National Herbs and Spices Day occurs annually on June 10 and commemorates the diversity of these frequently diminutive but nonetheless potent flavouring agents. What would food be without the herbs and seasonings that give each dish its distinct flavour? Since herbs and spices are indispensable to cookery, it is only fitting that they receive a day of recognition for their contributions to humanity’s culinary history. In addition, the beauty of many herbs is that they can be grown in your own garden or on your kitchen windowsill; what could be better than consuming your own homegrown produce? There are countless ways in which herbs and seasonings improve our lives, so join us as we list a few of them.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL HERBS AND SPICES DAY
National Herbs and Spices Days has been celebrated officially since 2015, although little is known about its origin. Herbs and spices are not only essential in the kitchen, but many of them also have powerful medicinal properties, which may explain why this day exists. Prior to the addition of the terms ‘national’ and’spices’ in 2015, the earliest reference to this holiday was ‘Herb Day’ in 1999.
Charlemagne (742–814 A.D.) was one of the earliest enthusiasts for spices and botanicals. He presumably felt so strongly about herbs that he compiled a list of 74 varieties and planted them in his gardens. Emperor Charlemagne said, “Herbs are the friends of physicians and the praise of cooks.” By the Middle Ages, herbs and spices were commonly used in both cookery and medicine. The publication of books such as “The Forme of Cury” (“The Method of Cooking”) promoted the extensive use of herbs. Modern allopathy has its origins in the combination of various herbs and medicinal plants to treat prevalent illnesses.
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Spice Girls, to mention just two of today’s most popular music groups, are named after herbs and spices. Regardless of their origin, we are ecstatic that these little guys are receiving the recognition they so generously deserve, as we could not live without herbs and spices.
5 SURPRISING OLD SUPERSTITIONS ABOUT HERBS AND SPICES
Thyme for security
Ancient Romans believed that by donning or bathing in thyme, they would be protected from poison.
Lavender rather than body odour
Instead of bathing, Renaissance Europeans believed that lavender would suffice to keep them scent fresh.
Rosemary can divine your future
If a girl placed rosemary, a symbol of marriage and fertility, under her pillow, she would dream of her future spouse.
Nutmeg deters the Black Death.
People believed that nutmeg would protect them from the epidemic during the Black Death.
Tarragon rather than Tylenol
Due to its soothing properties, it was believed that tarragon could alleviate toothaches when chewed.
NATIONAL HERBS AND SPICES DAY DATES