Gultharia Oil

Gulthania-bannerGultharia or the Indian Wintergreen is aboriginal to India and have amazing therapeutic properties in its kitty just like it’s sibling, the American Wintergreen also known as Gaultheria procumbens. Scientifically called as Gaultheria fragrantissim, Gultharia is an aromatic Indian shrub that has been in use for thousands of years in the treatment of chronic rheumatism and joint aches.

Celebrated as Gandapura in Ayurveda, Gultharia has been an important Ayurvedic remedy for relieving joint pain, muscular spasms, sprains, rheumatism, inflammation and for healing wounds.

It is for all these healing values, Gultharia and its essential oil, steam distilled from its leaves are used as an important ingredient in the popular Ayurvedic preparations like Rumalaya liniment, Rumalaya Gel and other herbal pain balms.

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Historical importance of Gultharia:

Indian Wintergreen has a unique healing aroma for which it is also known as Fragrant Wintergreen, is found growing in the sacred lands of the holy Himalayas from Uttarakhand to Myanmar and South Eastern Tibet. It is a member of the Rhododendron plant family, Ericaceae. Gultharia grows at an altitude of 1500 to 2700 m and bears dark-violet blue berries that attract the attention of birds and numerous insects towards it.

It is a known fact that the Indians of America were the first to identify the medicinal powers of Wintergreen in America and this was mainly due to the use of the Indian Wintergreen, which has been in use in the world’s oldest healing system on earth, Ayurveda before 5,000 years in India. The ancient Indians used the leaves of Gultharia herb in brewing tea for fighting against rheumatism, joint pain, toothache and other painful conditions.

These remedial leaves were also ground and used in poultices for relieving muscular aches, stiff joints and headache. It was later traced in 1800s that the pain-relieving qualities of Wintergreen plant was mainly due to the aspirin-like qualities present in these aromatic leaves helping in relieving pain in a jiffy, naturally.

Wintergreen leaves were used in making tea by the French explorers for assisting pain and this usage lead to the popular term ‘The du Canada’ means the ‘The tea of Canada’. The leaves of Gultharia plants were chewed by the traditional Indians as an aid for breathing during strenuous work, alleviating oral problems, freshening the breath and for treating back pain and joint aches.

The leaves of Gultharia plant were used in folklore medicinal system for rheumatism, sore throat, colic, inflammation, tooth decay, skin disorders, cold and body pain. It is also used as a flavoring ingredient in toothpastes, chewing gums, herbal teas, candies and health beverages. These leaves have also been a part of pesticides and insect repellants.

Therapeutic properties and chemical constituents of Gultharia essential oil:

Methyl salicylate is the major chemical constituent comprising of about 98% of its essential oil and the other components are gaultherilene, limonene, a-pinene, delta-cadinene, delta-3-carene and myrcene. These constituents contribute to its healing properties like anti-rheumatic, anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, analgesic, antispasmodic, carminative, astringent, emmenagogue, diuretic and stimulant.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Gultharia essential oil:

Healing according to Ayurveda is not an external force and real healing should always happen from within, for which every individual should have a thorough knowledge about their health condition and their entire system. You will know it appropriately when I say that the word ‘Ayurveda’ actually means ‘the knowledge of life’.

Ayurvedic healing aims at longevity through prevention of illnesses and healthy aging by following an Ayurvedic routine along with the use of herbs, essential oils and a balanced diet. The basic Ayurvedic principle revolves around the health of mind, body and soul.

The ancient secrets of this herbal healing methodology were spread to the world by Charaka and Sushruta, the renowned Ayurvedic experts of the primordial times. Charaka Samhita reiterates the Ayurvedic principle by stating that “The three – body, psyche, and soul – act as a tripod. The world stands upon them, and within them, the world abides.

Every human being is unique according to the Ayurvedic theory with a unique individual constitution comprised of three biological energies known as doshas. They are vata, pitta and kapha dosha.

Vata energy is responsible for respiration, movement and circulation of the body and controls the neurological imbalances and nervous impulses of the system. Pitta represents fire and is in charge of metabolic functions like digestion and absorption of essential nutrients by the body. Kapha dosha stands for water and is responsible for structure and sustenance of the body, imbalance of which can cause obesity and respiratory problems.

Gultharia essential oil reduces kapha dosha and increases pitta and vata doshas.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Gultharia or Indian Wintergreen essential oil are:

Gulthania-broucher1. Alleviates pain and inflammation:

Pain is the worst enemy of mankind, be it a joint pain or a headache, it has the power to destruct your work and drop down your day. Aspirin is one among the best over-the-counter remedies for treating pain and inflammation. You’ll be surprised to know that the remedial power of aspirin is due to the presence of methyl salicylate and with a high proportion of this constituent, generally many varieties of Wintergreen essential oil is used in various pain relievers in the market.

The pain-relieving quality of Gultharia essential oil is due its analgesic, anodyne and anti-inflammatory properties. Massage the painful area with 2 drops of Gultharia oil blended with 1 ml of coconut oil for relieving pain and reducing inflammation.

This remedial massage relieves pain by causing numbness on the painful area, boosts blood circulation, hinders the secretion of prostaglandin compounds that sensitize the spinal neurons to pain and promote peaceful sleep. You can also add 2 to 3 drops of Gultharia oil in hot or cold compress or in warm bathing water for reducing pain and inflammation.

2. Eases digestion:

Improper digestion is the primary reason for all the major illnesses in Ayurveda. Pitta energy is responsible for the digestive fire known as agni, which supports metabolic functions like digestion of food, absorption of essential nutrients and excretion of waste materials from the body.

Sluggish digestion occurs when there is an imbalance of pitta energy due to changes in the diet, lifestyle and emotional constitution of an individual.

Gultharia essential oil has the power to aggravate pitta dosha and acts as an excellent carminative, stimulant and diuretic. Massaging your stomach and abdomen with 2 drops of Gultharia oil mixed with 1 ml olive oil helps in eliminating the formation of gas, supports constipation, flatulence, promote the secretion of bile and other digestive juices and discharges excess salt, uric acid and toxic remains of undigested food through urine.

Inhaling the aroma of this oil by adding 1 drop of Gultharia oil to your diffuser or vaporizer helps in stimulating the secretion of digestive juices assisting in regular digestion.

3. Eliminates detrimental toxins from the body:

Gultharia essential oil has natural diuretic properties that promote sweating and frequent urination.  By this way, it helps in flushing out the harmful toxins like uric acid, excess salt, water and fat from the body.

Massaging your body with 6 drops of Gultharia essential oil blended with 4 ml olive oil can assist in treating water logging, obesity, edema, kidney stones, urinary infections and hypertension caused due to the accumulation of fat, water, uric acid and other toxins left behind due to improper digestion. Adding 3 to 4 drops of Gultharia oil in bathing water is also a great idea for getting rid of such toxic substances.

4. Boon to arthritis and rheumatic patients:

Rheumatism and arthritis mainly occur due to the accumulation of toxic substances in the body due to poor digestion and problems in the colon, that paves way for the toxins to reach the joints causing pain, lack of circulation, swelling and inflammation.

According to Ravi Bhanot, a popular Ayurvedic Researcher at the Ayurveda Institute of Europe, the best way to treat gout and rheumatic problems is to use medicated oil for massage that is made up of Wintergreen essential oil and menthol.

Gently massaging the affected parts with 4 drops of Gultharia oil with 2ml of sesame oil aids in triggering digestion, promoting the flow of urine through which the toxic substances are eliminated, warms up the muscles, stimulate blood circulation, and reduces pain and inflammation.

This way, the Indian Wintergreen essential oil acts as a boon to arthritis and rheumatic patients who suffer from pain, swollen muscles, inflamed joints and poor blood circulation.

5. Treats menstrual and menopausal problems:

Gultharia essential oil is a proven emmenagogue that can be of great aid in assisting female problems like menstrual discomforts and menopausal symptoms.

Massaging your lower abdomen with 3 drops of Gultharia oil blended with 1.5 ml of warm sesame oil can help in promoting delayed or blocked menstruation, lessen menstrual pain, reduce spasms, and treat nausea, fatigue, sleeplessness, tension and urinary problems associated with menses.

It can also help in reducing hot flashes and mood fluctuations in menopausal women by stimulating blood circulation and strengthening the uterine walls. Adding 2 drops of Gultharia oil in warm bath before going to bed and 1 drop added to your room diffuser at night can calm the tensed muscles and promote peaceful sleep at night.

6. Supports respiratory health:

Respiratory problems are mainly caused due to excess of kapha energy. With its power to lessen kapha dosha, Gultharia essential oil can effectively act upon reducing chest congestion, spasmodic coughs, breathing difficulties, asthma and nervous afflictions.

Adding 2 drops of this oil in steam inhalation can help you in eliminating excess phlegm and mucous deposits through urine and excreta. With its anti-spasmodic properties, Gultharia essential oil is also effective in treating spasms in the intestine, muscles, nervous system, respiratory system and circulatory system.

Other health benefits:

Gultharia essential oil is an efficacious natural remedy for healing wounds with its antiseptic properties. This oil is also known for its ability to enhance spiritual power, logical thinking, and reasoning skills and accentuate the harmony of the soul with the divine power. It is for this reason; the ancient saints used the leaves of the Indian Wintergreen plant during sacred ceremonies, special chants and meditations.

Disclaimer:

This article is only for the purpose of information and is not meant to diagnose or substitute professional advice or prescribed medication. Gultharia essential oil has a high proportion of methyl salicylate, which is a main ingredient in aspirin and is considered toxic in excess for internal usage.

Never use Gultharia essential oil internally and always ensure that you use this oil in a diluted form for topical application. Keep it away from children and please consult your Healthcare practitioner before using Gultharia essential oil if you are pregnant, nursing or allergic to aspirin. Always consult your Ayurvedic professional before using the right essential oil for your unique health condition and individual constitution.

Thought for the day:

Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend.
-Mao Zedong

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Essential Herbal for Natural Health: How to Transform Easy-to-Find Herbs into Healing Remedies for the Whole Family by Holly Bellebuono
  2. Ayurvedic Beauty Care: Ageless Techniques to Invoke Natural Beauty by Melanie Sachs
  3. American Indian Healing Arts: Herbs, Rituals, and Remedies for Every Season of Life by E. Barrie Kavasch, Karen Baar
  4. American Indian Medicine (The Civilization of the American Indian Series) by Virgil J. Vogel

Reference Links:

  1. About Wintergreen by eHow
  2. Wintergreen by the American Botanical Council
  3. Fragrant Wintergreen by Flowers of India
  4. Treatment of Gout – The Ayurvedic Way by Ravi Bhanot, Ayurvedic Researcher, The Ayurveda Institute of Europe

Harshiangar Oil

Harshiangar-bannerNight-flowering Jasmine, Parijat or Harshiangar, scientifically known as Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is known as the ‘Tree of sorrow’ and the word ‘Nyctanthes’ means ‘sad tree’. This is due its flowers that appear dull during the daytime and turn bright during the night.

The entire tree including its leaves, flowers, bark, seeds and stem is known to have amazing medicinal properties for which the tree has been used in various traditional and alternative healing methodologies for more than thousands of years.

Harshiangar essential oil is extracted from the leaves by steam distillation method. These curative leaves have been used in the Ayurvedic medicine for treating arthritis, sciatica, fever, pain, constipation, anxiety and rheumatism.

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Historical importance of Harshiangar:

Harshiangar tree has a long history behind its name and its use in the traditional healing systems. The most fascinating myth behind this tree is a heartbreaking romance where an ancient princess named Parijataka fall in love with the Surya Dev, the Sun God captivated by his brilliance and masculinity.

The God of Sun was also impressed by her affection and devotion and favored her with his love as well, after which he started ignoring Parijataka due to his other interests.

This despondency made Parijataka to kill herself and the Parijat tree is said to have started from the cremated ashes of this true to life princess. Due to this, Parijat tree is not able to put up with the sight of her love, Sun God during the day and blooms only during nightfall and sheds the fragrant flowers as tears before sunrise.

Harshiangar flower is the official flower of Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand and for West Bengal, India. The leaves have been used as an insecticide and the decoction extracted from the fresh leaves have been used in Ayurvedic healing in the treatment of malaria, bilious fevers, arthritis and sciatica. The traditional Indian medicinal system used these leaves as anti-allergic, ulcerogenic, purgative, anti-histaminic and antibacterial remedies.

The tribal Indians used all the parts of this tree to treat dysentery, sores, cough, venomous bites and dysentery. The powder extracted from the seeds was used in treating alopecia and scurvy. The infusion of Parijat flowers were used by the ancient Buddhist monks of Sri Lanka as an effective sedative.

People of Malaysia and Indonesia use the Parijat flowers to promote menstruation and treat dysmennorhea and blocked menstruation.  These leaves are also used as a natural diuretic, cholagogue and laxative. Harshiangar blossoms known as Shiuli in West Bengal, India signify the arrival of Goddess Durga, which is celebrated as Durga Pooja, the greatest religious ceremony of Bengal.

Therapeutic properties and chemical constituents of Harshiangar oil:

The essential oil of Harshiangar consists of linalool, hexenyl benzoate, e-phytol, a-terpineol, methyl salicylate, geraniol, hexadecanoic acid, octadecanoic acid, eugenol and hexenol as its major chemical constituents.

The therapeutic properties of this oil are anti-arthritic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-leishmanial, anti-pyretic, immunostimulant, antinociceptive, anti-allergy, anti-plasmodial, hepatoprotective and sedative.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Harshiangar oil:

Ayurveda is by far the oldest of all healing systems on earth and is known as the mother of all healing sciences including Unani, Homeopathy, Siddha, Chiropathy, Acupressure and Aromatherapy. The most significant aspect of Ayurveda is that it aims at prevention of diseases, healthy aging and longevity through the use of essential oils and herbs and by practicing simple physical exercises, yoga, meditation, Ayurvedic routine and a balanced diet.

Ayurveda considers every human being as a part of nature and states that the wellness and illness of an individual solely depends on his/her balance with nature. This theory believes that nature is made up of five vital elements namely fire, water, air, earth and space.

Everything that is a part of nature is also made up of these elements. Human beings according to Ayurveda are a distinct part of nature with a unique individual constitution that comprises of three biological energies known as doshas, where each dosha represents a combination of the vital elements of nature.

Vata symbolizes air and space and it governs the blood circulation, movement and respiration. Pitta is a representation of fire and water and is responsible for digestion and other metabolic functions. Kapha stands for water and earth and is accountable for structure and sustenance of the system.

Balance between these doshas symbolizes perfect health and doshic imbalances lead to illnesses. Ayurvedic remedies like herbs, yoga, meditation, essential oils, balanced diet, physical exercises and Ayurvedic routine are prescribed to strike balance between these doshas.

Harshiangar essential oil is said to lessen kapha and aggravate vata and pitta doshas.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Harshiangar essential oil are:

Harhsiangar-broucher1. Relieves pain and inflammation:

With its powerful anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, Harshiangar essential oil is a highly recommended Ayurvedic medicine for treating pain and inflammatory conditions. It is highly effective in relieving pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, rheumatism, sore muscles, stress and muscular tension.

‘Antiarthritic studies on Nyctanthes arbor-tristis and Maharasnadi ghan’ by VES College of Pharmacy and K.M. Kundnani College of Pharmacy, Mumbai, India studied the effectiveness of Harshiangar herb on arthritis, especially Gouty arthritis which is caused due to the deposits of urate crystals in the synovial cavity. This study concluded that the use of Parijat leaves helped in controlling irritation, pain and inflammation associated with Gouty arthritis.

Mix 4 to 5 drops of Harshiangar essential oil with 2ml of coconut oil and heat it slightly. Gently massage the painful and inflamed parts with this warm blend and follow it with a hot compress.

This is a powerful medication for treating rheumatic pain, arthritis, joint pain, knee pain, headache, sciatica, muscular aches, menstrual pain, back pain and arthritic pain. Its efficiency to reduce kapha dosha helps in clearing the stagnation of excess fluids causing swelling and inflammation in case of rheumatism and other related problems.

A 1984 study on “Study of anti-inflammatory activity in the leaves of Nyctanthes arbor tristis Linn.–an Indian medicinal plant” proved that the use of Harshiangar leaves helped in reducing acute and chronic phases of formaldehyde induced arthritis. It was also said that these leaves were of great help in treating inflammatory conditions in Ayurveda.

2. Cures malaria and other bilious fevers:

Parijat leaves are a proven natural remedy for treating malarial fever and other bilious fever that are accompanied by nausea, strong diarrhea and increasing internal temperature mainly due to bile disorders.

Dr. Ashok B Vaidya, Research Director of ICMR Advance Centre for Reverse Pharmacology in Traditional Medicine at Kasturba Health Society, Mumbai said “Parijat leaves’ extract was being used in anti-malarial activities in western India, especially Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The Parijat leaf extract is effective against both types of known malarial parasite, but it is especially useful against even the resistant strain of Plasmodium Falciparum, and even the crude extracts of Parijat leaves kill the parasites of malaria.”

Add 2 drops of Harshiangar essential oil with 1ml Olive oil and gently massage the soles of your feet for reducing the body temperature during high fever and for arresting the growth of infectious organisms causing fever.

3. Fights against free radicals:

Free radicals are nothing but atoms or molecules that cause cellular damage precisely known as oxidative damage leading to aging and other malignant disorders. Human body requires ample amount of antioxidants to guard it against the harmful effects of free radicals that affect healthy cells in the body.

A 2010 study on the Invitro antioxidant effects of Nyctanthes arbor-tristis leaves have proved this herb as a potential source of natural antioxidants that help in combating the detrimental effects of free radicals and prevent the early symptoms of aging and the development of cancerous cells.

A refreshing Ayurvedic massage with 3 drops of Harshiangar oil with 2 ml of Jojoba oil can help you in checking the effects of these hazardous free radicals and their subsequent effects.

4. Combats virus and other micro-organisms:

Harshiangar essential oil is an effective natural remedy for fighting against harmful virus and other micro-organisms.

A 2012 study on “The chemical composition and biological activities of essential oil from leaf and bark of Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L.” by the University of Alabama, Huntsville and Tribhuvan University, Nepal screened the effectiveness of Parijat essential oil against Gram positive bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Gram negative bacteria like Escherichia coli, Aspergillus niger and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, proved that Harshiangar essential oil is an established traditional remedy that has potent antimicrobial activity.

Certain other studies have witnessed the effectiveness of this oil in combating viruses like Semliki Forest Virus and encephalomyocarditis virus. Gently applying 2 drops of this oil mixed with 1 ml coconut oil acts as an effective remedy in protecting wounds and injuries from getting septic as it arrests the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, which is accountable for wounds becoming septic and vulnerable to other health complexities.

This blend can also assist in treating pimples, blackheads and other skin disorders. With its anti-allergenic effect, this oil is also of great help in treating skin allergies and itches.

Other health benefits:

Apart from these major health benefits, Harshiangar essential oil is helpful in stimulating the immune power, make the body resistant against diseases, prevent illnesses that affect the liver, calms the mind with its sedative effect, clears congestion, treats constipation, asthma, dyspepsia, bronchitis and many other health conditions.

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purpose only and is not intended for treatment or for replacing any professional advice or prescribed medication. Never use essential oils internally. Ensure that you always use essential oils in a diluted manner before using it topically as organic essential oils are extremely concentrated substances and can harm the skin if used directly. Consult your Ayurvedic professional before choosing the right essential oils for your unique health condition and individual constitution.

Thought for the day:

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.
-Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Suggested Reading:

  1. Tropical and Subtropical Trees: An Encyclopedia by Margaret Barwick
  2. Flowering Plants. Eudicots (The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants) from Springer
  3. The Modern Ayurveda: Milestones beyond the Classical Age from CRC Press
  4. The Materia Medica of the Hindus (Classic Reprint) by Udoy Chand Dutt

Reference Links:

  1. Nyctanthes arbor-tristis by Wikipedia
  2. Nyctanthes arbor-tristis Linn. (Night Jasmine): A sacred ornamental plant with immense medicinal potentials published in the Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge
  3. Antiarthritic studies on Nyctanthes arbor tristis and Maharasnadi ghan by Abhijeet R. Bhalerao, Sandhya K. Desai, Bhavin R. Serathia, Kaustubh M. Vartak, Gaurav M. Doshi published in the Scholars Research Library
  4. Study of anti-inflammatory activity in the leaves of Nyctanthes arbor tristis Linn.–an Indian medicinal plant by Saxena RS, Gupta B, Saxena KK, Singh RC, Prasad DN published in PubMed
  5. Chemical composition and biological activities of essential Oil from leaf and bark of Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L. from Nepal by Prabodh Satyal, Prajwal Paudel, Ambika Poudel and William N. Setzer published in the Open Access Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

Heeng Oil (Asafoetida)

Heeng-bannerAsafoetida is seen as an archaic remedy for flatulence, colic and other digestive disorders but the truth is that this ‘Food of Gods’ is still boasting its potent of treating various disorders from toothache to impotency for more than 5,000 years, where it’s use has been documented in Ashtanga Hridaya, which is one of the ancient text of the world’s oldest healing science known as Ayurveda.

Highly carped for its pungent aroma, Asafoetida has never failed in adding that extra spice to numerous traditional dishes in various countries including India, Europe, North Africa and the United States.

Known as Rāmaha, Badhika and Sahasravedhi in Sanskrit, Heeng and its essential oil has been prescribed in the Ayurvedic medicine for treating flatulence, whooping cough, painful menstruation, premature ejaculation, impotency, diabetes, asthma, intestinal worms and toothache.

Purchase Heeng Oil (Asafoetida) – Wholesale – CLICK HERE

Historical importance of Heeng (Asafoetida):

Asafoetida is native to Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Botanically known as Ferula assa-foetida, it is a member of the Apiaceae plant family and the commercial part used is the oleo-gum resin extracted from the thickened roots and rhizomes. It is also known by other famous names like hing, narthex, heeng, food of Gods, devil’s dung, haltheeth, giant fennel, ting and stinking gum.

Ayurveda quotes “Asafoetida is a grounding herb that can therefore balance an overactive, over emotional, turbulent system“. It was one among the common herbs prescribed for the treatment of hysteria. It was used in 1918 to combat the Spanish influenza pandemic. It was also used as a topical remedy for relieving abdominal injuries.

Heeng is a popular spice all over the world and is used as a digestive aid, flavoring agent and as a condiment in food varieties and in pickles. It is used in daily food preparations in India especially by the followers of Vaishnavism, Jainism and by the merchant caste. Asafoetida was the most prevalent folk remedy for treating flatulence, colic and cold in children and as a contraceptive medicine.

The Arabian pharmacists and scientists like Avicenna, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi and Ibn al-Baitar have talked about the positive effects of Asafoetida on digestive system and the respiratory system. It is used in magic spells in the African-American Hoodoo tradition for its power to protect as well as to curse.

Asafoetida is also used in the Jamaican culture for protecting babies from evil spirits. The Jewish literatures like Mishneh Torah and Mishnah have also talked about this spice.

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Heeng oil:

The remedial properties of Heeng essential oil are nervine, carminative, aphrodisiac, vermifuge, abortifacient, antispasmodic, stimulant, anti-flatulent, antimicrobial, analgesic, antiseptic, anti-epileptic, fertility enhancer, contraceptive, anthelmintic, expectorant, bronchodilator and emmenagogue. The major chemical constituents are phellandrenes, α-pinene, hendecyl-sulphonyl acetic acid, ferulic acid and ethers of sesquiterpenes with coumarines like farnesi feroles.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Heeng (Asafoetida) oil:

Asafoetida is a promising Ayurvedic remedy for treating digestive and respiratory disorders for thousands of years. Known as the oldest of all the healing systems on earth, Ayurveda is the mother of all medicinal practices in the world having its roots deeply vested with India, the world’s oldest historical tradition.

Ayurveda is considered as the only healing methodology that considers human body as a temple where the real soul dwells in. It also states that Mother Nature is made up of five vital elements namely fire, water, earth, air and ether. Being a part of Nature, human beings are also made up of these five fundamental elements that pair together and form the biological energies called as doshas.

Just like an individual’s fingerprints, each one of us on earth has a unique individual constitution that comprises of these three doshas namely vata, pitta and kapha. Vata is a representation of air and space and is responsible for respiration, nervous functions, circulation, excretion and creativity.

Pitta stands for fire and water and is accountable for digestion, absorption, metabolism and thinking capacity. Kapha represents water and earth and is in charge for structure, movement of fluids, sustenance and love.

Every individual has a dominance of any one of these doshas and it determines their characteristics, temperament and behavioral attributes. Balance between these doshas indicates health and imbalance causes illnesses. Ayurvedic remedies are prescribed in a such a manner to set right these doshic imbalances.

Heeng and its essential oil in Ayurveda is said to increase Pitta energy and balance vata and kapha dosha with its pungent taste and enormous healing properties. In the Ayurvedic text Ashtanga Hridaya Su Chapter l it is mentioned that “Asafoetida mitigates vata and kapha, relieves flatulence and colic pain. It is pungent taste and at the end of digestion. It aggravates pitta, enhances appetite, taste and digestion. It is easy to digest”.

The major Ayurvedic health benefits of Heeng oil are:

Heeng-broucher

1. Benefits to the digestive system:

Just by hearing the word ‘Asafoetida’ anyone in India would just say that it is the best natural remedy for treating flatulence, colic and indigestion in children as well as elderly people. With its anti-flatulent, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Heeng essential oil aids in relieving from abdominal gas, stomach pain, intestinal gas and bloating.

It cleanses the intestinal flora and augments the digestive fire. By this way it eliminates all kinds of stagnation in the gastrointestinal tract, relieves cramping and drives out intestinal gas. The strong herbaceous aroma of this oil assists in soothing the lining of the stomach and intestines, reducing distention, treating spasms and increasing the appetite.

Gently massaging your tummy and abdomen with 2 drops of Asafoetida oil blended with 1 ml of sesame oil will be of great help in treating all types of stomachic and intestinal problems in a comforting manner.

You can also add 1 drop of Heeng oil to warm bathing water or to diffuser in the dining hall to stimulate the process of metabolism and for enhancing the stamina, as this oil is known to nurture the earth element that is responsible for strength and vigor.

Asafoetida is used as a traditional medicine for treating constipation and flatulence in 60% people of Jammu and Kashmir, India and this wonder herbal medicine lessens the development of indigenous microflora in the gut, thus helping in reducing flatulence. It has also been used in western medicinal system as a topical remedy for treating abdominal injuries since the 18th century.

2. Benefits to the respiratory system:

Heeng and its essential oil is an ancient folk remedy for treating cold especially in children. This is mainly due to its antimicrobial and expectorant properties along with its ability to reduce kapha dosha, which is responsible for excess phlegm and mucous deposits causing cold and other respiratory problems.

Add 2 drops of Heeng oil to steam inhalation or to vapor rub and massage it on your chest, neck and back for expelling mucous and phlegm deposits in the bronchial, nasal and respiratory passages. Asafoetida has antimicrobial values that arrest the growth of infectious organisms that worsen cold and cough and pave way for chronic respiratory conditions.

It has been proven effective in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, chest congestion, whooping cough and other respiratory problems. There are numerous home remedies with Asafoetida for treating respiratory disorders and various other health conditions.

One popular home remedy with Heeng is mixing half teaspoon of asafoetida powder with fresh betel leaf juice and white onion juice along with honey every day for treating whooping cough, bronchitis and asthma.

A 2009 study on ‘Influenza A (H(1)N(1)) Antiviral and Cytotoxic Agents from Ferula assa-foetida’ have proved the effectiveness of Asafoetida in combating the harmful effects of H1N1 virus with its antiviral and cytotoxic elements. This study concluded that Asafoetida exhibited greater potency against influenza A virus and against HepG2, Hep3B, and MCF-7 cancer cell lines, correspondingly.

3. Benefits to the reproductive system:

Asafoetida addresses male and female reproductive problems in a natural way. It is known to cure impotency, premature ejaculation and spermatorrhoea in men by increasing the libido and it also acts as an effective aphrodisiac.

Mix 2 drops of Heeng oil with 1 ml of olive oil and gently massage on your lower abdomen or add 1 drop of this oil to your bathing tub before going to bed. Regular use of this therapy can show effective results as the therapeutic molecules present in this oil penetrate deeply into the system through the skin and stimulate the male reproductive system.

Heeng as a powerful herb and a strong essential oil has emmenagogue properties and has been in use as a natural contraceptive. It will be of great assistance in treating dysmennorhea or painful menstruation, excessive bleeding, irregular or delayed periods, leucorrhea, nausea, fatigue, anxiety and other symptoms associated with menses.

The best way to use Heeng oil for menstrual discomforts is by massaging your lower abdomen with 2 drops of this oil mixed with 1 ml sesame oil or add it in a hot compress for improved results.

As a contraceptive or abortifacient, Heeng oil can be used in treating unplanned abortion, sterility in women and premature labor. It is also effective in improving the quality and quantity of breast milk in nursing women. Using Asafoetida in post-pregnancy period is recommended for relieving colic, indigestion and other digestive difficulties in both the mother and the baby.

4. Benefits to oral health:

Human mouth has the highest possibilities of being affected by millions of micro-organisms that not only cause hazards to oral health but also to the entire body. Heeng essential oil has potent antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that aids in treating toothache, bleeding gums, bad breath or halitosis and harmful cavities.

Add 1 drop of Heeng oil in a cup of warm water and use it as a gargle for getting rid of various oral problems. You can also add 1 drop of this oil to a piece of cotton and dab it on your aching tooth for immediate relief.

5. Benefits to the entire system:

Asafoetida and its essential oil are beneficial to the entire system in a number of ways. It has been proven effective in stimulating the pancreatic cells to secrete more insulin as improved insulin levels are known to bring down the blood sugar levels to normal.

According to certain studies, the antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties of Asafoetida curbs the growth of malignant cells causing cancerous tumors. Since the ancient times, this condiment has been used as a powerful antidote for opium as it is identified to counter the effect of the ingested drug.

Asafoetida is defined as ‘Tamasic’ in Ayurveda for its properties of resistance, dullness, inertia and darkness on the mind and it can balance the over emotional, hyperactive and chaotic system.

This condiment is also used as a pesticide and insecticide for protecting crops from pests and for repelling mosquitoes and certain other insects.

Disclaimer:

This article is only for informational purpose and is not directed to diagnose or replace any prescribed medicines or professional medical advice. Never take essential oils internally and always dilute essential oils before using it topically. This is because organic and pure essential oils are highly concentrated liquids and can cause allergic reactions if used in an undiluted manner.

Remember to consult your Ayurvedic practitioner before choosing the most suitable essential oil for your unique constitution and health condition. Avoid using Heeng oil if you are a pregnant woman as it has strong abortifacient properties.

Thought for the day:

Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light. -Theodore Roethke

Suggested Reading:

  1. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller
  2. Ayurvedic Healing Cuisine by Harish Johari
  3. Herbs: An Inside Look Into The World of Alfalfa, Basil, Asafoetida, Burdock, Catnip and More by Vanesa Payne
  4. The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine by David Frawley, Vasant Lad
  5. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide by Burton Goldberg Group

Reference Links:

  1. Asafoetida by Wikipedia
  2. Asafoetida (Hing) Benefits by Speedy Remedies.com
  3. Asafoetida by The Spices Board India
  4. Asafoetida – A Grounding Herb by American Botanical Council
  5. Influenza A (H(1)N(1)) Antiviral and Cytotoxic Agents from Ferula assa-foetida by Lee, CL; Chia-Lin Lee, Lien-Chai Chiang, Li-Hung Cheng, Chih-Chuang Liaw, Mohamed H. Abd El-Razek, Fang-Rong Chang, Yang-Chang Wu, College of Pharmacy, China published in PubMed