Hing otherwise known as Asafoetida is actually a resin. It’s available powdered and non-organic in some Indian grocery stores. It’s considered heating and Pitta aggravating in Ayurveda and has a distinctive smell. A little goes a long way.
As you may know, onions and garlic are considered medicinal in Ayurveda and not for every day use if you want to increase your Sattva. They are in the group of foods considered Rajasic (increasing turbulent, sharp Pitta emotions). The distinctive taste of a small pinch of Hingwastika or Hing can substitute in for that onion/garlic taste in your cooking. Hing is also Rajasic, but less so then onion and garlic.
Spelled many ways, the Hingvstak (Hingwastika) blend on our shelf contains organic: Black Pepper, Long Pepper, Ginger powder, Ajwain, Rock Salt, and Hing. It is double-bagged because of the strong smell. If you are fairly in balance and it smells delicious to you, you probably need it. (Pittas beware it is a little heating).
Hingwastika is great for balancing Vata in the digestion:
- Increases agni (digestive power)
- Heals indigestion such as Vata-type gas or flatulence
- Historically used to treat anorexia, indigestion, bloating, aches and pains in the joints, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Safe for nursing mothers (who usually need to ground Vata!)
- Same ingredients as the Banyan Vata Digest formula (If you want to substitute the mixed churna for the caplets, mix 1/2 tsp Hingwastika with a little warm water and drink it like a shot. 1/2 tsp powder= 2 caplets or capsules
- Not recommended for those watching their salt content and those with high Pitta
How to use?
Add a pinch to taste to your cooked food (grains, dals, kichari). Ideally bloom the spice mix first in a pan with a little ghee or coconut oil, just until you smell the spices. Drizzle onto cooked foods or add the veggies, etc. when you start to smell the spices. In general roasting or sautéing spices helps release the healing, medicinal properties of the individual spices.