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Take Our Word For It NOE No. 11  Melanie Crowley
 Aug 26, 2003 21:43 PDT 

Take Our Word For It NOE No. 11

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Here we are after a week off, and yet another holiday approaches. We
won't be able to publish next week, so watch for Issue 190 on September

**This Week's NOE**

Melanie went backt to Texas last week (Mike couldn't get away from his
new job). She was surprised to hear her 94-year old grandmother speak
of an "asafetidy bag". She wore it around her neck when she was a young
girl. She said it was supposed to ward off sickness, but she thought it
did a better job of warding off boys! What on earth was she talking

She was speaking of asafoetida. Here is an excerpt from

"King’s American Dispensatory echoes many of the same indications as the
Ayurvedic and Chinese uses. "Its properties are stimulant,
antispasmodic, expectorant, emmenagogue, and vermifuge," going on to add
that it is "improper in inflammatory conditions, but of marked value in
purely functional nervous disorders, with excitability, and as a gastric
stimulant in gastro intestinal atony, with flatulence." This is to say
that asafoetida is specifically useful when gastric digestion and
absorption is at such a low degree that food sits in the gut, causing
noxious fermentation and bloating and may be associated with
neurological or emotional negativity and mood swings."

If you guessed that asafoetida is pretty smelly, you guessed correctly.
Its name gives that away: asa, from Persian aza "mastic" plus foetida
"fetid". The word first turns up in English in the late 14th century.
Asafoetida was used in small amounts in place of garlic in cookery,
especially where religion or custom forbade the use of garlic (among
some Muslims, for example). Its resin was collected, hence "mastic".
By the way, the word mastic, which derives from Greek, is thought to
refer to "chewing" as mastic was often used as a sort of chewing gum in
the East (think of "masticate").

Wearing asafoetida in a bag around one's neck is somewhat reminiscent of
using garlic to ward off vampires. What were Grandma's parents really
thinking when they made her wear it?

**Laughing Stock**

Send us your funny stuff. If your entry is used in TOWFI, you'll get a
$10 gift certificate to Amazon.com.


We still have 2 copies of the word game "Derivation" left. Donate $75
or more and get a copy! Thanks to those who have donated over the past
couple of weeks.

**Next Issue**

We'll be back in two weeks with a new issue of TOWFI and a NOE. You in
the US, have a safe and pleasant Labor Day weekend.

Until next time,
Take Our Word For It!
Melanie and Mike

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