Hingu (Ferula foetida/ Narthex asafoetida)

Hingu (Ferula foetida/ Narthex asafoetida)

Basonym of Drug

The basonym (original scientific name) of the medicinal substance Hingu is Ferula foetida/ Narthex asafoetida

Main Sanskrit Synonyms

In the ancient texts of Ayurveda, Hingu is known by several Sanskrit synonyms, each highlighting its unique properties and uses. Some of the main Sanskrit synonyms of Hingu are:

  1. Hingu : The term “Hingu” refers to the gum resin obtained from the root of the Ferula foetida plant. It is widely recognized and used in Ayurvedic medicine, known for its pungent aroma and therapeutic properties.

  2. Shaileyaka : This term suggests the plant’s natural habitat in rocky or mountainous regions, indicating its origin and growth environment.

  3. Sahastravedhi: It means it can be used in thousand of ways.
  4. Ugragandha: It has offensive smell.
  5. Jantughna, Jantunashak: It kills worms.

Regional Name (Vernacular names)

Hingu is known by various vernacular names in different regions, reflecting its widespread use and recognition. Some of the regional names for Hingu include:

  • Hindi: Hing, Heeng
  • English: Asafoetida
  • Bengali: Hing
  • Marathi: Hing
  • Tamil: Perungayam
  • Telugu: Inguva, Ingu
  • Kannada: Hing
  • Gujarati: Hing,Bagharani
  • Punjabi: Hing

Classification of Dravya 

Hingu is classified as follows:

  • Kingdom: Plantae 
  • Sub-Kingdom: Phanerogamia 
  • Division (Phylum): Angiosperms 
  • Class: Dicotyledons 
  • Order: Apiales 
  • Family: Apiaceae 
  • Genus: Ferula /Narthex
  • Species: Foetida /asafoetid

Classification of Dravya (Gana) as described in Charak and Sushruta

Charak : Deepaneeya, Katuskandha, Sanjna-sthapana, Swasahara

Sushruta : Pippalyadi

Vagbhat: Pippalyadi

External Morphology

Hingu is a gum resin obtained from the root of the Ferula foetida plant. It is brownish in color and has a strong, pungent odor.

Useful Parts

The useful part of Hingu is the gum resin that is extracted from the root of the Ferula foetida plant.

  1. Gum Resin: The gum resin obtained from the root is the main part used for its therapeutic properties.

Important Phytoconstituents

Hingu contains various bioactive compounds that contribute to its medicinal properties. Some of the important phytoconstituents found in Hingu include:

  1. Asaresinotannols: These compounds are responsible for Hingu’s pungent aroma and potential health benefits.

  2. Ferulic Acid: Hingu contains ferulic acid, a phenolic compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

  3. Coumarins: Coumarins are present in Hingu and contribute to its potential health effects.

  4. Essential Oils: Hingu contains essential oils that contribute to its strong aroma and potential therapeutic uses.

Rasa Panchaka:

Rasa (Predominant Taste): The predominant taste (Rasa) of Hingu is “Katu” (pungent).

Guna: The qualities (Guna) of Hingu are described as “Laghu” (light), “Teekshna” (piercing,enters deeep tissues), “Sara” (Mobile) and “Snigdha” (Unctuous).

Veerya: Hingu has “Ushna” (hot) Veerya or potency.

Vipaka: The Vipaka, or post-digestive effect, of Hingu is “Katu” (pungent).

Prabhava: Hingu is renowned for its special efficacy or “Prabhava” in enhancing digestion and relieving flatulence.

Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala:

Dosha: Hingu primarily balances the “Vata” and “Kapha” doshas, and it can increase the “Pitta” dosha in excess.

Dhatu: Hingu primarily acts on the “Anna Rasa” (nutrient plasma) and “Rakta Dhatu” (blood tissue), contributing to its role in digestion and blood health.

Mala: It supports the healthy elimination of waste products (mala), particularly aiding in the digestion and metabolism of food.

Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications):

Hingu is used in Ayurvedic medicine to address a range of health conditions, including:

  1. Digestive Health: Hingu is renowned for its digestive properties, helping to alleviate indigestion, flatulence, and abdominal discomfort.

  2. Respiratory Health: It is used to relieve respiratory issues like cough, bronchitis, and asthma due to its expectorant properties.

  3. Feminine Health: Hingu is used to manage menstrual discomfort and pain.

  4. Nervous System: It may be used to calm the nervous system and promote relaxation.

Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose):

Hingu is commonly used in cooking and Ayurvedic preparations. Dosages can vary based on the desired effect and individual constitution. Common dosages include:

  1. Culinary Use: A pinch or a small amount of Hingu is often used in cooking to enhance flavor and aid digestion.

  2. Therapeutic Use: In therapeutic preparations, Hingu can be taken in doses of 125-500 mg, usually with warm water or other suitable mediums.

Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations):

Hingu is a key ingredient in various Ayurvedic formulations. Some notable formulations containing Hingu are:

  1. Hingvastak Churna: A classical formulation used to support digestion and alleviate digestive discomfort.

  2. Ashtavargam Kashayam: A decoction used for various Vata disorders, often containing Hingu for its balancing effects.

  3. Rajahpravartani Vati: It is specifically formulated to help regulate and normalize menstrual cycles.

Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects):

Hingu is generally safe when used in culinary amounts. However, excessive consumption may lead to:

  1. Increase in Pitta: Overconsumption may lead to an increase in “Pitta” dosha, causing symptoms like heartburn or acidity.

Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures):

In case of any adverse effects, consider the following steps:

  1. Discontinue Use: If discomfort arises, reduce or discontinue Hingu usage.

  2. Cooling Measures: Consume cooling foods and drinks to balance excess Pitta.

  3. Consult a Practitioner: If adverse effects persist or worsen, consult an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional.

Shodhana (Purification Method):

The shodhana of hingu involves the simple process of frying of raw hingu with cow’s ghee

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Note: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with a qualified healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of any other medical condition.

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