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  • Writer's pictureLucille Locklin

Did Charles Poldark need Asafœtida?

Warren Clarke as Charles Poldark (Poldark is a Winston Graham novel)
In Winston Graham's Poldark book, Charles Poldark was the squire of Trenwith manor, the head of the Poldark household ... and he also had some significant physical ailments. He could not control his belching (which made dinners with female guests an embarrassment) and he had several 'heart strokes' which finally killed him. In Season One of the most recent PBS Poldark series, Warren Clarke (pictured above) did a wonderful job of portraying the squire. And if Charles Poldark had gotten Asafœtida, perhaps Grambler mine could have remained under his management and wouldn't have been lost in a card game ... but then Poldark wouldn't be Poldark.

In Lectures on Materia Medica, James Tyler Kent, homeopathic physician in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, writes, "There is one class of patient you will find who will trouble you. Those cases that come into your office with puffed, venous, purple faces ... It is a dark red, dusky face; such a face we shall cure sometimes with Asafœtida.
... (the face) shows more or less cardiac disturbance and venous stasis. The venous side of the heart will often be involved, or be about to be involved, when you have this kind of face. I never like to see them come into my office, for they are hard cases to manage.
... in the stomach troubles, if you have ever seen a typical case of Asafœtida, you will wonder where all the air comes from; it comes up in volumes ... it is a condition that the patient has no control over."

It's fun for me to think of characters (or real people) when reading about a remedy. It helps to firmly secure some of that remedy's key symptoms in my memory. I will forevermore connect Asafœtida to Charles Poldark and Warren Clarke's portrayal of him. Another way to remember a remedy is to learn more about the substance. What exactly is Asafœtida? It is a plant that has yellow parsley-like foliage and produces a gummy resin, from which the remedy is made. The plant grows high above sea level, mostly in Iran and Afghanistan, and has a sulphurous odor. In powder or paste form it can be used as a substitute for garlic (in Indian cuisine, 'hing' – as it's referred to – is frequently used in curries). The plant is used for digestive issues and asthma in Chinese medicine, which is similar to how it is used in homeopathy.

Charles Poldark had no access to Asafœtida and ended up dying from his ailments. The characters in my trilogy have access to homeopathic remedies that help to keep them healthy and happy! If you haven't read the Castlewood books yet, I hope you'll give them a try.

Best wishes,
Lucille
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