Is Consuming Hing (Asafoetida) Safe during Pregnancy?
Hing or Asafoetida is a herb which is widely used in Indian recipes. It is obtained from the roots of a herb called Ferula. It provides a specific taste and flavour and is used mainly in vegetarian recipes. It is added to chutneys, spicy curries, pickles, and sauces. Asafoetida is known to have many health benefits as it comes from a family of medicinal herbs. Many people take asafoetida to get relief from breathing problems. Women also take it to cure any menstrual problem they may have as it stimulates the uterus. It helps in restarting your menstrual period if it has stopped for some reason. It is also useful in treating sexually transmitted diseases and a number of genital infections. Many people also use asafoetida to fight depression as it is said to be a nerve stimulant. It is also used for various other purposes:
- Used to treat calluses and corns when applied directly on the skin
- Used to make an essential oil widely used in aromatherapy
- Can treat an upset stomach, irritable colon, and painful gas
Can You Eat Hing while Pregnant?
In Indian food preparations, asafoetida (hing) is added in very small amounts (just a pinch) and so may not cause much harm if consumed during pregnancy. However, there are certain precautions that you need to take before consuming asafoetida during pregnancy. No doubt it can cure your flatulence or any colic pain, it can cause a miscarriage if taken in too high amounts. Hence, an overdose of hing can lead to serious complications for pregnant women.
Side Effects of Asafoetida in Pregnancy
Below are a few side effects of consuming asafoetida or hing goli in pregnancy:
- Hing is restricted for pregnant women with blood pressure problems as it can interfere with blood pressure control.
- Hing has an abortifacient property. This means that it can cause the developing embryo to fail to implant into the uterine lining and die as a result. This property can stimulate menstruation and cause miscarriage too if hing is taken in high amounts.
- Hing is also known to be harmful to young children as it contains certain chemicals. It can mix with breast milk and get transferred to a newborn, increasing the risk of potential disorders in him.
- According to Ayurveda, consuming hing when you are pregnant will reduce the air elements or the ‘vata’ in your body, which can interfere with the development of nervous tissue in the foetus.
- Eating too much of hing can result in burping, gas, diarrhoea, swollen lips, and a throat infection which can be harmful to a pregnant woman and her unborn baby as well.
- Eating raw hing can cause vomiting and nausea because of its strong flavour and hence is unhealthy for pregnant women.
It is best to avoid hing or asafoetida entirely in your first trimester of pregnancy. You can consume it in the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy but in a very small amount. Make sure to consult your doctor about consuming hing during pregnancy and stay safe.