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Progress in Essential Oils: Asafoetida Oil

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Asafoetida Oil and Extract

Oleo-gum-resins are naturally occurring mixtures of an essential oil, gum and a resin. One of the most well-known oleo-gum-resins is asafoetida. Asafoetida is a well-known condiment and source of traditional medicine, mainly in Afghanistan, India, Iran and Pakistan. The name asafoetida originates from the Persian word ‘aza,’ or ‘asa,’ (which means resin or mastic gum) and the Latin word ‘foetida’ (meaning “fetid, bad, stinking”). According to Shah and Zare (2013), it is also known as ‘devil’s dung.’

In addition to being a popular condiment in Afghanistan, India, Iran and Pakistan, particularly India, asafetida is reported to possess a wide range of biological properties (Sahebkar and Iranishi, 2010), which leads to its wide use in the above-listed countries in their traditional medicines (Iranshahy and Iranishahi, 2011, and Shah and Zare, 2014).

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Asafoetida is an oleo-gum-resin obtained from the exudates of the roots of the Afghanistani, Indian and Iranian endemic plant members of several Ferula species. Although Ferula assa-foetida L. is the main source of asafoetida, other Ferula species such as F. foetida (Bunge) Regel, F. rubricaullis. Boiss., F. alliacea Boiss. and F. narthex Boiss. have been reported (Coppen, 1995) to be used as a source of asafoetida gum-oleo-resin.

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