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About The Spice Doc

The Spice Doc is a medicinal cooking site created by Nicole Sheldon, a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist with a specialization in yao shan, also known as medicinal cooking.  The idea for The Spice Doc was born in 1995 when Nicole was studying at Tufts University in Boston. She initially began her studies with a pre-med focus, which progressed into her majoring in Anthropology, with a focus on medical and physical Anthropology after doing an externship at an acupuncture clinic which served the HIV and AIDS community in Boston.  Her minor reflected her half Colombian background, with a degree in Latin American Studies. Whilst at Tufts she took multiple seminars on Ancient Medical History and this led to writing a term paper in her last year of university on the Medicinal Use of Garlic Throughout History. Read more

Medicinal Cooking : How to Eat your Medicine

Chinese Medicine uses acupuncture, herbs, and medicinal cooking to prevent and treat illness. Medicinal cooking consists of understanding a very simple treatment protocol in which all food(s) are broken down into three major elemental natures along with more specific diagnostics such as which organ(s) are targeted and the directional nature of the food.For these purposes we will focus on the elementals : (temperature) hot, warm, cold, and cool; (flavor) spicy, bland, aromatic, sweet, salty, sour, and bitter; (color) green, yellow, red, black, and white. At the root of Chinese Medicine is Five Element Theory - Wu Xing, which is beautifully depicted in a chart with all the major organ systems in our body and which flavor and color they correlate to. Read more

The History of Yao Shan

Before even herbs and acupuncture, food was considered medicine and medicine was prescribed via food.  As evidenced in The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic/Huángdì Nèijīng/黃帝內經 (475-221 B.C.) there were four categories of Chinese Medicine : acupuncture, herbal treatment, moxabustion, and food therapy (yao shan).  Much like the oft-quoted “First do no harm” from Hippocratic times, yao shan is the first line of defense and the ultimate key to maintaining good health and quality of life. Read more