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Herbs and spices are added to food and drinks in small amounts for their taste, and sometimes for medical purposes or as a food preservative.

Spices have long been quite important in world trade. They were traded along the Silk Road and were a major reason for European exploration and colonisation during the Age of Discovery. At one time, some spices were amazingly expensive — in medieval London, pepper cost more than its weight in gold — but today most can be had in many places at moderate prices.


As a general rule, spices are more diverse and hotter in tropical climates, with cuisines such as the Mexican cuisine and the South Asian cuisine known for their heavy use of herbs and spices.

Spices have been used for seasoning and food preservation, and their high value has induced overseas trade on routes such as the Silk Road and the Cape Route between Europe and Asia.


The Piper nigrum originates from India. Black and green peppercorns are the unripe fruits; the white ones are ripe. Pepper is so ubiquitous that the word "pepper" is used as a general term for unrelated fruits and spices.

Chili pepper[edit]

The Capsicum genus contain sweet bell peppers and chili peppers. Originating in Mesoamerica, they are cultivated and used around the world.


Map of Herbs and spices
  • 1 Grenada. Known as the "Spice Isle" of the Caribbean, it is a major source of nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla and cocoa. Grenada (Q769) on Wikidata Grenada on Wikipedia
  • 2 Malabar (India). A coastal region known for spice trade. Malabar (Q1534252) on Wikidata Malabar region on Wikipedia
  • 3 Maluku (Indonesia). Known as the Spice Islands, known for spices such as cloves, nutmeg, and mace. Maluku Islands (Q3827) on Wikidata Maluku Islands on Wikipedia
  • 4 Zanzibar (Tanzania). One of few places where saffron is cultivated. Zanzibar Archipelago (Q706541) on Wikidata Zanzibar Archipelago on Wikipedia
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