Asa foetida Anhang


[M.L. Tyler]

"A gum resin obtained by piercing the living root of different species of Ferula." N. O. umbelliferae. Ours is Narthrex asafoetida.

The fresh oil is said to "small not unpleasantly: but when decomposed it gives off sulphuretted hydrogen", the charming and penetrating odor of electioneering eggs.

Political meetings have been broken up by the introduction of asafoetida into the hall by rowdy partisans of the rival candidate. Hale White gives another drastic use

for the drug: "cases of malingering (= simulation) may sometimes be cured by making the patient take, 3x daily, an effervescing draught containing a few minutes

each of the tinctures of valerian and asafoetida.

The effervescence makes the nasty taste of these medicines repeat in the mouth for some time after taking them."

Old School has a pill of asafoetida, aloes, hard soap and confection of roses: in the margin of our copy of Hale White stands scribbled in pencil.

"Stinks and aloes, one supposes;

But why hard soap, and why the roses”?

These silly little things used to make examinations so easy!

And Kent gives yet another popular use as a supposed protection against disease, hence used in the stables. He says lumps of "foety" as they called it were put in the

corn for the horse, to keep off distemper. And he says "it has been used by the laity as a medicine for fainting, for hysteria, for all sorts of nervous symptoms and

complaints: this use is justified by the proving".

In the Cyclopaedia of Drug Pathogenesy we find provings and poisonings by Asafoetida. In one case it evoked "pressing pain in the cardiac region, as if from over-filling

and distension of the heart".

In another there was a sensation of "compression of the brain”/”As if surrounded and pressed together by a cloth". "The thorax was seized with spasmodic contractions, till

it seemed “As if the lungs could not expand completely, respirations being normal”. Again, a "sensation as of a cord tied tightly round brain”. "Chest so constricted as if squeezed by a heavy body lying on sternum": and, always, distension of abdomen: "rumbling, gurgling, distension".


Some italic/curious symptoms:

Swashing and gurgling sensation in brain (frontal).

“As if a nail or plug were driven into brain: like a pointed plug in l. temple and r. parietal”.

“As if nose would burst”.

Heat of face, ear and hands with chills down back.

Fatty, rancid taste in mouth.

Spasm of oesophagus like that of hysteria.

Winding and twisting in bowels, “As of reversed peristalsis”. “As if heart would burst”.

Has a loathing of beer.

Constriction of chest; of throat (about heart).

Cramp in forehead.

Throbbing: head; in and about eye; pit of stomach; big toe.

Numbness: bones of face (nose/chin).

[Clarke] "The symptoms of Asafoetida present an almost perfect picture of hysteria of the flatulent order. Reversed peristalsis of stomach and bowels.

Excessive abdominal distension, and “As if everything in the abdomen would burst through the mouth”. After belching of wind, strong rancid taste in the mouth.

Many of the discharges are fetid; watery stools of most disgusting odour; profuse and greenish: fetid flatus the fetid smell of the drug may be regarded as one of

its "signatures." Periosteal affections ending in ulcers which are so sensitive that no dressing is tolerated”. (Hep.).


A very great sensitiveness, hypersensitiveness, especially in those in whom the venous system predominates over the arterial. It affects l. hypochondriac region;

l. abdomen; l. neck, and nape of neck, l. upper and lower extremities, l. ear. General symptoms left side.

Dissatisfied about oneself. Complains of her troubles.

Fetid or purulent discharges from ears: green and fetid from nose. Ozaena.

Fatty taste: risings in throat. Loathing; inclination to vomit. Pulsations pit of stomach, perceptible to hand and eye.

Asafoetida, a drug of very definite localities and modalities. It vents itself on the mind, the nerves, the organs of special sense, the digestive tract, the periosteum,

and especially on the left side.

Curious how since drugs pick out the right side, some the left. WHY? But it is the same with patients: one comes whose every ailment is on the left side; another, on the right. A study of these remedies is often useful in prescribing.


The Asafoetida patient: plethoric appearance, face puffed, bloated, even dropsical "puffed, venous, purple".


"a very troublesome face, suggesting cardiac disturbance and venous stasis". (These patients have the extreme sensitiveness that make you think of such remedies as Hepar).

"Fat, flabby, purple: and therewith extremely sensitive to pain, full of hysteria”. Such persons may have ulcers, extremely sensitive, and extremely offensive. Periostitis

[tibia (Asaf. specialized for the tibia like Agar. Lach. Rhus-t. Dros.)]. One remembers a bad case of Pagets disease of the tibia, with atrocious pain, where none of these drugs helped, but DROS., with its pain in long bones, acted marvellously, restoring painlessness and sleep.

Asafoetida is one of the remedies of "old scars, when they turn purple and threaten to suppurate", "take on a venous aspect and become painful and turn black".


Full of discharges; catarrhal, watery, from different places, even watery stools: and all these discharges are horribly offensive and ichorous. Bloody discharges, horribly offensive, from nose, eyes, ears, chest, bowels, fistula openings, ulcers. The phlegmatic person who is purple, who gets no sympathy when sick, and is almost distracted

about the horrible fetid discharges. Even the discharges from the eyes may be bloody and offensive.

Most of the pains seem to bore, “As extending from the bone to the surface, from within out”.

Numbness: in general/of scalp/deep in head: numb, dead feeling + pain (Cham./Plat.)/nose. Often, numbness after sleep.

Hysteria: ball rises, “As in globus hystericus². Hysterical and choreic affections of oesophagus and trachea. This "lump in the throat, or suffocation", is a sort of hysterical spasm of the oesophagus.

Stomach. If you have ever seen a typical cases of Asaf. you will wonder where all the air comes from. It comes up in volumes: choreic jerking of the diaphragm, with expulsion of wind like the sound of a small pop-gun going off almost every second. Loud belching: loud eructations of wind from the stomach flatus not downward, but all upwards always horribly offensive. Meteorism.

Liquid stools of most disgusting smell. .

< at night.

The direction of Asaf. from within, outwards. The heart feels over full to bursting. The nose as if it would burst. Abdominal distention, “As if everything in the body would burst out through the mouth.

[R. Hughes ]

A symptom one has not observed elsewhere, but which one finds recorded in the poisonings, in the “Cyclopaedia of Drug Pathogenesy”: "undulating twitchings in muscles”.

One saw this recently while actually reading up the drug, in a patient; undulating twitchings (upper arm); ripples, wave like, in the arm muscles front and back.

The patient seems to have seen them first, rather felt them. She has received Asaf. and it will be interesting to hear the outcome. But nerve specialists in London and in Belgium confessed that they had never seen this before: and proceeded to give a rather terrible diagnosis: which other system did not, so far, seem to bear out.

Asaf. is one of the drugs that affect the secretion of milk; causing its disappearance; its increased flow; even its appearance in the breasts of non-pregnant, or elderly, women; as in a woman of 50, where "the breasts swelled and secreted a milky fluid".


[Dr. rer. nat. Martin Smollich]

1. Einleitung

Die Arzneidroge Asa foetida (= Teufelsdreck, Asant) war über Jahrhunderte fester Bestandteil des Arzneischatzes in Europa, dem Nahen Osten, Persien und Indien.

Das Deutsche Arzneibuch 6 aus dem Jahre 1926 führt Asa foetida und liefert die entsprechenden Prüfvorschriften[1]. Neben der pharmazeutisch-medizinischen Verwendung war der Asant darüber hinaus in Volksglauben und volkstümlichem Heilwissen verankert. Eine der wichtigsten Stoffeigenschaften der Droge wird bereits durch den Namen Asa foetida beschrieben, mit foetidus: lat. übelriechend (entspr. „übelriechendes Gummiharz“). Im pharmazeutischen Bereich war die Droge damit über ihre olfaktorische Eigenschaft von einem weiteren häufig verwendeten Gummiharz, dem wohlriechenden Asa dulcis oder Asa odorata (für Benzoe), unterschieden.

2. Synonyme

Aus dem Jahrtausende währenden, volkstümlichen und medizinischen Gebrauch der Droge entstand eine Vielzahl von Synonymen:

Assa foetida, Asant, Asam, Falsch Futter, Fötium, Gummi asae foetidae, Gummi resina asa foetida, Hingischgummi, Lacrima syriaca, Laser foetidum, Laser syriacum,

Merda daemonis, Narthex asa foetida, Nassam, Peucedanum narthex peucedanum scorodosma, Resina gummosa ferulae assafoetidae, Scorodosma foetidum, Stercus diaboli, Stercus foetida, Stinkasant, Stinkasantgummi, Stinkasantgummiharz, Stinkasantharz, Stinkender Asand, Succus medicus, Succus syriacus, Teufelsdreck, Teufelskot, Unreiner Kot, Watt von Schwarten.

3. Stammpflanzen

Asa foetida bezeichnet den luftgetrockneten Milchsaft (Gummiharz) verschiedener Ferula-Arten, insbesondere von Ferula assa-foetida Linné, Ferula narthex Boissier und Ferula foetida (Bunge) Regel. Die Ferula-Arten gehören zur Familie der Apiaceae (Doldengewächse) und sind in den Stein- und Salzwüsten Persiens und Afghanistans verbreitet[4]. In Südeuropa sind darüber hinaus verwandte Arten wie Ferula communis Linné und Ferula chiliantha Rech (Steckenkraut) heimisch. Diese gelbblühenden Doldenblütler werden bis zu vier Meter groß und zeichnen sich durch meterlange Blätter aus, die feinstgliedrig (dillartig) unterteilt sind. Die Vertreter der Ferula-Arten führen sämtlich den als Rohmaterial für Asa foetida verwendeten, weißen Milchsaft.

4. Inhaltstoffe

Die Zusammensetzung von Asa foetida unterliegt je nach verwendeter Stammpflanze, Herkunftsregion und Lagerbedingungen starken Schwankungen. Die Droge setzt sich aus drei Gruppen von Hauptbestandteilen zusammen[5]: a) 24 – 65% Harz (Asaresin) mit etwa 60% Ferulasäureestern des Asaresitannols und < 1% freiem Asaresitannol;

b) 25 – 30% bassorinartiges Gummi, bestehend aus Glucuronsäure, Galaktose, Arabinose, Rhamnose u. a.; c) 6 – 20% ätherisches Öl (Oleum Asae foetidae), das als Hauptbestandteile die drei Disulfide 1-(1-Methylthiopropyl-)propenyldisulfid, 2- sec -Butyl-propenyldisulfid und 2- sec -Butyl-3-methylthioallyldisulfid enthält.

5. Toxikologie

Es existieren einzelne Berichte über Vergiftungserscheinungen nach Einnahme größerer Mengen der Droge. Schwellungen der Lippen, Meteorismus, Diarrhoe und stinkendes Aufstoßen beschrieben; auch über unspezifische Symptome wie Benommenheit, Kopfschmerzen, Schwindel sowie eine Steigerung des Geschlechtstriebes.

Aufgrund letzterem wurde Asa foetida bis in die Neuzeit hinein auch als Aphrodisiakum verwendet. Nach Auflegen von Asa-foetida-Pflastern auf den Unterleib kam es bei Männern zu starker Hodenschwellung, bei Frauen zur Schwellung von Genitalien und Brustdrüsen, wobei letztere in Einzelfällen mit Milchabsonderung verbunden gewesen sein soll.

6. Indikation und historische Verwendung

Zur medizinischen Anwendung kamen neben der rohen Droge Asa foetida das entsprechende Asa foetida-Öl und Alkoholauszüge; außerdem wurde das Gummiharz als Räucherdroge verwendet. Indikationen für die Anwendung von Asa foetida waren

a) verschiedene Angst- und Nervenstörungen (Nervosität, Hysterie, Hypochondrie),

b) krampfartige Magen-, Leber- und Galleleiden,

c) Impotenz und reduzierter sexueller Antrieb. Entsprechend war Asant vorwiegend als Nerven- und Beruhigungsmittel sowie als gastrointestinales Spasmolytikum verbreitet. Seit dem Altertum galt Asa foetida außerdem als Aphrodisiakum und wurde über Jahrhunderte in der Liebesmagie eingesetzt; in diesem Rahmen war Asant Bestandteil der sog. „Dr. Faust-Räucherungen“. 



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