Spices are added in small amounts to meals in order to improve their flavor. Today they are widely used in every household, but until recently they were among the most expensive goods in the world. Spices constituted an important source of income for the royal courts, carriers and merchants from antiquity to the 18th century. The most expensive were obviously those from distant parts of the world, e.g. from India or Indonesia. Local herbs and grated roots were widely available and therefore they did not represent a greater market value. Spices - both local and exotic - were formerly attributed magical significance. They were used to make potions, enchant and whisper incantation.