What You Should Know About Herbs

What You Should Know About Herbs

Herbs have played an important role in natural living since their advent on the earth. They have been admired for their beauty and fragrance, prized for their flavor, and used for common ailments for thousands of years.

An herb is an edible plant with aromatic leaves, seeds or flowers and is often used for its culinary, religious, medicinal or fragrant properties.  Some are weeds and wildflowers while some are ground covers and leaves. Herbs hold an important part in many aspects of life. The most common uses include medicinal, personal care, cleaning, fragrance and culinary purposes.

Examples of herbs are basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme and dill. Herbs are identified by their green, leafy, spiny or mossy qualities. What exactly is the difference between an herb and a spice? Dried bark, root, berry, seed, twig or other plant matter that is used to season or flavor food is considered a spice. Sometimes the two are used interchangeably — for example, chives and parsley are technically herbs, but many think of them as spices as well.

Cinnamon is the bark of a tree. Cardamom is a seed pod. Allspice is a dried berry. Cloves are dried flower buds. These are examples of spices. Spices are often used in dried form while herbs can be used either fresh or dried. While spices are often ground into a fine powder to release their aromatic flavor and nuances, herbs only need to be chopped, crushed or muddled.

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