Aggarwal Bharat B. - Yost Debora - Healing spices

Authors : Aggarwal Bharat B. - Yost Debora
Title : Healing spices How to use 50 everyday and exotic spices to boost health and beat disease
Year : 2011

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Introduction : From My Laboratory to Your Kitchen. Spices have been in my life - in my diet, in my medicine cabinet, and in my thinking - since I was a youth growing up in Punjab in northern India. And now - as Professor of the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center - spices are the subject of many experiments in my laboratory, where my colleagues and I are discovering the molecular and biochemical secrets behind the therapeutic power of these ancient medicines, and conducting human studies to put those secrets to use in the battle against cancer. When I was growing up in India, spices were the main medicines my family used for everyday healing, in keeping with the tradition of Ayurveda, India’s system of natural healing, which employs spices, herbs, and healthful lifestyle to prevent and treat disease. But more than medicine, spices were, well, spices. Knowing how to creatively combine and cook with spices is part of family culture in India, a domestic art that comes naturally to us, as if it were a part of our DNA. It is a great honor in India to cook for guests - and it is a delight for the guests, since the best food in India is found in homes, not restaurants. So you can imagine my culinary misery when, in 1973, after earning my master’s of science in biochemistry in India, I traveled to the University of Louisville to earn my PhD in biochemistry. It was impossible to find restaurants that served spicy vegetarian foods or markets that sold the spices I craved! Well, a professor had told me about Berkeley, California, a much more “liberal” environment where one could find just about anything - including other vegetarians and exotic spices. In no time, I was on a Greyhound bus heading to California and enrollment at the University of California, Berkeley, where I eventually earned my PhD. And, indeed, Berkeley was America’s promised land of spices : I was able to find the foods and spices to recreate the vegetarian way of life I had always known and loved. My first real job after graduating from Berkeley was a gem. I was hired by Genentech - one of the first companies specializing in genetic engineering - to find gene-based treatments for cancer. During my nine fascinating years at Genentech, I made some important scientific discoveries, including isolating tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a Jeckyland-Hyde protein that is critical for regulating the immune system but also plays a role in triggering the inflammation underlying cancer and many other chronic diseases. And as I worked at Genentech - a pharmaceutical company where there wasn’t any interest in investigating spices as a treatment for disease - my fragrant friends were never far from my mind (or my meals!). ...

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