Learning about Spices
What is a spice?
Why were spices important?
Sources of spices
Perfumes and Incenses 
Use of spices as aphrodisiacs
Use of spices as medicines
Culinary herbs
A spice timeline

Table of Spices
Allspice (Pimento)
Anise
Black Pepper
Cardamom
Cassia
Chile Pepper
Chocolate
Cinnamon
Clove
Coriander (Cilantro)
Cumin
Dill
Fennel
Fenugreek
Frankincense and Myrrh
Galangal
Garlic
Ginger
Horseradish
Licorice
Mustard
Nutmeg and Mace
Onion
Saffron
Sugar
Sumac
Tamarind
Turmeric
Vanilla

Contacts and Acknowledgments
Common Name ALLSPICE (PIMENTO) ALLSPICE (PIMENTO)
Click image to enlarge
Genus SpeciesPimenta dioica
FamilyMyrtaceae
Origin West Indies and Central America
Cultivated Jamaica, Cuba, Lesser Antilles, Trinidad, Mexico, Honduras
  
  
  
  
  
Description This native plant of the West Indies was thought by the Spanish explorers to be a pepper (pimienta); the name was corrupted to pimento, and also lives on in the other name for allspice, “Jamaican pepper”. The berries of the tree do resemble peppercorns, but they are variously described as having a mixed spicy aroma suggestive of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, juniper and pepper; hence the name allspice. See a list of spices by Taste and Hotness.
Useful Parts The berries have been used in pickling and in condiments, and are especially used with meats. A form of allspice cured meat was known in the Caribbean as boucan, and European sailors who relied on this staple were called buccaneers. Caribbean cooking utilizes allspice in many dishes; it is of limited popularity elsewhere.
Medicinal Properties Allspice is used in toiletries and liqueurs, and it used to be added to flannel to make a plaster for treating neuralgia or rheumatism. The eugenol content (which is more characteristic of cloves) can provide a mild analgesic effect.
See chemicals in spices.
Historical View “Both pimento and the oil possess aromatic, carminative, and stimulant properties. The action of pimento is similar to that of cloves, and it may therefore be employed for the same purposes; thus to relieve flatulence, check vomiting, and as an adjunct to other medicines to cover their nauseous taste, and to prevent griping, etc.”

Bentley, Robert and Henry Trimen. Medicinal Plants; being descriptions with original figures of the principal plants employed in medicine and an account of the characters, properties, and uses of their parts and products of medicinal value. London, Churchill, 1880. (WZ 295 B556m 1880)
ALLSPICE (PIMENTO)
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Spice Exhibit URL: http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/biomed/spice/index.cfm

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