Sri Lanka (previously called Ceylon during colonial times) is an island nation located in the tropics, lying off the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent (see Table 1.1 for a fact file of Sri Lanka). The geographic location of Sri Lanka is shown in Figure 1.1. The country is home to many cultures, languages, and ethnicities. The majority of the country’s population belongs to the Sinhalese ethnicity with a large minority of Tamils. Moors, Burghers, Malays, Chinese, and the aboriginal Vedda groups also being part of the country’s population. It has an ancient cultural heritage spanning 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back over 125,000 years. Sri Lanka has a strategic location in the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. Due to the deep-water harbors such as Trincomalee (Figure 1.2), it became a key maritime location from the time of the ancient Silk Road to the Maritime Silk Road. As such, the country was known by many traders for its plethora of spices, which were sold to those travelling along these routes and harbors (Siriweera 1994). There was great commercial importance placed upon spices as a trade commodity and Sri Lanka has been identified since ancient times as a hub of high-quality spices that carry medicinal value. The key spices traded during the days of the ancient Silk Road were cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. Not only were these spices used as flavoring agents, both locally and overseas, they also carried therapeutic properties – an aspect that was known to the traditional medicinal practitioners of Sri Lanka since ancient times. However, it should be noted that the establishment and popularity of the traditional medicinal system of Sri Lanka since ancient times was independent from the commercial exchanges made during the ancient Silk Road days, although it is possible that the recognition of certain spices with medicinal value as an agricultural crop was imparted due to the influence of international traders visiting the country.