Picture of Spices

Spices: History & Use in Medicine

The Course

As winter approaches and we are comforted by thoughts of warming spices, this workshop will help us to understand their high importance in the past. We begin with the spice accounts of the rich then relating these to stocks kept by the apothecary and entries in the Pharmacopoeias. Over several centuries the irreplaceable role of spices is revealed. Gaining control of their lucrative trade drove exploration for a new route to the East Indian ‘spice islands’ battles over their possession, and cartels in Venice to store many years harvest in order to fix high prices.

But what is their real value? It is certainly more than flavour and leads us to investigate the medicinal properties of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, pimento, cloves, galangal, cubebs and grains of paradise. Making recipes on the day will give practical experience of exploring the depths of their antibacterial, pain-relieving, digestive and anti-inflammatory properties and learning how to put these to best use in our daily lives. From the gentle aromatic distilled waters to powerful essential oils and fresh and powdered spices the day promises to be filled with spicy fragrant heat and rich in discovery of these fascinating, exotic ingredients.

The Tutors

Christina Stapley BSc (Hons) MCPP is now a retired qualified medical herbalist with a degree in Phytotherapy (plant therapy). She has grown some 300 herbs, studied and used them for over 30 years. Her Hampshire garden was featured on television several times. She has written three books on cultivating and using herbs in cookery, fragrant recipes, wines and liqueurs, crafts and home remedies. Christina has also edited and interpreted a 17th century book of cookery and physic recipes.

Participant Information

Please bring with you a pen and paper and suitable clothing footwear as you will spend part of the day outside. The course may take place in an historic building which can be cool, it is advisable to wear warm layers.

Fee & Refreshments

£70 per person, including tuition, teas and coffees. Please let the Museum know in advance of any dietary requirements. The Museum café will be open for lunch or alternatively participants can bring their own packed lunch.

Book course



Thu 14 October 2021






Herbal & Garden