January 31, 2019

Archaeologist discover use of garlic and mustard seeds for use as seasoning food in remains of paleolithic European hunter-gatherer tribes.

Archeologists discovered evidence that as early as 50,000 B.C. humans used the leaves of plants for flavoring meats and around 2300 B.C. for wine making (1). However, Alexander the Great's campaigns in Central Asia around 330 B.C. are often credited for introducing Asian, Persian, Indian, and Greek cultures and ideas, thus facilitating the dissemination and adoption of herbs and spices among many cultures (2, 3). The spice trade is known to have flourished during the second century A.D. along the trade routes known as the “Silk Road” which connected the East and the West (2).

Early records indicate that herbs and spices were used as medicinals in ancient Egypt and Assyria and as food preservatives in ancient Rome and Greece (4). Herbs and spices continued to be used during the Middle Ages for flavoring, food preservation, and/or medicinal purposes. By the 1800s, new trade routes evolved and spice production and supplies increased, making herbs and spices more affordable, resulting in more widespread use among the European population (5).