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How Did Indian Spices Originate In India?

No Indian dinner is complete without spice, especially if it doesn’t leave a drooling need for more spice. 

Spices are so intertwined with Indian history and culture that even Indian films are referred to as “masala movies” – masala being the Hindi term for spice and the first character trait of Indian culture is their spice.

The whole history of Indian spices dates back to the time since Indian tribes used herbs and spices marking the “human civilization of spices”. This clearly makes it the “Spice Bowl of the World”.

Indian spice farming developed throughout the subcontinent some two thousand years before Christ. The earliest spice crops were cinnamon and black pepper; these became the basis for numerous trade relationships. At one point, in the 1300s, a pound of nutmeg in Europe was more valuable than gold.


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Conquering tribes ranging from the Assyrians and Babylonians to the British, all invaded India with the same purpose: to profit from the vast natural resources and origin of spices.

The Rig Veda (about 6000 BC) and Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharveda provide the first written record of spices in India.

Some typical spices used in Indian cooking include- coriander, cumin, black mustard, cayenne pepper, golden turmeric, ginger root, and cardamom. 

Depending on the cuisine, such as vegetables or meat, spices are added using the masala box that exists in almost every Indian household.

Indian Masala Box

Greek merchants practically shipped to port marketplaces of India and bought spice as a luxury good from India. 

Spices and several Indian luxury commodities enticed explorers worldwide to take voyages and crusades. Not just this, historians think that the Parthian wars were fought to keep trade routes to India open. 

Regional spices are used for Ayurvedic healing, the world’s oldest medicine!

Even today, spices are utilized when ayurvedic herbs are burned and when pastes are applied. Spices come in handy to impact a patient receiving Ayurvedic treatment as well.

Genghis Khan of the Mongol Empire and even the rulers of the British Empire sought India’s golden mine of spices from cumin to coriander, saffron to sage, and black pepper to black mustard seeds.

The world couldn’t get enough of Indian spice and we eventually indulged in the “Spice Trade” to solve the global demand for spice. 

Many Indian meals are now regarded as mainstays in the United Kingdom, and almost every major city in the world offers options ranging from Vindaloo to Tikka to Tandoori. The spices in these dishes give one a heightened and exquisite experience!


Image Credits: Google Images

Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Indian Life, The Spice Journal, Exclusive Lane

Find the blogger: @Drishti Shroff

This post is tagged under: Indian Spice, Origin of Spice, Food, Masala, Genghis Khan, Mongol Empire, British, Spice Trade, Ayurvedic Treatment, Spicy, Aftertaste, Delicious Indian Cuisine, Spicy Indian Food, Culinary Delight, Ancient Spice, Worldwide Spice, Spicy Food, Turmeric, Masala Kitchen, Cardamom, Europe, Ginger

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.


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