World Spice Plants

World Spice Plants
Publisher: Springer
ISBN No: 3-540-22279-0
Release at: 2005
Pages: 589
First Edition
File Size: 17 MB
File Type: pdf
Language: English

Description of World Spice Plants

It is a pleasant fact that the general consciousness of health and diet is growing, thus enabling the public, by means of a balanced diet, to participate in preserving global health. Spices and aromatic plants have a role to play in this which should not be underestimated. It involves not only the use of spices in preparing good-tasting meals, but equally the increasing use of spices in all areas of the food industry, and also in pharmacy and medicine. The observations of our ancestors that certain herbs and their parts (leaves, fruits, and seeds) not only improve the flavor of foods but have a positive effect on our health are being turned to good use. 

Initially, our forefathers collected only local plants. But via foreign trade, voyages of discovery, migration and even wars they came into contact with new plants, including many spices from other geographical areas. The oldest spice discoveries were made in Mexico. The native Mexicans were spicing their meals with chili as early as 7000 B.C. For the western world, the origins of spices were India. Five thousand years ago there was already an extensive network of trade routes ranging from China to India, Persia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. The remains of certain spices (aniseed, fenugreek, fennel, cardamom, caraway, saffron and cinnamon) were found in the pyramids, indicating their use as burial gifts. In the world of the pharaohs, spices were not reserved for the ruling classes, the meals of the slaves were also spiced. This was not an act of charity but was intended to preserve the health of the workforce. Egyptian construction workers rebelled around 1600 B.C. because garlic, which was important for counteracting the negative health effects of building the pyramids, had been removed from their diet plan (the first strike in history!). The significance of spices at that time can be gleaned from the collection of recipes entitled,, Papyrus Ebers", which was written in 1500 B.C. at the River Nile. 

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