Asafetida – Spice with Interesting Uses
The scientific species name assa-foetida is composed of the Persian word aza meaning “resin” and the Latin word foetidus meaning “smelly” referring to the plant’s rather strong and unpleasant odor.
At the time of the Roman Empire asafetida was a popular seasoning and the Romans referred to it as “food of the gods.”
For centuries the plant was imported from countries around the Persian Gulf to Europe.
In the Middle Ages, asafetida was used both as spice and medicine across Europe.
In Chinese herbal medicine, asafetida has been used since 600 AD mainly as a nerve stimulant in the treatment of neurasthenia (nerve weakness).
The herb is also widely used in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) as a brain stimulating herb.
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