Spices and herbs are plant-derived substances that add flavor to any meal. Actually, it’s not easy to distinguish between these two terms. Spices can come from the roots, rhizomes, bark, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, and also seeds. Thus, herbs are usually considered non-woody plants.
However, when it comes to broad terms, both herbs and spices come from plants but remember, herbs are actually the fresh part of the plant.
So what about spices?
They come from the dried root, dried stalk, seed or dried fruit of the plant. Also, they are almost always dry, not new. Both herbs and spices add flavor to meals; however, it is clear that herbs are more subtle, while spices are more robust.
Herbs and Spices in Sri Lanka have had the most crucial role throughout the country’s history.
Sri Lanka is well-known worldwide as a ‘Spice Island’ due to the countries’ climatic conditions allowing for several spices to be grown on the Island’s soils. These herbs and spices were significantly used as food preserving items in the historical era. Ancient people used spices specifically for meat-based meals. However, the abundance of these valuable culinary treasures attracted the attention of many western nations throughout history who wished to source from the Island’s spice market.
When browsing around the history of Sri Lanka, the country has been under the rule of Portuguese, Dutch, and British for almost a very long time period. The Portuguese invaders were able to control the spices in the country by exploiting and over-using the spice-growing areas. After some time they were able to lead to their near destruction in the Island.
After the Portuguese, the British invaders took over the country, and they tried to improve the spice lands of the country. They successfully designated some areas of Sri Lanka to become specialized in the growth of one particular spice. Today tourists can visit the many herb and spice gardens around the country. Furthermore, the Sri Lankan spice industry is comprised of a large variety of products around the world.
Check out some of the most important herbs and spices in Sri Lanka.
- Pandan Leaves
- Lemongrass (Sera)
- Black Pepper
- Nutmeg and Mace
- Curry leaves
- Chilli Peppers
What makes Ceylon cinnamon special around the world?
Ceylon Cinnamon is inherently superior to the Cassia Cinnamon. Sri Lanka has been well known for this for over two thousand years. Ceylon Cinnamon looks tan brown. It is a very delicate and sweet spice. Ceylon cinnamon derives from the bark of cinnamon trees found in Sri Lanka. Ceylon Cinnamon is much less commonly found in markets.
For years, it has been a significant spice in Sri Lanka culture as a food preservative and also for its natural flavoring properties.
As mentioned earlier, Ceylon Cinnamon is indigenous to Sri Lanka. Therefore, Ceylon Cinnamon cannot originate from elsewhere around the world. Now Sri Lanka provides about 80% of the world’s cinnamon supply. Cinnamon is an essential spice in every kitchen, a vital drink ingredient. Moreover, Ceylon Cinnamon makes an amazing flavor for so many bakery products.
Cinnamon is rich in many health benefits as it contains medical properties to treat chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer. The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants Ceylon cinnamon have many valuable vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also has some anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, Cinnamon can help reduce the cholesterol levels of the human body. It is also beneficial for people with insulin resistance. Consuming Cinnamon regularly can help the body build a natural response to insulin. The oils contain in Ceylon cinnamon reduce spasms, reduce gas, and are also helpful to fight bacteria and fungi.
When considering the total agricultural produce of Sri Lanka, cinnamon exports is the second highest in terms of income. It only seconds only to tea. Do you know that Ceylon cinnamon is somewhat expensive because of its chemical composition, high quality, and proven health benefits? Another reason Ceylon Cinnamon is special is that there is no end to its uses. The new uses of Ceylon Cinnamon keep emerging day by day.
Sri Lanka is a country full of numerous natural resources. However, people were abundant in Sri Lankan natural resources such as spices and herbs from ancient times. As a result of that, foreign traders’ attention towards the country developed, and they used Sri Lankan natural resources for their own benefits. Anyhow, after the independence, Sri Lankan people got the chance to utilize their own resources. Among the most critical natural resources in Sri Lanka, Ceylon Cinnamon plays a significant role in the country’s economy. Now it has become an essential economic factor of the country.