The Origin of Common Cooking Spices and Herbs

Cooking is dull without herbs and spices. They are inseparable ingredients to make up the desired recipes for discriminating tastes.

Culinary experts described herbs and spices as parts of plants used for medicine, cooking and pleasure all over the world. Herbs are green, leafy parts of plants, while spices are derived from any part of the plant that is not a leaf. As such they are mostly grown in temperate to hot regions of the world. They can be found all over like under the sea, in the jungles, the plains, deserts and at the top of the mountains. Most originated in the Mediterranean or Central Asia. Studies showed they were used as potherbs, making perfumes or in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products.

Historical records indicated that were discovered by roaming hunters who experimented with leaves, roots, flowers and seeds. As a result, an amalgam of knowledge was passed from one generation to the next, another study added.

Their discovery was prompted many years ago after the earliest humans had a problem finding the right medicines for their ailments.

At that time, ancient people made good business trading herbs and spices in exchange for other stuffs that are not common in their territory. And the Black Pepper was the most lucrative of all the spices traded before. Although cinnamon and cassia were used by the Egyptians in embalming their corpses before burial in tombs and pyramids. While the Chinese first recorded use of spices dated back to 2700 B.C.E., from the herbal compendium compiled by Emperor Chin Nong. In India, herbs and spices were used mainly for religious rites, until they were discovered to be appropriate for cooking. Likewise, Queen Sheba had offered King Solomon the most sought-after herbs and spices as a means to expand trade relations between their empires.

The search for herbs and spices at that time led to fierce battles in the hope of controlling the trade of these commodities. For instance, Christopher Columbus discovered American on his way to look for the Spice Islands. While Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese navigator, explored the Cape of Good Hope and established the spice route to India. However, Ferdinand Magellan finally stumbled on the Spice Islands in 1520, and eventually discovered the Philippines in March 1521.

Since that time, many things had changed in the growing and trading of herbs and spices. From the remote areas where they were first grown, they can now be found in most backyards for immediate and convenient use of households. Although, many people still go to the markets to find the right herbs and spices as ideal ingredients for their various home cooking sprees.