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Aunt Bett's regional, home-made version of asafetida probably worked well because no one could get near you to expose you to any serious bacteria or virus. With no access to antibiotics at that time, people had to use every method possible, valid or not, to protect themselves and their children from what could be fatal ailments, now easily treatable. I hope you will write more vignettes about your childhood.
My mother told me about asaphoetida bags, as she spelled it, and that her great aunt wore one, and religiously ate a tiny pill of it every day. She said it smelled like a cross between a skunk and something rotten. She said she also went to school with kids whom she pitied because they had to wear them. She said asaphoetida was some black, tarry substance of unknown (at least to her) origin. Her own mother was a modern, foreward-thinking woman who poo-pooed the idea. She used poke as a treatment for scabies as a poltice, which my mother claimed explained her own allergy to spinach. I never noticed an allergy to spinach though; my mother ate it, she just wasn't fond of it. I am not familiar with the method, but my husband's aunts and his mother canned poke to eat as greens. They insisted it was good for the blood. My foreward-thinking grandmother, on moving from Mississippi and eastern Texas to Oklahoma, worried about what she'd do without white oak bark to use as medicine, but found that the so-called scrub oaks, or blackjacks were just as effective for whatever she used the bark for. My mother also told me of a time that her mother had a bladder infection, and was really sick. One of the Comanche women (my grandfather share-cropped for them) came and picked some weeds out of the yard, brewed a tea for my grandmother, and she got well very quickly. It is really sad that so many of those herbal cures are gone now, in favor of modern medicine, which is not always as effective and frequently produces worse side effects that the original illness.
I just loved your article on life with your aunt Bett in Eastern Kentucky when you were a child. It was very life-like and I could almost smell the woods as you wrote about them. ( I spent a fair amount of time in the woods of Kentucky when I was a lot younger.) Thank you for writing it and I hope you write many more!