History of Indian Spices : Journey Of Spices From Home Ground To Packaged Spices

  • Jun, 22 , 23
  • Zoff Foods

India is known as the ‘Spice Bowl of the World’ for a reason. The mentions of spices are there in the Vedic Period and Indian kitchens celebrate the glory of diverse spices even today. No doubt, India has stood up as one of the highest spice exporters in the world. As of now, spices from India contribute about 40% or even more to the spice trade across the globe. 

India is said to be the land of spices because the spices are derived from diverse areas of the country such as tropical forests, highlands, marshy woods, lush green lands, or even fertile valleys. Every community makes use of spices according to availability in their local region and comes up with exotic cuisines. 

Role of Indian Spices in Indian History 

Role of indian spices in indian history

Indian food has a unique position and popularity in world cuisine. One can find a combination of soothing colour, aroma, and lip-smacking flavours together in just Indian dishes, thanks to the spices and herbs that Indian kitchens use. 

Indian forests and fertile lands are home to diverse spices and herbs that are being used for more than several thousands of years. But the history of Indian spices speaks that Mughals amalgamated the spices in the 14th century, which gave rise to several Mughal cuisine dishes that are alive worldwide even today.  

The Vedas prescribe that spices are not just something that enhances the flavor of food, rather they also have got medicinal properties. The bright colours, strong fragrances, and unique taste are said to stimulate the senses to heal several ailments. Earlier when modern medicine was not there, ancient doctors made use of these spices and herbs to cure various health issues. Items such as fenugreek, turmeric, and ginger are known for their extreme medicinal properties. For example, turmeric has an antiseptic property, as well as it, is a great element for skin-related issues. 

Not just medicinal values but also these spices also act as food preservatives. In ancient times, when refrigerators were not there, people used different spices and herbs to preserve food for a long time. 

The weather conditions of India are mostly humid, and dry, and experienced heavy rain mostly. This atmosphere is perfect for the growth of various spices. Thus, India is blessed with an environment where magical spices and herbs can thrive. 

The history of spices in India is now spreading out to different parts of the world too. It is highly noticeable how international chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and others are incorporating Indian spices in their food now. Also, people around the world are also using these spices for their health benefits and medicinal values which has definitely boosted the agriculture of spices and herbs. 

 Story of the Indian Masala Trade During the Ancient Age 

Story of indian masala trade during ancient period

Centuries ago, India was a rich country that was home to several luxurious items such as gold, silk, and spices. Various nations such as Greece and Rome traded with India to get such luxurious items, especially spices in return for items such as glass, coral, and lead. But much before these civilizations came up, other nations such as Arabs, Egypt, and Mesopotamia also traded with India for spices. 

While today India is a prominent name on the world map, in ancient times, there are several stories stating that Arabs and others wanted to keep the origin of spices a secret. While these nations imported spices from India, they spread stories according to which getting spices from India was not an easy task. According to another story, dealers had to follow tough rituals in order to obtain the spices from their origin. 

According to some historians, Arab dealers and traders narrated stories that huge animals and birds protect the agriculture of cinnamon and cassia, and getting these spices is an extremely risky affair. Of course, these stories were made up in ancient times for economic benefits. 

Today, the spice industry in India has a prestigious reputation and name in the world. 

Indian Spices: A Journey of History and Flavor 

Ayurvedic healing is known to be the world’s most ancient form of healing. Spices such as turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, and others are used to stimulate your sensory organs to offer the right treatment. Today, many people around the world have also accepted the values of Ayurvedic healing through spices and herbs. 

But the spices background is mostly related to food rather than healing in the modern world. These spices are not just used in luxury cuisines but are also an essential part of staple food items. Some of them are used as whole while some others are used in grounded or even paste form. A few years back, most Indian households had their huge mortar and pastel in which the spices were grounded. But with time, as people are getting busier, the idea of grounding spices at home is getting extinct. Now, most households make use of ready-to-use grounded spices marketed by several top spice brands available in the country.

It is not just trade that spread out the aroma of Indian spices out of the country. Many travelers also were responsible for making these spices and herbs popular on different continents across the globe. While some people traded with India and some people travelled, there were also some others such as Mongolians, Mughals, ad Britishers who wanted to rule the country because of its richness. 

So, what are the spices that make India so popular in other parts of the world? 

Some spices to name are coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, black pepper, and the most exotic saffron. 

Health Benefits of Spices 

Health benefits of Indian spices

As mentioned earlier, Indian spices are not just for aromatic and flavorsome cuisines but also hold a special place in healing methods. Here are some eminent ways how Indian spices can offer health benefits

1) Anti-inflammatory Properties

It is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of spices that they are used in treating several ailments such as cancer, digestion, blood pressure, oral health, and even in bone development. They also have analgesic and anesthetic properties. 

2) Antioxidants

Not just antioxidants but spices are also known to have stimulant, carminative, digestive, antiseptic, and antispasmodic properties. Such properties help in the proper circulation of blood, improved the immune system, and better skin quality. 

3) Immune Booster

Spices are known to be a natural immune booster. Thus, it helps in fighting different health issues such as blood clotting, and improving blood circulation and cholesterol. Moreover, it helps in maintaining the overall health of the body. You can try Zoff's immunity boosters to strengthen your immunity. 

4) Regulates Metabolism

Spices also help in regulating the metabolism of the body that prevents several diseases such as anemia. 

5) Improves Brain Function

Apart from preventing and curing different health issues, spices also help in improving memory as well as the functioning of the brain. It helps in several brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease. 

6) Fighting Infection

Spices prevent several infections that happen because of molds, bacteria, and yeasts. 

7) Preventing Allergies

Similar to infection, spices such as also deal with allergies such as nasal congestion. 

8) Maintain Heart Health

Garlic is known to be an excellent element to control levels of cholesterol. Similar to garlic, there are also many other spices that help in maintaining cholesterol and heart health. 

Spices As We Know Them Today 

How do you think some of the Indian delicacies such as tikka, tandoori, and dosai are served in different parts of the world today? Well, the Britishers who ruled India for about 250 years took these delicacies with them to different places wherever they went. Soon, the world has a taste of Indian cuisine. It is said that Indian dishes are distant and a level higher than any other dishes around the world and all the credit definitely goes to the use of spices in Indian food. 

Also, Indian cooks, chefs, and even household cooks know the art of mixing the right proportion of different spices in different dishes. It is because of the calculation of ratios in which the spices are used that leads to some of the most aromatic and tasty food items available in the country. While there are several spices that you use in different curries and other dishes, coriander, cumin, mustard, black pepper, and turmeric are known to be the principal spices of India. 

Ayurveda, the oldest form of healing is known to make use of several spices in the process. The healing process is done by applying pastes on the body surface, inhaling the smell of different spices, and even consuming a combination of spices in the form of kadha. 

As spices are known to have health benefits along with adding up flavour to food, you should never compromise the quality of spices that you buy. Zoff is one of the leading spices brands in the country that is known for its organic and authentic spices. 

Treat yourself to the best quality spices for healthy and quality living with Zoff. 

Frequently Asked Questions About History of Spices

Which is the oldest spice in India?

Cinnamon is the oldest spice in India as it is said to be so ancient that it predates even the records of the history of spices. 

Who introduced spice to India?

Historians mention that the Portuguese introduced spices in India. But the ancient books of India mention that an ancient surgeon Shushrut used spices for various medicinal purposes. 

What is the golden spice of India?

Turmeric or haldi is the golden spice of India because of its golden yellow colour. 

What is the most costly spice?

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the whole world. While today saffron is cultivated in various regions such as Iran, Morocco, Greece, and Afghanistan, in India, it is cultivated exclusively in the Kashmir valley. 

Which state is the Spice Bowl of India?

Kerala is stated as the Spice Bowl of India. Wayanad and Idukki have such landscapes that are known for excellent spice growth. 

Which is the cheapest spice in the world?

Black pepper is said to be the cheapest spice in the world.