CSIR-IHBT introduced Heeng Cultivation in Indian Himalayan Region

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Institute of Himalayan bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT) has planted the Heeng in the Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh. The institute plans to cover 750 hectares under the Heeng cultivation.

Highlights

  • The IHBT had partnered with Department of Agriculture of Himachal Pradesh in order to boost heeng production in the region.
  • The National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources carried six categories of Heeng from Iran.
  • The institute also standardized the protocol to produce the heeng as per Indian conditions.

Heeng consumption in India

India consumes 40 per cent of the world’s heeng. India imports nearly 1,200 tonnes of ferula heeng that costs to nearly US $130 million every year.

Heeng Cultivation

Heeng is not cultivated in India. So far, it was imported from countries like Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan. Historically, heeng has been cultivated in cold desert regions of Afghanistan and Iran.

Challenges in exporting heeng

There have been instances of war and strife which has prevented Iran and Afghanistan to exporting heeng.

Heeng

It is also known as asafoetida and is the dried latex. Heeng is native to Iran and Afghanistan. The resin like gum which comes out from the dried sap of roots and stem is used as heeng spice. The spice is greyish white in colour when fresh while turns to dark amber when it is dried up.

Medicinal use of Heeng

  • Heeng is believed to cure ranging from kidney stones to bronchitis in India.
  • In Afghanistan, heeng is used to cure whooping cough and ulcers.
  • In Egypt, heeng is considered a diuretic.