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Herbs and Spices

By Edited Apr 30, 2016 1 3

Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are used for medical purposes and for flavoring foods. Many people think that herbs and spices are one in the same. However, there are some differences, even though these are not big, notable variations.  They both come from edible plants, but the location from which  part of the plant  will  usually determine the difference between a herb or spice. Herbs are usually parts of the leaves that have been dried. Spices usually come from other areas of the plant, including the seeds, bark and very commonly the roots.

Herbs and Spices:

Basil: This herb is used to season meats, tomato sauces, stews, dressings and pickles. It is very common in Italian cooking and has a sweet flavor with an aromatic odor. Other uses for basil include: bathing herb, a tonic when steeped with wine, a guard against fatigue and a natural pesticide for flies and mosquitoes.

Bay Leaves: Bay leaf is a herb that is great for flavoring soups, pickles, fish and poultry. The whole leave is placed in the item; however, it is removed before serving. Bay leaves also are used for many medical reasons. These include, stomach problems, headaches, fungal infections, high blood sugar and earaches. Bay oil is also used for promoting the healing of bruises and sprains. It can also act as an astringent as well. Other medical uses include rheumatism and colic. Bay leaves are used by many in the kitchen as a natural pesticide.

Caraway: Caraway is usually a spice; however, it's leaves are also edible. The seeds are spicy and used in cakes, soups, cheese, sauerkraut and bread, especially rye. It helps aid in digestion and gas. It has also been used for the treatment of colic.


Chives (20091)

Chives: Very similar to green onions, chives are sweeter. These are used to sprinkle on top of salads, soups and potatoes. It is a herb from the same family as onions and can be useful to the circulatory system.

Cilantro: Both herbs and spices can be obtained with cilantro. It's use in kitchen includes seasoning for salads, chicken, rice, fish, beans and Mexican foods. Cilantro can also be of use to aid the digestive system. It has also been used as an appetite stimulant. The oils can be used for it's antibacterial properties and as a fungicide.

Curry Powder: Curry powder is a combination of spices that is commonly used to seasoning meats and vegetables. Turmeric is one of the main ingredients and it is very popular in India. There is evidence that curry powder can help fight against cancer. The curcumin in curry powder kills cancer cells.

Dill: This type of seasoning is also a spice and herb. Leaves are used for seasoning fish, soups, dressings and beans. It can also be added to sour cream, dips and deviled eggs. The seeds or plant is used as a pickling flavoring. Dill water has been given to children in the past to help with digestion.

Fennel: Fennel has a sweet, yet hot flavor. Both the seeds and leaves can be used for seasoning. A small amount can be placed in pies or baked goods. It is also used to season pork or sauces. The leaves are sometimes boiled with fish. In the past, fennel was used for the eyes and snake bites. However, fennel is very dangerous in large amounts, so it should be used in moderation. It is used to benefit the gall bladder, help with yellow jaundice, gout and some cramps.

Ginger: Ginger spice is from a root that can be equally good fresh or dried. It is placed in pickles, preserves, cookies, soups, meats, pies and cakes as a seasoning. Ginger is calming for an upset stomach and a reason so many people drink ginger ale when having an upset stomach. It has anti nausea properties and is found in some motion sickness medications. It has been used to help lower blood pressure. Ginger is a diaphoretic as well.

Marjorma: Use of Marjorma can be dried or fresh most usually as a herb. Great for flavoring fish, poultry, stews, stuffing and tomato juice. This herb is commonly mistaken for oregano. Marjorma has been used in the past to treat headaches and is famous today for it's antioxidant properties with fats.


Mint (20093)

Mint: This cool, aromatic herb has a cool taste. It is used in beverages, especially teas, fish, carrots, peas, cheese, soups and desserts. Mint has been used to help fight motion sickness, colds and fevers. Many believe it helps stings, ear aches, rheumatism and hiccups.

Oregano: This famous herb is used to season many dishes, especially Italian ones. It has a strong odor and is used whole or ground in a variety of foods. Oregano oil is believed to aid in the fight of drug resistant bacteria, such as staph.

Paprika: Paprika is a bright red spice that a pepper. It is used to season and garnish meats, vegetables, potatoes and eggs. Paprika is a great source of beta-carotene.

Parsley: Parsley is a herb that is used for flavoring and garnishing foods. It is used to season fish, omelets, soups, meats and greens. Parsley has been used for the treatment of urinary tract problems, bronchitis, and digestive problems. It makes a great breath freshener and is one reason it is places as a garnish on plates.

Rosemary: Rosemary is a very aromatic herb that is used fresh or dried. It can be used to season meats, eggs, bread and potatoes. It is great in dressings. Rosemary can be irritant when used as a medical herb, but this is not a problem with cooking with the herb. It can help calm the digestion and help with stress. The oil is used to ease muscle pains and skin toner. For oral health, rosemary can be used to fight bad breath and relieve sore throats and canker sores. There are many medical and beauty uses for rosemary.

Saffron: Saffron is a very expensive spice that is also strong in flavor.  It's great for flavoring soups, rice, seafood, chicken and breads. Large doses of saffron can be fatal because it acts as a sedative. Take caution when using this spice.

Sage: The herb sage is very commonly used to season sausage and dressings. Fresh or dried, it's of great use in the kitchen. Sage is also used to flavor cheese spreads, breads, meats and tomato juice. Sage has been used to treat sore throats, coughs, menstrual bleeding, ulcers and improving the memory; as well as some other conditions.

Tarragon: Tarragon is a herb that leaves are hot and pungent. It is used commonly in causes, fish, poultry, eggs, green beans dressings and salads. In ancient times, tarragon leaves were used to help toothaches, because it helps to numb the mouth. This herb has also been used as a milk sedative, heart disease prevention and to aid digestive problems.

Thyme: The herb thyme is commonly used to flavor meats. Using thyme as a medical herb can have some side effects and reactions. It has been used to treat aches, pains and skin problems.

Herbs and spices used for the treatment of medical problems should always be researched and consulted by a medical professional. Many of these can be dangerous, have side effects or interfere with medications. It is very important to use common sense and seek professional medical advice before using treatments, even when considered natural.



Jun 27, 2010 12:49am
Herbs and spices can make food taste great, but like you said, to use them as medicine needs to be monitored by a professional. Great article!
Jul 18, 2010 2:58am
Very helpful article, it has made me think, I hadnt thought about the difference until reading this. thanks for sharing. rated
Aug 6, 2010 11:33am
This is a very good article. I seem to use just a few select herbs while there are so many to choose from. I appreciate this reference list. You did a nice job.
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