spice is a dried seed, fruit, root,
bark or resin substance used in
quantities as a food additive for
the purpose of flavoring.
Many of the same substances have
other uses in which they are
referred to by different terms, e.
g. in food preservation, medicine,
religious rituals, cosmetics,
perfumery or as vegetables. For
example, turmeric is also used as a
preservative; licorice as a
medicine; garlic as a vegetable and
nutmeg as a recreational drug.
Spices are further distinguished
from herbs, referring to leafy,
green plant parts used for
Spices have been prominent in human
history virtually since its
inception. Spices were some of the
most valuable items of trade in the
ancient and medieval world. In the
story of Genesis, Joseph was sold
into slavery by his brothers to
spice merchants. In the biblical
poem Song of Solomon, the male
speaker compares his beloved to many
forms of spices.
Spices were the primary reason that
Portuguese navigator Vasco Da Gama
sailed to India. Around that same
time, when Christopher Columbus
happened upon the New World, he was
quick to describe to investors the
many new spices available there.