grains of paradise

/graynz ov pah-ruh-dyse/
[English] plural Always plural

Grains of paradise are the ppery seeds of either of two African zingiberaceous plants related to the cardamom. They are indigenous to the coast and islands of tropical West Africa, previously known as the Melegueta or Pepper Coast. Used as stimulants, diuretics or condiments they were named after the African empire of Melle. Sold at Lyons in 1245 when it was known by the name "Grana Paradisi". The Welsh physicians of Myddvai at this time knew it as Gawn Paris. Queen Elizabeth I had a predilection for them. King George III banned their importation in an effort to protect the pepper trade. Scandinavian contries however continued their trade from their colonies in West Africa. Other species of Afromomum are also confusingly called "Grains of Paradise" and these include - Madagascar Cardamom (A. anguistifolium) and Black Amomum (A. granum-paradisii).

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