called Exodus Powder.  The ingredients are sulfur, cayenne and asafoetida.  I was curious what this would “exit” from the body – in real world application.

Cayenne and Sulfur were easy – I knew about them but Asafoetida?

Asafoetida is made from the rhizome of the giant fennel (furula asafoetida); a species native to the mountains of Afghanistan, and is mainly cultivated in nearby India.

Used along with turmeric Asafoetida is a flavor enhancer.  Strong smelling it mellows into a very flavorful addition to foods.  It is a main stay in lentil curries and over vegetables.

Why is it used in an “exiting” spell?

That was my question.

Wikipedia had that answer:

  • In Indian Subcontinent, it is used as antibiotic and it keeps small children healthy by protecting them from diseases.
  • fighting influenza – Asafoetida was used in 1918 to fight the Spanish influenza pandemic. In 2009, scientists at the Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan reported that the roots of Asafoetida produce natural antiviral drug compounds that kill the swine flu virus, H1N1. In an article published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Natural Products, the researchers said the compounds “may serve as promising lead components for new drug development” against this type of flu.[6][7]
  • digestion – In Thailand and India, it is used to aid digestion and is smeared on the abdomen in an alcohol or water tincture known as mahahing.[8][9]
  • asthma and bronchitis – It is also said[10] to be helpful in cases of asthma and bronchitis. A folk tradition remedy for children’s colds: it is mixed into a pungent-smelling paste and hung in a bag around the afflicted child’s neck.
  • antimicrobial – Asafoetida has a broad range of uses in traditional medicine as an antimicrobial, with well documented uses for treating chronic bronchitis and whooping cough, as well as reducing flatulence.[11]
  • contraceptive/abortifacient – Asafoetida has also been reported to have contraceptive/abortifacient activity,[12] and is related to (and considered an inferior substitute for) the ancient Ferula species Silphium.
  • antiepileptic – Asafoetida oleo-gum-resin has been reported to be antiepileptic in classical Unani, as well as ethnobotanical literature.[13]
  • balancing the vata – In Ayurveda, asafoetida is considered to be one of the best spices for balancing the vata dosha.[14]

And it all made sense.

Asafoetida – starting small flue, bronchitis and whooping cough add in sulfur and you’ve got a powerful antibiotic combo a touch of cayenne for fire and heat.  I get why it’s an “exiting” powder.  And H1N1 – this is a mixture that belongs in first aid kits! I can’t imagine how potent this antibacterial must be to be able to be hung from a  child’s neck and stop viruses.

So how do you get this pungent herb into your family?  Sprinkle it on ghee and it turns into a very onion/garlic flavor making it perfect with almost any food.

How about a cauliflower smoothie with a touch of turmeric?

I found this recipe in several version but this one from fellow blogger “The Great Plate” I felt was going to be the best for flavor and hiding the strong flavor of the Asafoetida.  I’d go small and add just a pinch and taste until you find the max you can hide.  Everyone is different and will like or not like this flavor at different levels.  I’d do the same with the turmeric.

Raspberry Cauliflower Smoothie
with vanilla extract & chilled banana

Another Here’s the Dish original. While cauliflower may not sound like a likely smoothie ingredient, the strong aroma and taste of raspberry offsets the mild taste and texture of the florets creating a fiber-rich, nutrient-rich fruit and veggie combination.

For more of my favorite complementary fruit & veggie smoothie combos, try my Spiced Sweet Potato Smoothie or my Cherry Zucchini Smoothie. Enjoy!


-1/2 cup frozen raspberries (or frozen mixed berries–including raspberries)
-1/2 cup frozen chopped cauliflower florets
– 1/2 frozen banana
– 3/4 cup Vanilla Almond Milk (unsweetened)
-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– 1 tablespoon plain FAGE 0% Greek Yogurt (or for dairy-free version try non-dairy yogurt such as Amande)


Combine ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve cold.