The term 'spices and condiments' applies to such natural materials that are used for imparting flavor, aroma to food and for seasoning of foods. Besides spices also act as anti-oxidant agent, appetizer, preservative and also have some anti-microbial activity.
India is known as the 'The home of spices'. Huge quantities of spices are also being consumed within the country for flavoring foods and are also used in medicine, pharmaceutical, perfume, cosmetics and several other industries.
There are over 80 spices grown in different parts of the world and around 50 spices are grown in India. Some of the spices grown in India are pepper, ginger, turmeric, chilly, cardamom, celery, fenugreek, fennel, cumin, dill, coriander, cinnamon, ajowan (bishop's weed), cassia, clove, nutmeg and mace.
Spices are important from agriculture point of view as they are one of the commercial crops that earn foreign exchange. Major spices used for export are pepper, cumin, cardamom, ginger, turmeric and chilies. Other minor spices include ajowan, aniseed, celery seed, caraway, fennel, fenugreek, coriander, garlic, onion, saffron, vanilla etc. Among the spices exported, pepper has the leading position in terms of both quantity and value realized.