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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.  It was then that she applied for and received a grant from Tufts to do research on the Green Revolution in Cuba which occurred post Soviet Bloc collapse in 1989.  This research married not only her interest in Medical Anthropology and Latin American Studies, but also the passion sparked by her study of the medicinal use of garlic throughout history.  It was in Cuba that she met two farmers who had a botanical pharmacy in the neighborhood where she resided while doing her research.  Given the lack of access to medicine due to Cuba’s isolation and the U.S. embargo, they had to rely on the oldest form of medicine available, that which grows from the earth. 

Nicole see’s medicinal cooking not only as an integral part of health and healing but also as a way to understand and appreciate nature and the individual environments in which we live.  Each place has it’s own particular medicine which fits in perfectly with the maladies that we experience throughout our lives, and each season gives birth to that perfect food and herb which will treat the seasonality of our ailments.  As we have lost our way with food, the seasonality of it, and its medicinal benefits, we have become increasingly more ill, though we live longer. 

Thanks in large part to Nicole’s extensive studies, travel, and exposure to an array of medical frameworks, the information she has gathered and continues to gather is an amalgam of the best from around the world. Nicole received a BA in Anthropology (with a focus on Physical and Medical Anthropology) alongside a pre-med concentration from Tufts University. This was followed by 4 years at the renowned Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York City where she obtained her masters of science in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). Nicole has an excellent balance between a strong biomedical understanding and a passion for Chinese Medicine and medicinal cooking. 

If you've been looking for a place where you can type in "headache" and find what food you can whip up in your kitchen to alleviate yourself of said headache, this place was created for just that. Nicole has spent her life cultivating food as medicine in both her studies and in the kitchen. She was born in Colombia, raised in Thailand (lived in Sri Lanka and Hong Kong en route), and spent a chunk of time living in the U.S. (Miami, Boston, NYC, Indianapolis and Chicago). In 2006 she spent a year in Beijing studying Chinese Medicine post graduate studies with Dr. Wang Ju-Yi which sparked a drive to return for another three years from 2011-2014 this time to Chongqing (formerly Chungking) in Sichuan Province to delve even further into medicinal cooking. All these places have influenced her palate greatly and you'll see this dotted throughout the recipes and remedies on this site. Nicole uses traditional and new recipes to harness the healing qualities of herbs and food in everyday cooking.

Nicole has currently relocated back to her home of Bangkok, Thailand where she is working towards passing the Thai TCM medical board exams while she simultaneously works on updating the last three years of information gathered in China vis-a-vis medicinal cooking for this site!  Stay tuned.