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Thousands of merchants annually went in search of spices to bring them to Europe, where they were worth their weight in gold. Oleg Vladimirov tells about the properties of our favorite spices.

The historian Peter Martyr Angiera in 1530, the

wrote that Mr.eky Genoese Christopher Columbus offered Their Catholic Majesty Ferdinand and Isabella to open contact with the Indies island and promised not only to spread the Christian religion there, but also to bring the black pearls, spices and gold in quantities exceeding any imagination. Why are any spices available in any supermarket mentioned among all wealth? Because from the very beginning of their journey through the world they were spices. Special. Special for special. 

The most important spices of antiquity and the Middle Ages were cloves, nutmeg / mace, cinnamon / cassia and black pepper. The oldest handful of cloves was found on the banks of the Euphrates in a ceramic vase of the eighteenth century BC, it was brought to Central Asia four thousand years ago from Indonesia, it did not grow anywhere else! Other spices archaeologists found by exploring ancient Egyptian embalming: according to Herodotus, the highest category of mummification required the use of spices, of which the Greek savage knew only the cassia, which the European Union is trying to ban. Growing initially exclusively in China, and at the time of Herodotus already throughout Southeast Asia, cassia is now often used as a cheap substitute for more refined cinnamon and allegedly poisonous. Traces of it were found in the mummies of the beginning of the III millennium BC, and the first pepper was found enclosed in the nostrils of the mummy of Pharaoh Ramses II - one pea in the nostril! At its or his-that opportunities!

Spices in antiquity and the Middle Ages valued, above all, not because of their specific taste: they served as a natural preservative, allowing you to extend the shelf life of perishable food. Healing properties were also attributed to them. In ancient China, officials, communicating with the emperor, were required to chew a clove in order to rid the Son of Heaven from bad breath. We accidentally noticed that it also relieves toothache. And in the Tang Dynasty, the carnation was used to drive out evil spirits. In Europe during the Middle Ages, extracts of clove and cinnamon were used to relieve the suffering of plague sufferers. Modern medicine does not provide for the obligatory treatment with plants, although it does use some of them, so now we consider spices rather as an accessory to cooking.

Can spices harm the body? Pepper and other hot spices and dishes, although irritate the gastrointestinal tract, but the cause of stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers are not - this suffering is caused by the microorganism Helicobacterpylori, so it is important not to abandon the island, and to remember about hygiene. But intolerance of the body some spice or allergic reactions to them are quite possible, therefore, encountering an unfamiliar product, do not immediately jump on it and try to care.


If you ate too sharp and feel a burning sensation, in any case, do not drink the water - it will only increase the flames in the mouth and throat. The hot pepper component is not soluble in water, but only in fats, so good to drink cool fat milk or cream. You need to drink sips, not gulp. If touched pepper hands, do not touch the face and other delicate parts of the body. If you burn your hands, rub the skin moist salt and then rinse with milk, then another good wash with soap and water.

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