Under the name "Laser" a substance supposed to have been asafoetida, (Ferula foetida), has from all time been used in India and Persia, and thence long exported, a duty being levied thereon at the Roman Custom House of Alexandria. Under the name Hingu it is mentioned in Sanscrit works, as well as in Susruta (622). Arabian and Persian travelers of the Middle Ages knew it. Ali Istakhri (337), of ancient Persepolis, in the tenth century, states that it was abundantly produced between Sistan and Makran of Beluchistan, and was used by the people as a condiment. It has ever been employed in Arabic therapy. Matthaeus Platearius (513), nearly a thousand years ago, mentioned it in his work on simple medicines, "Circa instans." Otho of Cremona, near that period, states that the more fetid the drug, the better its qualities. The "Physicians of Myddvai" (507) valued it highly. Briefly, this drug drifted into European conspicuity from the Orient, where it had been empirically used from the remotest antiquity.
The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.