Early history of Spices
The earliest evidence of the use of spice by humans was around 50,000 B.C. The spice trade developed throughout the Middle East in around 2000 BC with cinnamon and pepper. The Egyptians used herbs for embalming and their need for exotic herbs helped stimulate world trade. In fact, the word spice comes from the same root as species, meaning kinds of goods.
By 1000 BC China and India had a medical system based upon herbs. A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. In the kitchen, spices are distinguished from herbs, which are leafy, green plant parts used for flavoring. Many spices are also used for other purposes, such as medicine, religious rituals, cosmetics, perfumery, or eating as vegetables. For example, turmeric is also used as a preservative and for medicinal purposes; liquorice as a medicine; garlic as a vegetable. In some cases they are referred to by different terms.