ASAFOETIDA (HING) :
In the novel “Fifth Business” written by Robertson Davies, the barber Milo and his father hung bags of asafoetida around their necks to fight the Spanish flu.
Asafoetida is a commonly used spice in most Indian curries. It has a strong pungent smell when raw but mellows when into a smooth flavor when added to hot oil or butter. It typically works as a flavor enhancer in lentil curries, such as dal, as well as in numerous vegetable dishes. This spice is used as a digestive aid, in food as a condiment, and in pickles. It is used as a medicine for curing constipation and reducing flatulence. Just a pinch of hing is what is needed to compliment spices like mustard seeds, cumin seeds, etc.