Yes, it can refer to nutmeg or cinnamon or other such exotic flavours that add an extra something to our cooking. Yes, to spice something up can mean to add more taste and sharpness to whatever we are doing, be it writing a story or creating a fashion image.
But…the big new meaning for spice is that of an alternative drug to marijuana. Apparently it is a mixture of herbs and spices and synthetic compounds called cannabinoids, which have the same psychoactive effect as marijuana. Sometimes called herbal incense, it is apparently quite easy to get hold of in the market and is causing concern for the effects on consumer’s health.
So, another word acquires a less than innocent meaning. Gives a whole new complexion to the Spice Girls and to the saying “sugar and spice and all things nice …”