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‘Nutmeg & Mace are two distinctly different spices produced from a fruit of an evergreen tree ‘Myristica fragrans’ which is usually 9-12 meters in height. The nutmeg is the oval-shaped pit, which is the fruit, and mace is the bright red webbing that surrounds the shell of the pit. These trees are normally uni-sexual, which bears either male or female flowers. Their fruit is a fleshy drupe, spherical in shape, pale yellow in color with a longitudinal groove in the center. When the fruit mature it burst open along the groove exposing the reddish bright attractive mace, covering the hard black, shiny shell of the seed called nutmeg. Commercially the mace is removed, dried and then ground into a coarse powder that turns a reddish color. The nutmeg can either be dried and left whole and packaged for grating, or dried and grated fresh.

Nutmeg tree is indigenous to Moluccas. And they are grown majorly in Indonesia and Granada. Also it grows in Sri Lanka, India, China, Malaysia, Zanzibar, Mauritius and Solomon Islands in smaller scales. Nutmeg and mace is a spice where it has a unique taste which is mainly used in sweet foods. The taste between mace and nutmeg is slightly different where mace is more spicy and pungent which is similar to the combination of pepper and cinnamon. Preferably nutmeg has a more sweeter, delicate flavor and fragrance than mace. The ground nutmeg or mace are generally used in baking in food processing industry and also a a seasoning in many dutch dishes. However nutmeg and mace also has a promising history among all the spices produced in Sri Lanka and plays a major role in annual spice production in the country too.



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Published in Ceylon Spices
Wednesday, 13 November 2019 10:18

Health benefits of Spices to Human Body


Spices have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries. Spices are usually used in foods and beverages for enhance flavor, aroma and color, but they can also protect from acute and chronic diseases. There are some scientific evidence that spices contain anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and glucose and cholesterol lowering activities. Frequent consumption of spicy foods can reduce the risk of death from cancer and ischemic heart and respiratory system diseases. Sri Lanka is the most famous country to the spices. So Sri Lanka is called as “Land of Spices”. Major export spices are cinnamon, black pepper, clove and nutmeg.

Ceylon cinnamon or true cinnamon (Cinamomum zylanika) is indigenous to Sri Lanka. Cinnamon is a highly delicious spice and also it has been prized for its medicinal properties thousand years. Cinnamon contain lot of anti-oxidants such as polyphenol which protect human body from oxidative damages caused by free radicals. Some anti-oxidants that contain in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effect. Cinnamon has an ability to reduce the level of LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) and triglyceride level in blood while remaining HDL (High Density Lipoprotein). It helps to reduce risk of getting heart diseases. Cinnamon can improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin so cinnamon has a blood sugar lowering property. There are scientific evidences which cinnamon has potential to cancer prevention. Cinnamon has ability to reducing cancer cells and some chemicals in cinnamon toxic to cancer cells, causing cell death.

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is one of the most commonly used spice. Black pepper not only a spice, it used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine for thousands years due to high concentration of potent, beneficial plant compounds. Black pepper contain piperine. Animal studies has shown that piperine has an ability to improve brain function. And also piperine may help to improve blood sugar metabolism. Therefore black pepper helps to reduce blood sugar level. High cholesterol levels in blood directly associated. Scientific studies have shown that black pepper has potential to reduce blood cholesterol level. Active compound in piperine, may have cancer fighting ability. Black pepper may increase the absorption of essential mineral nutrients such as calcium and selenium.

Clove also known as Syzygiyum aromaticum an evergreen plant and major export spice in Sri Lanka. The flower bud of the clove tree use as the spice. In fact most of animal studies found that the compounds in clove may be beneficial for the human health. Clove provide important nutrients such as manganese, vitamin K and vitamin C. Clove contain some anti-oxidants reduce the oxidative stress, which can contribute to the development of chronic diseases. Clove contain eugenol. Eugenol may be beneficial to the liver health by reducing the risk of getting fatty liver. Some compounds found in clove, may help to regulate blood sugar.

Nutmeg is made from the seed Myristica fragrans plant. It is a most popular spice in world wide. Most commonly nutmeg is used for its flavor than the its health benefits. Nutmeg contain powerful compounds that may help to promote overall human health and prevent from diseases. Like other spices nutmeg also contain anti-oxidants which reduce oxidative stress. Some animal studies have shown that nutmeg may have the property to enhance sex drive and performance. Bacteria like Streptococcus mutance and Aggregatibacter actinomycetecomitans can cause to gum diseases and dental cavities. Nutmeg has powerful anti-bacterial effect against these bacteria.




Written by :
Ms. E G Prasadika Sanjeewani Somarathna
Department of Food Science and Technology (Reading),
Faculty of Agriculture
University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

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Published in Ceylon Spices
Sunday, 20 October 2019 07:23

Spice Island


Lets start with the questions "What is a Spice?" , What is this well known "Spice Island"? And why this small island known as Spice Island?

What is a Spice?

A spice is a plant part that are ultimately loaded with vast variety of flavors than most other ingredients used in cooking and many more purposes. Whereas spices tend to derive from fruits, roots, seeds, flowers, stems, bark and herbs always comes from the leafy part and most of them are usually dried to a recommended condition. Majority of flavor compounds in spices oil, rather than water soluble they are stored within bubbles of oil. Spices are kind of an engineering output which has a structure to keep those oils locked away and will be released only if the plant is damaged or attacked by an infection. After the bubbles rapture and the oil is exposed to air, the flavor compounds evaporates into gases. This reaction is happening in all meal dishes and in other products that are made using spices.

And now to the second question. What is this well known Spice Island?

A tiny, beautiful island in the Indian Ocean which has a great history of trade for centuries around the world, also called as the "Pearl of Indian Ocean", and later known as Ceylon, Serendib and yes now Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a tropical country located near to the equator which has a huge variety of bio diversity around the country with few world heritages. Because of it's unique location it has been gifted with a valuable soil, a vast bio diversity, and appropriate weather conditions to grow crops throughout the year. Past the traders who have visited Ceylon has traded spices and many more products through silk route which are originated and produced only in Sri Lanka. Moreover Sri Lanka is known as a Agricultural Country which has a huge production of agricultural products to the world.

Finally to the third and the last, Why this small island known as Spice Island?

At the second paragraph I have mentioned that Sri Lanka aka Ceylon is a Tropical country with an appropriate weather all around the year to cultivate crops. Because of that, many Sri Lankans were farmers that grew many kinds of crops throughout the year. Spices has played a major role among those crops in few parts of the country. A well known spice around the world, Cinnamon or Ceylon Cinnamon or True Ceylon Cinnamon is a native plant to Sri Lanka and and only grown in Sri Lanka for decades. From 1600 BCE, Ancient Egyptians used a type of cinnamon as a spice which was bought from African traders and no one knew whether it is Cinnamon or something else until the Portuguese found cinnamon trees growing in Sri Lanka in the early 1500s. And the trade moved with the invasions of Dutch and British for centuries over control of the territory and lucrative trade. Cinnamon was the main and the best spice from the spices from Sri Lanka among the traders and buyers around the world which was the reason to became as the Spice Island among the world population. Also Sri Lanka was a leading producer of Ceylon Black Pepper, Cloves, Nutmeg and Mace, Vanilla, Cardamom and many more. We at KAgroo produce authentic Sri Lankan spices to the local and world market with the highest quality.



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Published in Ceylon Spices

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We at KAgroo, are focusing on producing and exporting highest quality Spices, Herbs, Essential Oils, Oleoresins and Other Value Added Products.

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  • Spice Island
    Spice Island Lets start with the questions "What is a Spice?" , What is this well known "Spice Island"? And why this small island known as Spice Island? What is a Spice? A spice is a plant part that are ultimately loaded with vast variety of flavors than most other ingredients used…
    Written on Sunday, 20 October 2019 07:23