Difference Between Herbs and Spices

Main Difference

The main difference between herbs and spices is that herbs are herbaceous (non-woody) plants and obtained from their leaves, whereas spices may be woody or herbaceous plants and obtained from flowers, roots, and barks.

Herbs vs. Spices

Herbs are herbaceous (non-woody) plants and obtained from their leaves whereas spices may be woody or herbaceous plants and are obtained from flowers, roots, fruits, seeds, and barks. Herbs typically originate from temperate climates mainly Italy, England, and France; on the other hand, spices originate from tropical climates. Herbs are more fragrant when they are fresh, while spices are more effective than herbs. Herbs used for salty purposes; on the contrary, spices are stronger when they are dried. Herbs also have many medicinal values; on the flip side, nearly spices used as preservatives. Herbs such as basil leaves are an excellent source of iron; conversely, spices like chilies contain four times as much vitamin C than oranges, gram for gram. Herbs can easily grow frequently and in a large number, whereas spices are more difficult to grow because of their required conditions to flourish. All herbs are usually cheap and are not expensive, whereas “saffron” is the most expensive spice in the world.

Comparison Chart

HerbsSpices
Herbs are herbaceous (non-woody) plants and obtained from their leaves.Spices may be woody or herbaceous plants and are obtained from flowers, roots, fruits, seeds, and barks.
Texture
Maybe forb-like (a plant that is not a grass) or grass-likeCan be woody or non-woody
Origin
Originate from temperate climatesOriginate from tropical climates
Effectiveness
More fragrant when they are freshMore effective than the herb
Purposes
Used for salty purposesStronger when they are dried
Medicinal Value
Many medicinal valuesNearly spices used as preservatives
Source Of
Excellent source of ironContain four times as much vitamin C than oranges, gram for gram
Production Rate
Can easily grow and available all the timeMore difficult to produce because of their required environments to flourish
Rate
Usually cheap and are not expensiveReally expensive
Examples
Marjoram, chives, mint, parsley, basil, oregano, etcGinger, cinnamon, cloves, mustard seeds, vanilla, etc

What is Herbs?

Herbs are herbaceous (non-woody) plants and obtained from their leaves. Word “herb” also define that herbaceous plant that dies down at the end of the growing season and no longer refers for its culinary value. Herbs may be forb-like (a plant that is not a grass) or grass-like. Bark, seed, root, berries, etc. are also considered as herbs. Herbs used for salty purposes in food and cooking to give some taste. Herbs also have many medicinal values for centuries. Herbs often used in larger amounts in cooking than spices. Herbs typically originate from temperate climates mainly Italy, England, and France. Herbs are more fragrant when they are fresh. Herbs such as basil leaves are an excellent source of iron. Herbs can easily grow frequently and in a large number. All herbs are usually cheap and are not expensive. Herbs may be fresh and dry. Herbs also used for controlling the pests. Gardeners use herbs like spearmint, peppermint, mint, and others to keep ants, fleas, lice, moth, and ticks away.

Types

  • Culinary Herbs: They are from the leaves of plants and used for providing flavor in food. Examples; lavender, coriander leaves, parsley, etc.
  • Medicinal Herbs: They documented in many old scriptures. They used for diabetes and various health purposes. They are also used to treat depression and stress.
  • Sacred Herbs: They used by different cultures all over the world include tulsi, neem, sage, and cedar.

Examples

Basil, Chives, Mint, Marjoram, Thyme, etc.

What are Spices?

Spices may be woody or herbaceous plants and are obtained from flowers, roots, fruits, seeds, and barks. They can be used to add flavor, color, and taste to food. They typically used in a smaller amount than herbs. They originated from tropical climates. They also used for preservation and treatment of ailments besides just providing flavor to food. Spices should store in a dry and cool location. If they exposed to light and heat, they damaged its flavor. Spices like chilies contain vitamin C 4 times as much than oranges, gram for gram. Spices are more difficult to grow because of their required conditions to flourish. Some spices are very expensive like “saffron” in the whole world.

Types of Medicinal Spices

  • Asafetida: Used for stomach ailments and cough.
  • Bay Leaf: Its oil possesses anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  • Cinnamon: Belief to reduce blood cholesterol.
  • Cloves: Relieve toothache.
  • Cumin: keeps the immune system healthy.
  • Fenugreek: Beneficial to lower cholesterol and treat diabetes.
  • Turmeric: Good for skin

Examples

Chili, Cloves, Ginger, Pepper, Mustard seeds, Saffron

Key Differences

  1. Herbs are herbaceous (non-woody) plants and obtained from their leaves whereas spices may be woody or herbaceous plants and are obtained from flowers, roots, fruits, seeds, and barks.
  2. Herbs may be forb-like (a plant that is not a grass) or grass-like while spices can be woody or non-woody.
  3. Herbs typically originate from temperate climates mainly Italy, England, and France; on the other hand, spices originate from tropical climates.
  4. Herbs are more fragrant when they are fresh, while spices are more effective than herbs.
  5. Herbs used for salty purposes; on the contrary, spices are stronger when they are dried.
  6. Herbs also have many medicinal values; on the flip side, nearly spices used as preservatives.
  7. Herbs such as basil leaves are an excellent source of iron; conversely, spices like chilies contain four times as much vitamin C than oranges, gram for gram.
  8. Herbs can easily grow frequently and in a large number, whereas spices are more difficult to grow because of their required environments to flourish.
  9. All herbs are usually cheap whereas “saffron” is the most expensive spice in the world.

Conclusion

Above discussion concludes that herbs are herbaceous (non-woody) plants and obtained from their leaves whereas spices may be woody or herbaceous plants and obtained from flowers, roots, and barks.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

View all posts by Aimie Carlson