In general use, Herbs are any plants used for food, flavoring, medicine, or fragrances for their savory or aromatic properties. Culinary use typically distinguishes herbs from spices. Herbs refers to the leafy green or flowering parts of a plant (either fresh or dried).
Herbs have a variety of uses including culinary, medicinal, and in some cases, spiritual. General usage of the term “herb” differs between culinary herbs and medicinal herbs. In medicinal or spiritual use any of the parts of the plant might be considered “herbs”, including leaves, roots, flowers, seeds, root bark, inner bark (and cambium), resin and pericarp.
A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance primarily use for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are the leaves, flowers, or stems from plants used for flavoring or as a garnish. Sometimes, spices may be ground into a powder for convenience. Many spices have antimicrobial properties. This may explain why spices are more commonly used in warmer climates, which have more infectious diseases, and why the use of spices is prominent in meat, which is particularly susceptible to spoiling. Spices are sometimes used in medicine, religious-rituals, cosmetics or perfume production, or as a vegetable.
Herbs & Spices as Medicines
Traditionally herbs and spices were used as fragrant, flavor, delicious, aromatic and medicinal plants. Everyone can smell, eat, bath in, and heal with them. One of the most important uses of herbs and spices is cancer fighting.
To improve the overall health of the body, herbs and spices have been playing a major role for decades. They help in faster wound healing, make up for nutritional supplements and also deliver a host of benefits. Herbs strengthen the immune system, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, have anti-inflammatory properties, prevent Alzheimer’s diseases, and various types of cancer.
Herbs eliminate the nutritional deficiencies and thus restore the correct functioning of the body. Herbs rectify various problems rather than suppress them. It is also said that herbs nourish every part of the body with their vitamin and mineral content. In short, our body needs certain essential dietary nutrients to meet the everyday demands of life because herbs provide us with most of the necessary components for a healthy life.
Herbs are normally used as flavoring additives to culinary dishes. Along with that, herbs are now an integral part of various medicinal practices in most countries.
Many herbal extracts like those derived from mint, licorice, fenugreek, ginkgo, and aloe vera are used in medicines. The health benefits of herbs vary with their type. For example, ‘Artichoke’ cures different kinds of digestive problems, whereas ‘American Ginseng’ works as a health tonic and ‘Rosemary’ promotes healthy brain function. Almost all herbs have some health benefits and you can consume them after the recommendation of a medical practitioner.
The US. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) define a spice as an “aromatic vegetable substance whose significant function in food is “seasoning rather than nutrition” and from which “no portion of any volatile oil or other flavoring principle has been removed. But herbs are defined as leafy and green part in non-woody plants of temperate climate zone. When fresh, herbs are more fragrant, but spices are mostly stronger as dried powders. In some cases both herb and spice may come from the same plant. Dill is an example; the seeds from the dill plant are spices, while the stalk of the plant is herb this is because herbs have always been recognized as the green, leafy products.
Frequently these plants are simply referred to as medicinal plants, disregarding their specific features, due to the complexity and overlapping uses of active ingredients and the great number of plant species involved in classification for herbs and spices.
“Medicinal and Aromatic Plants” (MAPs) term is more recently used, in a slightly broader sense, distinguishing the fragrant constituents-containing group of medicinal plants.
All in all enjoy your life with aromatic medicinal spices and herbs.