Hingu is one of the most commonly found herbs in India. It is extensively used as an antimicrobial, anthelmintic, and anti-allergic agent and can also be inhaled by adding it to hot water to manage pneumonia, asthma, and whooping cough. In Ayurveda classical textbooks, it is mentioned to be Deepaniya, Swasahara, Sangyasthapana, and is Katuskandhi.
Hingu comprises of oleo-gum-resin obtained from rhizomes and roots of Ferula foetida Regel., Ferula narthex Bioss, and other species of Ferula (Fam. Umbelliferae). It is a perennial herb occurring in Persia and Afghanistan. The resin of Hingu is collected after making incisions at the upper part of taproot of more than five-year-old plants by scrapping in March till April. Before flowering, the whole process is repeated many times, after one or two days or after a few weeks when it gets hardened.
Hingu is also referred to as ‘Food of God.’ It has a distinct pungent smell. Ferula foetida has been widely used not only for culinary purposes but also as a therapeutic measure. From Hingu the dried latex is obtained by making a deep incision in the roots or the rhizomes selected for both culinary and medicinal uses. In today’s time, people prefer using medicinal plants rather than using chemical drugs. Hence, Hingu can be seen used in day-to-day life and for treatment purposes, as it effectively works in stomach problems like gastritis, bloating, abdominal pain, flatulence and promotes overall digestive health. It has encouraging therapeutic value due to chemical components like derivatives of sulphides, volatile oil, etc.
Scientific Classification of Hingu (Ferula foetida):
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Family: Apiaceae
- Order: Apiales
Hingu (Ferula foetida) Synonyms:
- Sanskrit: Ramaha, Sahasravedhi
- Assamese: Hin
- Bengali: Hing
- English: Asfoetida
- Gujrati: Hing, Vagharni
- Hindi: Hing, Hingda
- Kannada: Hing, Ingu
- Kashmiri: Eng
- Malayalam: Kayam
- Marathi: Hing, Hira, Hing
- Oriya: Hengu, Hingu
- Punjabi: Hing
- Tamil: Perungayam
- Telugu: Inguva
- Urdu: Hitleet, Hing
Hingu (Ferula foetida) Description:
- a) Macroscopic: Hingu is rounded, flattened, or masses of agglutinated tears, greyish to white to dull yellow. It is mostly 12-25 mm in diameter and freshly exposed surface, yellowish and translucent or milky white, opaque, slowly becoming pink, red, finally reddish-brown. It consists of a strong odor, characteristic and persistent, and taste is acrid and bitter.
A bright red or reddish-brown color is produced to identify Hingu, freshly broken surface when introduced to sulphuric acid, which changes to violet when the acid is washed off with water. Also, boiling 0.2 gm with 2 ml of hydrochloric acid for about 1 minute, then let it cool and dilute with an equal volume of water, and filter it into 3 ml of a dilute solution of Ammonia fluorescence is produced.
Identity, Purity, and Strength of Hingu (Ferula foetida):
- Foreign matter Not more than 2 percent, Appendix 2.2.2.
- Total Ash Not more than 15 percent, Appendix 2.2.3.
- Acid-insoluble ash Not more than 3 percent, Appendix 2.2.4.
- Alcohol-soluble extractive Not less than 50 percent, Appendix 2.2.6.
- Water-soluble extractive Not less than 50 percent, Appendix 2.2.7.
Chemical Composition of Hingu (Ferula foetida):
Hingu consists of essential oil, gum, and resin. In general, Hingu consists of around carbohydrates (68%), moistures (16%), protein (4%), and fat (1%), minerals (7%), and fiber (4%). It consists of three main fractions, which include resin (40 to 64%), gum (25%), and essential oils (10 to 17%).
Ayurvedic Properties and Action of Hingu (Ferula foetida):
- Rasa: Katu
- Guna: Tikshana
- Virya: Usna
- Vipaka: Katu
- Karma: Anulomana, Dipana, Hrdya, Krmighna, Pacana, Rucya, Vatakaphaprasamana
Ayurvedic Formulation made by Hingu (Ferula foetida):
Hingu is used to make Hingvastaka Churna, Hingvadi Churna, Hinguvacadu Churna.
Therapeutic Uses of Hingu (Ferula foetida):
There are many therapeutic uses of Hingu mentioned in Ayurvedic Classical Textbooks, such as Sularoga, Adhmana, Gulma, Hridroga, Krimiroga, Udararoga, Agnimandya, Anaha.
Dose of Hingu (Ferula foetida):
The dose of Hingu, as mentioned, is 125-500 mg of the drug.
Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India.