The Mediterranean region boasts a wide array of spices and herbs that are commonly used in culinary practices. These include basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cloves, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, paprika, rosemary, sa?ron, sage, savory, sumac, tarragon, thyme, and turmeric.
The significance of spices in human history cannot be overstated. They played a central role in the creation of vast empires and created great wealth for those who controlled them. Thanks to the Spice Routes, spices are now readily accessible and are known to intensify the ?avor and aroma of food.
In addition to their culinary uses, spices are being studied for their potential health benefits, including their role in ?ghting in?ammation, reducing pain, improving blood sugar control, and supporting memory and cognitive function.
When Oldways updated the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid in 2008, the group of scientists who met recommended the addition of herbs and spices to the diet. This is because herbs and spices give regional expression to Mediterranean cooking, allowing for creative and adventurous culinary experiences.