"Turmeric is the best," said Vasant Lad, an Indian-trained practitioner who runs the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque. But there may be other healing medicines in the Indian spice box hiding out among the cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and coriander.
With high-tech laboratories now unraveling the mysteries of exotic ingredients from far-off cuisines, some scientists speculate that Indian cuisine itself may offer enhanced healing powers when certain ingredients are combined.
A spicy aloo gobi, or potato-cauliflower curry, for instance, might be even better for you than either a capsule of curcumin powder or a serving of steamed cauliflower.
In studies published last month in the journal Cancer Research, scientists at Rutgers University combined curcumin with phenethyl isothiocyanate, a potent anticancer compound found in cauliflower, kale and cabbage. The combination reversed the growth of prostate tumors in mice.