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Showing posts from April 17, 2011

Herbs & Spices

Herbs are fresh dried leaves, usually from temperate plants and green in colour. Spices can be flowers, seeds, fruit, roots, and bark of usually tropical plants and are black to red in colour. Spices are usually more pungent in flavour than herbs but many plants provide both a herb and a spice.
Cinnamon, saffron and anise have been used as medicine recorded as far back as 1550 BC. Around 950 BC Arab merchants worked the Incense Route providing spices to the Greeks. When Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 80 BC Alexandria became a port utilized for the spice trade. Romans then started using herbs and spices for medicines, lotions, and cooking purposes. Large amounts of gold and silver were traded for herbs and spices. Rome and India created their own trade route, ultimately eliminating the Arab monopoly. The trade then spread throughout Europe.