Ethiopian Spices, Herbs, Roots, Oilseeds in English/Amharic

ethiopian spices herbs roots in english and amharic

Ethiopian Spices and Herbs

Background of Spices in Ethiopia

Ethiopia as an ancient country has its own unique tastes and cultural inclinations.

One that stands out is the Ethiopians love of spices.

Almost all the food and drinks taken by Ethiopians in their daily routine consists of one or more spices, herbs, etc.

Ethiopia’s spices have a sort of mysterious nature about them, as they are not commonly found around the globe.

The various spices, herbs and roots Ethiopians use are mostly endemic to Ethiopia and it appears as if only the Ethiopians themselves possess the key that unlocks its many benefits.

Today, with many Ethiopians living abroad, there is a large and growing market for exporting spices, as they still show an avid interest in the spices of their childhoods.

Ethiopian Spice Production

Ethiopians have been cultivating spices and herbs for a very long time now and the dedication and skill taken to prepare them is evident in the final product.

The country today produces as much as 50 spices of the 109 spices that are listed by the ISO or the International Standard Organization for Standardization.

Ethiopia is now mainly cultivating spices on a very small scale compared to her other agricultural products.

The systems are all rain fed and cultivated from the wild, hence one could say that almost all Ethiopian spices are organic.

This has helped them market their spices on the international market as the West has become very interested in healthy foods and spices.

Uses for the Various Spices and Herbs

Spices and herbs have many applications, some of which are as a natural ingredient for the food industry, as well as being used by the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

These spices are commonly used throughout Ethiopia for medicinal, as well as, for culinary purposes.

Ethiopians believe that the food one eats holds the key to healthy living and should be prepared and handled with care.

Some of the spices and/or herbs have specific properties that help to cure a variety of ailments.

But as with any medicine, one should conduct the necessary research before taking anything that they are not experienced with.

Blessing in Disguise for the Spice Sector

Recently, unfortunate news was heard about the banning of Ethiopian red pepper spices by the European Union.

It turned out that unscrupulous traders were adding water to the product after purchasing them from the farmers in order to have the weight increase.

The adding of water caused the level of toxins to increase, one of these toxins is known as aflatoxin.

The European Union said the spices had incredibly high levels of the toxin and returned the product to Ethiopia.

This caused a huge embarrassment for the country’s spice sector but helped to increase Ethiopia’s vigilance in protecting the quality of spices in the future.

Furthermore, companies are now negotiating directly with the farmers, in the hope that they can control the quality of the product from source to market.

Spices, Herbs, Roots, Oilseeds, Pulses, etc. in Amharic and English

Name in English Picture Name in Amharic Scientific Name


ethiopian ginger root Zinjibil or Jinjebel Zingiber Officinale

Garden Cress - Pepper Grass

ethiopian feto garden cress Feto Lepidium Sativum


ethiopian turmeric root Erd or Ird Curcuma Longa


ethiopian fenugreek seeds Habish or Abish Trigonella Foenum-Graceum


ethiopian cinnamon sticks and spices Karafa or Qarafa Cinnamomum Zelanicum


two whole garlics and two cloves of garlic Nech Shenkurt Allium Sativum

Flax Seeds

two white spoons one with whole flax seeds and the other with ground flax seeds Telba Linum Usitatissimum


ethiopian peppermint leaf Nanna Mentha Piperita

Sesame Seeds

ethiopian sesame seeds Selit Sesamum Indicum

Fennel Seeds

ethiopian fennel seeds Ensilal Foeniculum Vulgare

Spices, Herbs, Roots, Oilseeds, Pulses, etc. in Amharic and English

Name in English Picture Name in Amharic Scientific Name

Castor Seeds

ethiopian castor seeds Gelow or Glow Ricinus Communis

Aloe Vera

ethiopian aloe vera leaf Eret Aloe Barbadensis

Black Mustard

ethiopian black mustard seeds Senafitch Brassica Nigra


ethiopian rue plant Tenadam Ruta Chalepensis


ethiopian basil leaf Besobila Ocimum Basilicum


ethiopian coriander Dimbelal Coriandrum Sativum

Paprika Pepper

ethiopian cayenne pepper powder Berbere Capsicum Annum

Black Cumin Seeds

ethiopian black cumin seeds Tikur Azmud Nigella Sativa

Ethiopian Cumin Seeds

ethiopian carom seeds Ajwain or Ajowan or Carom Trachyspermum Ammi

Spices, Herbs, Roots, Oilseeds, Pulses, etc. in Amharic and English

Name in English Picture Name in Amharic Scientific Name


ethiopian chickpeas Shimbra or Shembera Cicer Arietinum


ethiopian rosemary Rozmir Rosmarinus Officinalis


ethiopian khat leaves Chat Catha Edulis

Echinops Kebericho

ethiopian kebercho plant Kebercho Echinops Kebericho Mesfin

Vervain or Verbena

ethiopian atuch plant Atuch Verbena Officinalis


ethiopian dingetegna Dingetegna Taverniera Abyssinica

African wormwood

ethiopian ariti plant Ariti Artemisia Afra


ethiopian demakese plant Demakese Ocimum Lamiifolium

Indian ginseng

ethiopian gisewa plant Gisewa Withania Somnifera

Wormwood Species

ethiopian chikugn plant Chikugn Artemisia Abyssinica


ethiopian thyme Tosign Thymus Vulgaris


ethiopian beans Bakela Phaseolus Vulgaris

Red Lentils

ethiopian red lentils Misir Lens Esculenta

Spices, Herbs, Roots, Oilseeds, Pulses, etc. in Amharic and English

Name in English Picture Name in Amharic Scientific Name

Black Cardamom

ethiopian black cardamon whole and seeds Kororima or Kewrerima Amomum Subulatum

Yellow Lentils

ethiopian yellow lentils Kik Lens Culinaris


ethiopian moringa Shiferaw Moringa Oleifera


ethiopian soybeans Akrui Ater Glycine Max


ethiopian oregano Koseret Lippia Abyssinica

Niger Seeds

ethiopian niger seeds Noog or Nug Guizotia Abyssinica


ethiopian rapeseeds Yehabesha Gomen Brassica Carinata


ethiopian peanuts Loz or Ocholoni Arachis Hypogaea


ethiopian sunflower Suf Helianthus

Black Pepper

ethiopian black pepper Kundo Berbere Piper Nigrum


ethiopian nutmeg Gewz Myristica Fragrans

Cayenne Pepper

ethiopian cayenne pepper Mitmita Capsicum Annuum 'Acuminatum'

Chickpea Powder with Spices

ethiopian chickpea powder with spices Mitin Shiro -

Spices, Herbs, Roots, Oilseeds, Pulses, etc. in Amharic and English

Name in English Picture Name in Amharic Scientific Name

Barley (whole roasted)

ethiopian barley roasted Kolo Hordeum Vulgare

Barley (ground)

ethiopian barley ground Besso Hordeum Vulgare

Haricot Beans

ethiopian haricot beans Bolokey Phaseolus Vulgaris


ethiopian oats ground Atmit or Aja Avena Sativa


ethiopian wheat Sinde Triticum