What Is A Herb Vs. A Spice?
Both herbs and spices are used in culinary items globally. However, the differences between the two are quite visible and stark.
A herb and a spice are not the same thing and they have their set of differences. However, having said that, they also have certain similarities too.
What Is A Herb?
When it comes to the question what is a herb, the definition is simple.
A herb is a non woody flowering plant. However, any plant that is valued for medicinal purposes, scent or flavor is considered to be a herb.
Some even consider minerals and pitch to be herbs.
So when answering what is a herb, it is important to realize that herbs are used in relatively smaller amounts as compared to foods that are more potent. And those that have stronger actions in one’s body.
Herbs are used for many purposes. They are used to correct different imbalances. Every herb has its own set of chemistry and personality. Therefore, every herb can perform several actions in the body.
Herb Vs. Spice?
Some consider thyme as a spice but in fact, it is a herb.
When it comes to what is a herb, a herb is obtained through the leaves of herbaceous and non-woody plants.
On the other hand, spices are obtained from fruits, seeds, roots, barks and others.
In certain cases, a spice and herb might come from the exact same plant. For instance, dill plant is considered a spice whereas the stalk of a plant is called a herb.
One stark difference, when it comes to what is a herb, is that while herbs and spices are used for the purpose of flavoring the foods, spices are somewhat stronger in flavor so a relatively smaller quantity might be needed for the purpose of flavoring.
Spices are stronger while herbs are relatively weaker.
When people think of what is a herb, it is suffice to say that a herb has been limited to a certain dozen or handful of plants.
A botanist considers a herb as short for herbaceous and it is considered a non woody plant. Primarily, herb is considered a seed producing annual, perennial or biennial that doesn’t develop persistent woody tissue, however, it dies by the end of the season.
Moreover, when talking about what is a herb, one of the shortest definitions of it is that it is ‘a useful plant’ in your own herb garden.
A plant that has efficacious properties and can be used for flavor or health or fragrance can be considered a herb. Herb may include a variety of things including trees, seaweed, perennials and such.
Thus, when answering the question what is a herb, we can say that these are used for culinary purposes, medicinally or as pest repellents or aromatics. They can also be used as teas or in mustard, dips and such.
The difference between herb and spice is that herb comes from leafy or green part of the plant whereas spices are the parts of a plant that are not the leafy bit and are aside from the leafy bit such as bark, bulb or seed.
Some common herbs include thyme, rosemary, mint, parsley, oregano and basil, whereas spices are dried before they are used to season foods. Some common spices include pepper, ginger, cloves and cinnamon.
Further, the American Spice Trade Association classifies spice as any dried plant that is used for seasoning purposes. Therefore, this definition makes spice incorporate dehydrated veggies, herbs, spice blends and seeds.