Ferula asafoetida is a herbaceous plant of the Umbelliferae family. It is oleo gum resin obtained from the rhizome and root of the plant. This spice is used as a digestive aid, in food as a condiment and in pickles. It is used in modern herbalism in the treatment of hysteria, some nervous conditions, bronchitis, asthma, and whooping cough. It was at one time employed in the treatment of infantile pneumonia and flatulent colic. The gum resin is antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant, laxative, and sedative. The volatile oil in the gum is eliminated through the lungs, making this an excellent treatment for asthma (1).
The aforementioned pharmacological activities of asafoetida are attributed to its phytochemical constituents such as saponins, steroids, glycosides, phenolic compounds such as tannins and flavonoids (2).
This plant has anticancer activity as well, it has been studied that the aqueous and alcoholic extracts of Asafoetida, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom on HEP-G2 cancer cell lines and human breast cell line (MCF-7) showed the chemopreventive activity throughout in vitro growth inhibitory assay. The aqueous, as well as alcoholic extracts of Asafoetida, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom, were observed as cytotoxic agents against these tumor cells(3).