Ferula – Férula L. (lat.ferula – rod, rod). Large plants from the Umbrella family are Apiaceae (Umbelliferae). A number of species are used in traditional and official medicine.

Ferula smelly or Asafoetida – Férula foétida (Bunge) Regel (Latin foetidus, a, um – stinky, due to the unpleasant odor of gum-oil-resin contained in the roots).

A perennial powerful herbaceous plant up to 1.5 m tall with a short annual period of intensive growth and development (the growth of the generative shoot is 17 cm per day) and a long dormant period.

The underground part is represented by a strongly overgrown turnip root. A thick conical stem develops on the 7th-9th year of life. During this time, a basal rosette of long-leaved, repeatedly pinnately dissected with oblong-lanceolate end segments, is formed in the outline of triangular leaves, the number of which increases with increasing age of the individual. The apical leaves have a shortened petiole and are sometimes represented by one vagina.

The flowers are pale yellow, collected in umbrellas that make up complex umbrellas that do not have wrappers that form a powerful inflorescence.

The fruit is an ovary, upon ripening, breaking up into two single-seeded merikarp with very wide marginal ribs.

It grows on sandy soils underlain by gravelly-stony deposits, often as dominant, in the foothill deserts of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan.

In medicine, oil-gum-resin asa-fetida (“stinky resin”, “stinky gum”) is used, obtained from fresh roots by tapping and, possibly, a modern substitute for the “laser”, which is well-known in the ancient world and is highly valued. Introduced into European medicine by Arab doctors. Initially, the raw material (“resin” of asa-fetid) was procured from the Iranian species Férula assa-foetida L. Nevertheless, the close species growing in the CIS countries, Férula foetida and Ferula narthex – Férula narthex Boiss, are also possible sources of this resin. Currently, industrial procurement is carried out in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan.

The collection is carried out in the spring by removing the aerial parts and sequentially cutting several layers from vertical roots. The latex which stands out and hardens in air is removed.

The product is grayish-white, sometimes acquiring a yellow or reddish color, round or flat pieces of 5-30 mm in diameter, or a mass including root fragments, earth, etc. It has a sharp garlic smell and a bitter burning taste.

The chemical composition of asa-fetida and resins obtained from other species has not been studied. It is believed that their composition includes terpenoids, namely terpenoid coumarins, terpene alcohols and their esters with aromatic acids, sesquiterpene lactones. Information on the chemical composition of asa-fetid resin cannot be unconditionally attributed to the species Férula foetida.

Hardened milk juice consists of gum, gum and essential oil. Ferulic acid, resen, rezinol, esters of umbelliferone and sesquiterpene alcohols, as well as organic sulfides that give a specific smell are isolated.

Asafoetida was used as a carminative, antispasmodic and expectorant in the form of powder, emulsion and tincture, was included in the Russian pharmacopoeia of I-VII editions and is included in the BTF.

Ferula smelly seeds and fruits are allowed for use in medicine in several countries of Western Europe as carminative, improves digestion, in case of respiratory tract infections.

Included in Safay Ultra.

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