Asafetida



a soft, brown, lumpy gum resin having a bitter, acrid taste and an obnoxious odor, obtained from the roots of several Near Eastern plants belonging to the genus Ferula, of the parsley family: formerly used in medicine as a carminative and antispasmodic.
Historical Examples

For medicines dey give us asafiddy (asafetida), calomel, and castor oil more dan anything else for our diff’unt ailments.
Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States Work Projects Administration

Mighty nigh all de chillun had a little teency bag of asafetida, on a string ’round they necks, to keep off diseases.
Slave Narratives Vol. XIV. South Carolina, Part 2 Works Projects Administration

asafetida is found in commerce in “lump” or in “tear,” the latter being the purer form.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 2, Slice 7 Various

Us used to wear garlic and asafetida ’round our neck to keep off diseases; never had many neither.
Slave Narratives Vol. XIV. South Carolina, Part 2 Works Projects Administration

Den some peoples keeps a bag of asafetida tied round dey neck to keep off sickness.
Slave Narratives Vol. XIV. South Carolina, Part 1 Various

asafetida was used on us at all times and sage tea was considered a splendid medicine.
Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves: Volume IV, Georgia Narratives, Part 1 Work Projects Administration

However, I do know that we wore little sacks of asafetida around our necks to keep off diseases, and the white folks wore it too.
Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves: Volume IV, Georgia Narratives, Part 1 Work Projects Administration

Likewise, in the spring of the year he frequently anointed the young of the species with a mixture of mutton suet and asafetida.
“Speaking of Operations–” Irvin S. Cobb

“Pleasant and palatable as castor oil mixed with asafetida,” replied the manager with a scowl.
Mixed Faces Roy Norton

Little bags of asafetida was used to hang around de little chillun’s necks to ward off fever or diptheria.
Slave Narratives Vol. XIV. South Carolina, Part 1 Various

n.

late 14c., from Medieval Latin asa (Latinized from Persian aza “mastic”) + foetida, fem. of foetidus “stinking” (see fetid).

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