spices, herbs, food

Herbs and spices are popular in many foods around the world today. Both are used to flavor foods and some for medicinal purposes. Herbs and spices have been prominent throughout human history. In earlier times, spices and herbs were considered luxuries and only available for using the wealthy. Herbs and spices were also traded regularly between countries in medieval times. Many people don’t know the difference between an herb and a spice. There are lots of similarities between the two, and a few of the differences are extremely subtle, but they continue to be valid.

History

Because spices and herbs have numerous uses and are excellent food flavorings, they’ve played important roles throughout history. The Portuguese navigator, Vasco Da Gama, sailed to India in search of spices. Even Christopher Columbus explained the kinds of spices available from the”new world” to investors after he landed. Herbs have been used throughout history for medicinal purposes. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbology (the study of herbs for medical purposes) has been used for centuries.

Distinction between Spices and Herbs

The debate between spices and herbs is ongoing. Some state that there’s not any difference, but others maintain they’re both completely different. Most learned scholars will say that the difference between an herb and a spice is located in where the herb or spice is obtained on the plant, and in which that particular plant are available.

The essential difference between an herb and a spice is where it’s obtained out of a plant. Herbs normally come from the leafy portion of a plant, and are usually dried. However, some herbs may be used fresh. Spices can be obtained from fruits, seeds, bark, roots, or any other vegetative substance. Spices aren’t always as refreshing as some herbs can be. Herbs are available many places around the world, while spices are more commonly found in the Far East and tropical countries. Herbs are deemed to have a couple more applications than spices. For example, herbs are used more often than spices in the health care field. Also, herbs can and have been used to fortify cosmetics and preserve foods.

Conclusion

Some assert that there’s not any distinction between spices and herbs, considering both have similar applications. However, a botanical definition shows that an herb is a plant which does not produce a woody stem. It is common knowledge that a dried herb is regarded as a spice. This contributes to more confusion since if a spice is simply an herb, then there can’t be a difference between the two. However, believing that this is ignoring the fact that lots of herbs are normally leafy green spices and substances are found in plants which are tropical in character.