Comparable to gold and gems, spices were among the most valued items of trade in ancient and medieval times.1 The ancient Egyptians used spices for food-flavouring, in cosmetics, and for embalming their dead as early as in 3500 BC. Soon, the use of spices spread through the Middle East to the eastern Mediterranean and Europe; spices from China, Indonesia, India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) were originally transported overland by donkeys or camel caravans.
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