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Uses

Edible uses

Notes

Leaves and young shoots - cooked as a vegetable[1][2][3][4]. The plant has a foetid odour, but this disappears when it is boiled[1]. The cabbage-like folded heads are eaten raw as a delicacy[4].

Root - cooked[1][2]. It needs to be steeped in order to remove a bitterness[5]. A starch extracted from the roots is used to make a porridge[5].

A gum-resin from the root is used as a food flavouring[6]. It is an essential ingredient of Worcester sauce, it is also used to flavour a wide range of dishes and drinks[4]. It is popular in natural food cuisine as a garlic substitute[4]. The resin obtained from this plant is probably the foulest-smelling of all herbs, with a sulphurous garlic-like odour[7][8]. It is so nauseating to some people that it has been nicknamed 'dung of the devil'[7]. However, in judicious quantities it gives a surprisingly pleasant flavour to many foods[8].

Unknown part

Leaves

Material uses

A gum-resin is obtained from incisions in the roots and rhizomes[9]. The stem is removed at the end of the growing season, the root uncovered and a thin slice removed[5]. Another report says that the stem is removed as the plant starts to flower[8]. The gum exudes and hardens and a fresh slice is then made[5]. The gum should be stored in an air-tight container to prevent its strong flavour contaminating nearby substances[8]. The gum is a source of an essential oil which has medicinal properties and is also used as a food flavouring and in perfumery[10][11][12].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Asafoetida is a very effective medicinal herb that acts mainly on the digestive system, cleansing and strengthening the gastro-intestinal tract[8]. It is much used in the Ayurvedic tradition[8]. The gum-resin contains a volatile oil that is as persistent in aroma as garlic. They leave the body via the respiratory system and aid the coughing up of congested mucous[13]. The pungently flavoured gum-resin that is obtained from the root is alterative, anthelmintic, antiperiodic, antispasmodic, carminative, deobstruent, deodorant, expectorant, laxative, sedative and stomachic[7][14][15][16]. It is used in the treatment of simple digestive problems such as wind, bloating, indigestion and constipation, and also for respiratory problems such as bronchitis, bronchial asthma and whooping cough[13]. It is also used as a circulatory stimulant, lowering blood pressure and thinning the blood[7][14][17][15][13]. The resin has a synergistic effect on other herbal preparations such as camphor, valerian and nux-vomica[7]. It is used in tincture as a mild cardio-tonic[7]. See below under 'Uses notes' for details on harvesting the resin.

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as the seed is ripe in a greenhouse in autumn[18]. Otherwise sow in April in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Plant them out into their permanent positions whilst still small because the plants dislike root disturbance[18]. Give the plants a protective mulch for at least their first winter outdoors. Division in autumn. This may be inadvisable due to the plants dislike of root disturbance.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Ferula assa-foetida. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Succeeds in most soils[18]. Prefers a deep fertile soil in a sunny position[19].

This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[19]. Plants have a long taproot and are intolerant of root disturbance[19]. They should be planted into their final positions as soon as possible. Monocarpic, the plant takes some years before it flowers and dies after flowering[5]. In Britain, the plants usually flower after about 5 years[8].

The whole plant, especially when bruised, has an unpleasant smell like stale fish[20].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Ferula assa-foetida. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Ferula assa-foetida.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Ferula assa-foetida
Genus
Ferula
Family
Umbelliferae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
8
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type











    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.3 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.12.2 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.24.34.4 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.45.55.65.7 Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.47.57.67.7 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.48.58.68.78.88.9 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Chakravarty. H. L. The Plant Wealth of Iraq. ()
    10. ? 10.010.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
    12. ? 12.012.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.113.213.3 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.114.2 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.115.2 Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
    18. ? 18.018.118.2 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.119.219.3 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    20. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)


    Facts about "Ferula assa-foetida"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyUmbelliferae +
    Belongs to genusFerula +
    Has binomial nameFerula assa-foetida +
    Has common nameAsafoetida +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partUnknown part +, Leaves + and Root +
    Has edible useCondiment + and Unknown use +
    Has fertility typeSelf fertile + and Insects +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has hardiness zone8 +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useEssential + and Gum +
    Has mature height2 +
    Has mature width1.5 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAlterative +, Antiperiodic +, Antispasmodic +, Cardiotonic +, Carminative +, Deobstruent +, Deodorant +, Expectorant +, Laxative +, Parasiticide +, Sedative +, Stimulant + and Tonic +
    Has search nameferula assa-foetida + and asafoetida +
    Has shade toleranceNo shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameFerula assa-foetida +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
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