In the middle Ages, a small piece of this resin gum was worn around the neck to ward off diseases such as colds and fevers. But in Persia, asafoetida was used as a condiment and called the “food of the gods” and is held in highly esteemed that it is used in almost all their dishes. French gastronomers are said to use asafoetida on hot plates for preparation of their cuisines. Worcestershire sauce gets its distinctive flavour by the addition of this gum. Seasoning with other condiments, Hing adds palatial character to daal, curries, stews, gravies, pickles, papad etc. It is popular household remedies and is used as a flavoring agent and forms a constituent of many spice mixtures. Considering the ancient times, asafoetida is still regarded as a valuable medicinal in Europe, Near and far East. In central Africa, asafoetida is used in magic and mythology as the smell of it wards away all negative energy, evil spirits and demons.
Ferula asafoetida is an herbaceous, monoecious, perennial plant of the UMBELLIFERAE family. Asafoetida is native to central Asia, eastern Iran to Afghanistan, and today it is grown chiefly in Iran and Afghanistan, from where it is exported to the rest of the world. It is not native to India, but has been used in Indian medicine and cookery for ages.