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Edible uses


Leaves and young shoots - cooked as a vegetable[1][2] or eaten raw[3]. A gum-resin from the root is used as a food flavouring. It is much used in India, despite having an offensive odour[3]. It is an essential ingredient of Worcester sauce, and is also used to flavour a wide range of dishes and drinks[2]. Popular in natural food cuisine as a garlic substitute[2].

Unknown part


Material uses

A gum-resin is obtained from incisions in the roots and rhizomes[4]. The stem is removed at the end of the growing season, the root uncovered and a thin slice removed[5]. The gum exudes and hardens and a fresh slice is then made[5]. The gum is a source of an essential oil which has medicinal properties and is also used as a food flavouring and in perfumery[6][7][4].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Asafoetida has long been used as a food flavouring and medicinal herb. It is still sometimes used in modern herbalism where it is especially valued in the treatment of hysteria, some nervous conditions, bronchitis, asthma and whooping cough[8]. It was at one time employed in the treatment of infantile pneumonia and flatulent colic[8]. The gum resin is antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant, laxative, sedative[3][9]. The volatile oil in the gum is eliminated through the lungs, making this an excellent treatment for asthma[3]. The gum does have a vile taste and so it is usually taken as a pill or as a suppository[3].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown as soon as the seed is ripe in a greenhouse in autumn[10]. 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[10]. 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 foetida. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Succeeds in most soils[10]. Requires a deep fertile soil in a sunny position[11].

This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[11]. Plants have been grown successfully at Edinburgh Botanical Gardens[3].

Plants are intolerant of root disturbance due to their long taproot[11]. They should be planted into their final positions as soon as possible.


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Ferula 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 foetida.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Ferula foetida
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    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.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    1 x meters
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? 1.01.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    2. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    3. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    4. ? Howes. F. N. Vegetable Gums and Resins. Faber ()
    5. ? Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    8. ? Stuart. M. (Editor) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism Orbis Publishing. London. ISBN 0-85613-067-2 (1979-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    10. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    11. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)