Spices have been a privilege of the rich in the past. Over time,  spices became available to the rest of the population and some kind of them became key symbols of individual national cuisines. Spice trade during the last thousand years has greatly affected the mainstreaming of human civilization. Spices, in addition to gold and silk, were the subject of trade between East and West. They have influenced at discovering the oversea trips. They were the cause of the rise and fall of kingdoms, domination of the Spanish and the Portuguese world trade, but also the Dutch and the English. Most of the spices that are still used in the world, except exotic  ones from the Orient, China and India, originated from Europe, mostly from the Mediterranean and southeastern parts of the continent. Spices had, in the middle but also at the beginning of the new century, an important economic and political role as oil today. Spice trade, especially those from Asia, was a very lucrative business; it contributed to the great wealth of mostly Arab states, and then the Italian city-states and colonial forces.

Different nations use diferent spices. Nutrition of certain nations can not be imagined without the use of aromatic and hot spices, while their use in other nations is minimized.

Spices give dishes a full and intense flavor and some beautify and ennoble the most ordinary dish with their color and appearance. A complete gastronomic pleasure but also certain healing effects can be achieved with proper selection of spices. Spices can be used in the daily diet for relief of health problems, especially for chronic diseases. Some spices have strong biological effects on the body and a knowledge of correspond-dose and frequency of application is essential, taking into account their possible therapeutic and toxic effects. Spices can positively affect the physical condition; some of them may intensify the blood circulation and warm up the body, some of them with their pleasant smell have an uplifting effect  and some of them have a soothing effect on specific organs and nervous system.