Asafetida Benefits to Control Sucking Pests Like Whitefly, Aphid and Thrips


Saqib Ali Ateel


Salman Ahmad

Ph.D. Agronomy

World Health Organization has lately declared the presence of chemical residues in our food as one of the primary reasons behind our poor health and disease. Simple health stats show a significant rise in cancer cases, heart failure and liver diseases in countries where maximum residue limits (MRL) of chemicals fail in foods. Not only that, excessive chemicals have polluted soil, water and air.

We have experimented substitution of chemical pesticides on various crops, including cotton, wheat and vegetables, as a part of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program in South Punjab, Pakistan. We have observed these techniques effectively keeping pest pressure below the Economic Threshold Levels (ETL) and helping us maintain MRL. Different plant extracts contain various compounds that can kill or inhibit harmful insects from damaging crops beyond the ETL.

One of such plants is Ferula assafoetida (hing plant) or asafetida.

What is Asafetida (Hing)?

Asafetida (Hing) is a traditional spice in Pakistan, Iran, India and other parts of Central Asia. It contains some well-known medicinal properties. In 2020-21, the MNS University Multan conducted various experiments on plant extracts at the request of the Agriculture Department of South Punjab. At least seven plant extracts were reported to control whiteflies on cotton effectively. One such product was Asafetida/Hing. A small quantity of (5-10 grams per acre) has shown effective results against whiteflies on cotton

asafetida benefits

There are around 60 species of Ferula asafetida. It is naturally found in Central Asia and mainly grown in Afghanistan and Southern Iran. Hing can grow well in dry and cool areas. A gum-like product called hing or assafoetida is obtained from tap roots of the hing plant when plant is four to five years old and is used as a spice in various traditional Indian dishes. For centuries, it has been used to treat various diseases like cough, slow digestion, asthma, ulcer, influenza and epilepsy. It is also traditionally used as a pest repellant due to its pungent smell. Further research and chemical analysis of hing gum shows the presence of various secondary metabolites with natural pesticidal properties (table.1). This short review covers the pesticide properties of hing on crop plants.

Table 1. Important Asafetida Benefits with a mode of pesticide action

Sr. No.

Name of Metabolite in Hing

Mode of Pesticidal Action




Inactive enzymatic activities

Basel (2014)



Disturb enzymes activity for larval growth

Decrease the egg-laying capacity of pest

Nukmal et al. (2017)



Cause metabolic toxicity

Coats et al. (1991)



Disturb respiration

Mursiti et al. (2019)




Chadwick et al. (2013)



 Inhibit egg hatching

Muturi et al. (2018)




Ninkuu et al. (2021)




Muturi et al. (2018)


Other plant growth-promoting substances

Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus, Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), ferulic acid, glucose, galactose, 


Scientific Evidence of Asafetida Benefits

asafetida benefits

 In different experiments, Lal and Verma (2005) applied hing-based biopesticides on cabbage, wheat, gram and peas and reported the significance of hing biopesticide on aphid control in these crops.

 Noonari et al. (2016) sprayed the hing solution on cotton crop under field conditions and recorded a 52% reduction in thrips population and 60% in whitefly population after 96 hours of application.

 Mahmood et al. (2014) observed the effects of different biopesticides on the whitefly and Jassid population n the Okra crop and reported a 51% reduction in the whitefly population and 50% jassid population compared to the control treatment.

 Estekhdami et al. (2020), in laboratory experiments, tested different doses of hing based essential oil against cowpea seed beetle at different time intervals and reported 100% mortality at 30uL concentration.

 Fahaud (2018) prepared different concentrations of hing in organic solvents and tested against cabinet beetle (Trogoderma granarium) and found 2 uL/cm3 dose effective for control of beetle after 48 hours of treatment.

 Traditionally hing is also used for storing rice grains in the rural areas of the Indian subcontinent, as reported by Chaudhari (2013).

 Rafi et al. (2002) studied the effects of hing gum resin extract on red floor beetle and confirmed insecticidal properties on the 5th instar larva of red floor beetle.

 Peyrovi et al. (2011), after laboratory experiments, confirmed the toxicity of hing based biopesticides against adult locust bean moths.

 Tunon et al. (2006) reported repellent effects of hing based biopesticides on tick insects mainly due to polysulphide and other oxygenated compounds.

 Chaudhari et al. (2013) mixed hing with other biopesticides and reported significant control of bean beetle (B ruchus Chinensis) after seven days of application.

 During rains or water seepage in buildings, some wild weeds grow in cracks and damage buildings. People in western India cut or pull the weeds and sprinkler hing powder on the stem cut area. Hing acts as a weedicide the suppress the regrowth of weeds.

 Sitara et al. (2008) reported antifungal effects of hing in plants after observing suppressed growth of fusarium species when treated with hing based extract.

 Koorki et al. (2018) reported repellent properties of hing based essential oil on Aphis gossypi, which is one of the significant crop pests of economic importance.

 Baloch et al. (2013) observed that the application of hing based biopesticides not only suppresses the growth of rotting root fungus but also markedly reduces the gall formation and nematode penetration in the roots of eggplant.

 Bagheri and Rahimi (2014) reported significant mortality of black bean aphids when sprayed with Hing-based essential oils.

 Goldansaz et al. (2012) sprayed different concentrations of hing based essential oils on a moth of pomegranate and found significant inhibition in the moth's growth.

Suggestions for Asafetida Benefits

 The chemical composition of hing in different regions and under different environmental conditions should be studied.

 Usually, gum of hing plant is used. Studies on the extract of other plant parts like leaves, stems, and fruit must also be investigated.

 Its efficacy in water and different organic solvents should need to be investigated.

 As hing produces a very pungent smell, its repellent effect on friend insects should also be studied.

 Hing-based biopesticide efficiency can be increased by commercially adopting the latest techniques like nano-technology.

 Its synergistic and antagonistic effects in mixture with other biopesticides must be studied.


The use of biopesticide as part of the IPM program is a prerequisite to minimizing the ill impacts of synthetic chemicals on the environment and health. Hing has proven natural pesticidal properties and is traditionally used for pest control. However, more research is needed to explore some hidden pesticidal features and its mixing with other biopesticides to enhance efficiency and improve biopesticide formulation techniques for commercial point of view.


AL-FUHAID, N. (2018). Larvicidal Potential of Three Extracts Fumigants of Ferula Assa-Foetida L Oleo Gum Resin as Stored Grain Fumigants Against Trogoderma Granarium Everts. International Journal of Agricultural Science and Research (IJASR), 8, 153-162.

Baloch, G. N., Tariq, S., Ehteshamul-Haque, S., Athar, M., Sultana, V., & Ara, J. (2013). Management of root diseases of eggplant and watermelon with the application of asafoetida and seaweeds. Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality, 86(1).

Baselt, R. (2014). Encyclopedia of toxicology.

Chaudhari, S. V. (2013). Herbal control of stored grain pest bruchus chinensis linnaeus (Coleoptera: Bruchidae). International Journal of Innovative Research and Development (ISSN 2278–0211), 2(3), 397-402.

Chadwick, M., Trewin, H., Gawthrop, F., & Wagstaff, C. (2013). Sesquiterpenoids lactones: benefits to plants and people. International journal of molecular sciences, 14(6), 12780-12805.

Coats, J. R., Karr, L. L., & Drewes, C. D. Toxicity and neurotoxic effects of monoterpenoids in insects and earthworms. PA Hedin Naturally occurring pest bioregulators 1991. 305-316. In Am. Chem. Soc. Symp. Ser (Vol. 449).

Estekhdami, P., Dehsorkhi, A. N., and Kalvandi, R. (2020). Insecticidal efficacy of essential oils from Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Thymus vulgaris, Ferula assafoetida L on Callosobruchus maculatus F. Asian J. Agric. Res. 13 (2),52–62.

Koorki, Z., Shahidi-Noghabi, S., Mahdian, K., and Pirmaoradi, M. (2018). Chemical composition and insecticidal properties of several plant essential.

Lal, C., & Verma, L. R. (2006). Use of certain bio-products for insect-pest control.

Mahmood, K., Eijaz, S., Khan, M. A., Alamgir, A., Shaukat, S. S., Memood, Z., & Sajjad, A. (2014). Effects of biopesticides against jassid Amrasca devastans (dist.) and white fly Bemisia tabaci (Genn.) on orka. Int. J. Biol. Biotech, 11, 161-165.

Mursiti, S., Lestari, N. A., Febriana, Z., Rosanti, Y. M., & Ningsih, T. W. (2019). The Activity of D-Limonene from Sweet Orange Peel (Citrus Sinensis L.) Exctract as a Natural Insecticide Controller of Bedbugs (Cimex cimicidae). Oriental Journal of Chemistry, 35(4), 1420.

Muturi, E. J., Ramirez, J. L., Zilkowski, B., Flor-Weiler, L. B., & Rooney, A. P. (2018). Ovicidal and larvicidal effects of garlic and asafoetida essential oils against West Nile virus vectors. Journal of insect science, 18(2), 43.

Ninkuu, V., Zhang, L., Yan, J., Fu, Z., Yang, T., & Zeng, H. (2021). Biochemistry of terpenes and recent advances in plant protection. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(11), 5710.

Noonari, A. M., Abro, G. H., Khuhro, R. D., & Buriro, A. S. (2016). Efficacy of bio-pesticides for managegement of sucking insect pests of cotton, gossipium hirsutum (L.). Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 12, 306-313.

Peyrovi, M., Goldansaz, S., & Jahromi, K. T. (2011). Using Ferula assafoetida essential oil as adult carob moth repellent in oils on themelon aphid, Aphis gossypii Glover (Hemiptera: aphididae). J. Essent. Oil-Bear. Plants. 21 (2), 420–429.

Rafi, J. N. (2002). Comparing insecticidal effect of Nerium oleander L., Lavandula officinalis L. and Ferula assafoetida L.extracts on Ephestia kuehniella L. and Tribolium castaneum Herbst (M. SC Thesis). University of Tarbiate Modarres, Tehran

Sitara, U., Niaz, I., Naseem, J., Sultana, N., 2008: Antifungal effect of essential oils on in vitro growth of pathogenic fungi. Pak. J. Bot. 40, 409-414.

Sonigra, P., & Meena, M. (2021). Metabolic profile, bioactivities, and variations in the chemical constituents of essential oils of the Ferula genus (Apiaceae). Frontiers in pharmacology, 11, 2328.

Tunon, H., Thorsell, W., Mikiver, A., & Malander, I. (2006). Arthropod repellency, especially tick (Ixodes ricinus), exerted byextract from Artemisia abrotanum and essential oil from flowers of Dianthus caryophyllum. Fitoterapia, 77, 257–261.

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