Spice Is the Rarest and Most Valuable Commodity in the 'Dune' Universe

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Apr. 28 2023, Published 4:40 p.m. ET

Paul (Timothée Chalamet) scoops up spice into the palm of his hand in 2021's 'Dune'
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

"The spice must flow."

Despite being almost 60 years old, the sci-fi franchise Dune continues to captivate audiences — and thanks to the recent film adaptations directed by Denis Villeneuve, there has been a resurgence of interest in the epic saga.

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With that said, a lot of folks are eager to learn more about Frank Herbert's fictional world and its supplies, including the infamous spice. Well, what is it? Stick around to find out!

Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Dr. Liet Kynes in 'Dune'
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures
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What is spice in 'Dune'?

Spice Melange, commonly referred to as "the spice," is a naturally harvested drug found on the harsh desert planet known as Arrakis. It's believed to be the universe's rarest and most valuable commodity, as owning a small amount would be enough to purchase an entire planet.

As stated before, the spice originated on Arrakis — it's produced deep beneath the sands, where the excretions of sandtrout (larval form of sandworms) would mix with water to form a "pre-spice mass." Once brought to the surface, the mass explodes, and due to the planet's intense heat and air, melange forms.

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Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica in 'Dune: Part Two.'
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Lady Jessica sports the "Eyes of Ibad" in 'Dune: Part Two'

The spice offers many benefits to those who consume it regularly, including but not limited to: Extended lifespans, expanded sensory perceptions, mind reading and control, and prescience (the ability to see into the past, present, and future). Constant use of the spice also leads to discoloration of the entire human eye, staining them blue, which the Fremen call the "Eyes of Ibad."

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Throughout the Dune saga, the drug's appearance is only alluded to a few times. In the first book, Lady Jessica noted that the spice "tasted like cinnamon."

Dr. Yueh added that the flavor is "never twice the same ... It's like life — it presents a different face each time you take it. Some hold that the spice produces a learned-flavor reaction. The body, learning a thing is good for it, interprets the flavor as pleasurable, slightly euphoric. And, like life, never to be truly synthesized."

In Dune Messiah and God Emperor of Dune, readers learn that the spice is an orange-ish color that glows a "radiant blue in the dim silver light."

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