Asafetida, also known as heeng, is a latex gum extracted from several species of a perennial herb, Ferula. It is available in the market as a solid brick or smaller pieces, as well as in tablet or powder form.
It has a pungent, Sulphur like smell and it takes some time for people to get used to it. Excessive intestinal gas is called flatulence and since it prevents that it is said to be an Anti-flatulent. Most lentils and few beans are known to create gas movements in the stomach, and hence asafetida is used with almost every dish that includes lentils (dals), chickpeas, dry peas etc.