In general use, herbs are plants with savory or aromatic properties that are used for flavoring and garnishing food, medicinal purposes, or for fragrances; excluding vegetables and other plants consumed for macronutrients. Culinary use typically distinguishes herbs from spices. Herbs generally refers to the leafy green or flowering parts of a plant (either fresh or dried), while spices are usually dried and produced from other parts of the plant, including seeds, bark, roots and fruits.
A garnish is an item or substance used as a decoration or embellishment accompanying a prepared food dish or drink. In many cases, it may give added or contrasting flavor. Some garnishes are selected mainly to augment the visual impact of the plate, while others are selected specifically for the flavor they may impart. This is in contrast to a condiment, a prepared sauce added to another food item primarily for its flavor. A food item which is served with garnish may be described as being garni, the French term for 'garnished'.
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant and is the principal lateral appendage of the stem. The leaves and stem together form the shoot. Leaves are collectively referred to as foliage, as in "autumn foliage".
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants. The biological function of a flower is to affect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs. Flowers may facilitate outcrossing or allow selfing. Some flowers produce diaspores without fertilization (parthenocarpy). Flowers contain sporangia and are the site where gametophytes develop. Many flowers have evolved to be attractive to animals, so as to cause them to be vectors for the transfer of pollen. After fertilization, the ovary of the flower develops into fruit containing seeds.
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 parts of the plant might be considered as "herbs", including leaves, roots, flowers, seeds, root bark, inner bark (and cambium), resin and pericarp.
The vascular cambium is the main growth tissue in the stems and roots of many plants, specifically in dicots such as buttercups and oak trees, gymnosperms such as pine trees, as well as in certain vascular plants. It produces secondary xylem inwards, towards the pith, and secondary phloem outwards, towards the bark. In herbaceous plants, it occurs in the vascular bundles which are often arranged like beads on a necklace forming an interrupted ring inside the stem. In woody plants, it forms a cylinder of unspecialized meristem cells, as a continuous ring from which the new tissues are grown. Unlike the xylem and phloem, it does not transport water, minerals or food through the plant. Other names for the vascular cambium are the main cambium, wood cambium, or bifacial cambium.
In polymer chemistry and materials science, resin is a solid or highly viscous substance of plant or synthetic origin that is typically convertible into polymers. Resins are usually mixtures of organic compounds. This article focuses on naturally occurring resins.
The word "herb" is pronounced // in Commonwealth English, but // is common among North American English speakers and those from other regions where h-dropping occurs. In botany, the word "herb" is used as a synonym for "herbaceous plant".
North American English is the most generalized variety of the English language as spoken in the United States and Canada. Because of their related histories and cultures and the similarities between the pronunciation, vocabulary, and accent of American English and Canadian English, the two spoken varieties are often grouped together under a single category. Due to historical and cultural factors, Canadian English and American English can be distinguished from each other, with the differences being most noticeable in the two languages' written forms. Canadian spellings are primarily based on British usage as a result of Canada's longer-standing connections with the United Kingdom. Canadians are generally tolerant of both British and American spellings, with British spellings being favored in more formal settings and in Canadian print media. Spellings in American English have been highly influenced by lexicographers like Noah Webster, who sought to create a standardized form of English that was independent of British English. Despite these differences, the dialects of both Canada and the United States are similar. The United Empire Loyalists who fled the American Revolution (1765–1783) have had a large influence on Canadian English from its early roots.
H-dropping or aitch-dropping is the deletion of the voiceless glottal fricative or "H sound",. The phenomenon is common in many dialects of English, and is also found in certain other languages, either as a purely historical development or as a contemporary difference between dialects. Although common in most regions of England and in some other English-speaking countries, H-dropping is often stigmatized and perceived as a sign of careless or uneducated speech.
Botany, also called plant science(s), plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek word βοτάνη (botanē) meaning "pasture", "grass", or "fodder"; βοτάνη is in turn derived from βόσκειν (boskein), "to feed" or "to graze". Traditionally, botany has also included the study of fungi and algae by mycologists and phycologists respectively, with the study of these three groups of organisms remaining within the sphere of interest of the International Botanical Congress. Nowadays, botanists study approximately 410,000 species of land plants of which some 391,000 species are vascular plants, and approximately 20,000 are bryophytes.
In botany, the term herb refers to a herbaceous plant,defined as a small, seed-bearing plant without a woody stem in which all aerial parts (i.e. above ground) die back to the ground at the end of each growing season. Usually the term refers to perennials, although herbaceous plants can also be annuals (where the plant dies at the end of the growing season and grows back from seed next year), or biennials. This term is in contrast to shrubs and trees which possess a woody stem. Shrubs and trees are also defined in terms of size, where shrubs are less than ten meters tall, and trees may grow over ten meters. The word herbaceous is derived from Latin herbāceus meaning "grassy", from herba "grass, herb".
Herbaceous plants in botany, frequently shortened to herbs, are vascular plants that have no persistent woody stems above ground. Herb has other meanings in cooking, medicine, and other fields. Herbaceous plants are those plants that do not have woody stems, they include many perennials, and nearly all annuals and biennials, they include both forbs and graminoids.
The spermatophytes, also known as phanerogams or phaenogams, comprise those plants that produce seeds, hence the alternative name seed plants. They are a subset of the embryophytes or land plants. The term phanerogams or phanerogamae is derived from the Greek φανερός, phanerós meaning "visible", in contrast to the cryptogamae from Greek κρυπτός kryptós = "hidden" together with the suffix γαμέω, gameo, "to marry". These terms distinguished those plants with hidden sexual organs (cryptogamae) from those with visible sexual organs (phanerogamae).
The growing season is the part of the year during which local weather conditions permit normal plant growth. While each plant or crop has a specific growing season that depends on its genetic adaptation, growing seasons can generally be grouped into macro-environmental classes.
Another sense of the term herb can refer to a much larger range of plants,with culinary, therapeutic or other uses. For example, some of the most commonly described herbs such as sage, rosemary and lavender would be excluded from the botanical definition of a herb as they do not die down each year, and they possess woody stems. In the wider sense, herbs may be herbaceous perennials but also trees, subshrubs, shrubs, annuals, lianas, ferns, mosses, algae, lichens, and fungi. Herbalism can utilize not just stems and leaves but also fruit, roots, bark and gums. Therefore, one suggested definition of a herb is a plant which is of use to humans, although this definition is problematic since it could cover a great many plants that are not commonly described as herbs.
Salvia is the largest genus of plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, with nearly 1000 species of shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals. Within the Lamiaceae, Salvia is part of the tribe Mentheae within the subfamily Nepetoideae. One of several genera commonly referred to as sage, it includes the widely produced herb used in cooking, Salvia officinalis.
Salvia rosmarinus, commonly known as rosemary, is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. Until 2017, it was known by the scientific name Rosmarinus officinalis, now a synonym.
Lavandula is a genus of 47 known species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to the Old World and is found from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia to southeast India. Many members of the genus are cultivated extensively in temperate climates as ornamental plants for garden and landscape use, for use as culinary herbs, and also commercially for the extraction of essential oils. The most widely cultivated species, Lavandula angustifolia, is often referred to as lavender, and there is a color named for the shade of the flowers of this species. Despite its use over centuries in traditional medicine and cosmetics, there is no high-quality clinical evidence that lavender has any effects on diseases or improves health.
Ancient Greek philosopher Theophrastus divided the plant world into trees, shrubs, and herbs.Herbs came to be considered in three groups, namely pot herbs (e.g. onions), sweet herbs (e.g. thyme), and salad herbs (e.g. wild celery). During the seventeenth century as selective breeding changed the plants size and flavor away from the wild plant, pot herbs began to be referred to as vegetables as they were no longer considered only suitable for the pot.
Theophrastus, a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens at a young age and initially studied in Plato's school. After Plato's death, he attached himself to Aristotle who took to Theophrastus in his writings. When Aristotle fled Athens, Theophrastus took over as head of the Lyceum. Theophrastus presided over the Peripatetic school for thirty-six years, during which time the school flourished greatly. He is often considered the father of botany for his works on plants. After his death, the Athenians honoured him with a public funeral. His successor as head of the school was Strato of Lampsacus.
Selective breeding is the process by which humans use animal breeding and plant breeding to selectively develop particular phenotypic traits (characteristics) by choosing which typically animal or plant males and females will sexually reproduce and have offspring together. Domesticated animals are known as breeds, normally bred by a professional breeder, while domesticated plants are known as varieties, cultigens, cultivars, or breeds. Two purebred animals of different breeds produce a crossbreed, and crossbred plants are called hybrids. Flowers, vegetables and fruit-trees may be bred by amateurs and commercial or non-commercial professionals: major crops are usually the provenance of the professionals.
Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. The original meaning is still commonly used and is applied to plants collectively to refer to all edible plant matter, including the flowers, fruits, stems, leaves, roots, and seeds. The alternate definition of the term vegetable is applied somewhat arbitrarily, often by culinary and cultural tradition. It may exclude foods derived from some plants that are fruits, flowers, nuts, and cereal grains, but include savoury fruits such as tomatoes and courgettes, flowers such as broccoli, and seeds such as pulses.
Culinary herbs are distinguished from vegetables in that, like spices, they are used in small amounts and provide flavor rather than substance to food.
Herbs can be perennials such as thyme, sage or lavender, biennials such as parsley, or annuals like basil. Perennial herbs can be shrubs such as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), or trees such as bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) – this contrasts with botanical herbs, which by definition cannot be woody plants. Some plants are used as both herbs and spices, such as dill weed and dill seed or coriander leaves and seeds. There are also some herbs, such as those in the mint family, that are used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
Emperor Charlemagne (742–814) compiled a list of 74 different herbs that were to be planted in his gardens. The connection between herbs and health is important already in the European Middle Ages-- The Forme of Cury (that is, "cookery") promotes extensive use of herbs, including in salads, and claims in its preface "the assent and advisement of the masters of physic and philosophy in the King's Court".
Some herbs can be infused in boiling water to make herbal teas (also termed tisanes).Typically the dried leaves, flowers or seeds are used, or fresh herbs are used. Herbal teas tend to made from aromatic herbs, may not contain tannins or caffeine, and are not typically mixed with milk. Common examples include chamomile tea, or mint tea. Herbal teas are often used as a source of relaxation or can be associated with rituals.
Herbs were used in prehistoric medicine. As far back as 5000 BCE, evidence that Sumerians used herbs in medicine was inscribed on cuneiform.In 162 CE, the physician Galen was known for concocting complicated herbal remedies that contained up to 100 ingredients.
Some plants contain phytochemicals that have effects on the body. There may be some effects when consumed in the small levels that typify culinary "spicing", and some herbs are toxic in larger quantities. For instance, some types of herbal extract, such as the extract of St. John's-wort ( Hypericum perforatum ) or of kava ( Piper methysticum ) can be used for medical purposes to relieve depression and stress.However, large amounts of these herbs may lead to toxic overload that may involve complications, some of a serious nature, and should be used with caution. Complications can also arise when being taken with some prescription medicines.
Herbs have long been used as the basis of traditional Chinese herbal medicine, with usage dating as far back as the first century CE and far before. In India, the Ayurveda medicinal system is based on herbs. Medicinal use of herbs in Western cultures has its roots in the Hippocratic (Greek) elemental healing system, based on a quaternary elemental healing metaphor. Famous herbalist of the Western tradition include Avicenna (Persian), Galen (Roman), Paracelsus (German Swiss), Culpepper (English) and the botanically inclined Eclectic physicians of 19th century/early 20th century America (John Milton Scudder, Harvey Wickes Felter, John Uri Lloyd). Modern pharmaceuticals had their origins in crude herbal medicines, and to this day, some drugs are still extracted as fractionate/isolate compounds from raw herbs and then purified to meet pharmaceutical standards.
There s a record dated 1226 for '12d for Roses for Baron's Chamber and in 1516 for flowers and rushes for chambers for henry the 9th
Certain herbs contain psychoactive properties that have been used for both religious and recreational purposes by humans since the early Holocene era, notably the leaves and extracts of the cannabis and coca plants. The leaves of the coca plant have been chewed by people in northern Peruvian societies for over 8,000 years,while the use of cannabis as a psychoactive substance dates back to the first century CE in China and northern Africa.
The indigenous peoples of Australia developed herbal medicine based on plants that were readily available to them. The isolation of the indigenous people meant the remedies developed were for far less serious diseases, this was from not contracting western illnesses. Herbs such as river mint, wattle and eucalyptus were used for coughs, diarrhea, fever and headaches.
Herbs are used in many religions. During the monastic era, monks would cultivate herbs alongside vegetables, while others would be set aside in a physic garden for specific purposes.For example, myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) and frankincense (Boswellia species) in Hellenistic religion, the nine herbs charm in Anglo-Saxon paganism, neem (Azadirachta indica) leaves, bael (Aegele marmelos) leaves, holy basil or tulsi ( Ocimum tenuiflorum ), turmeric or "haldi" (Curcuma longa), cannabis in Hinduism, and white sage in Wicca. Rastafari also consider cannabis to be a holy plant.
Siberian shamans also used herbs for spiritual purposes. Plants may be used to induce spiritual experiences for rites of passage, such as vision quests in some Native American cultures. The Cherokee Native Americans use both white sage and cedar for spiritual cleansing and smudging.
Originally there was always doubt in ancient societies, especially in the sceptical medium of western traditions, as to the efficacity of herbal medicines. The use of herbal cosmetics dates back to around six centuries ago in the European and Western countries. Mixtures and pastes were often concocted to whiten the face. During the 1940s, herbal cosmetics took a turn with the emerging red lipstick color, with every year gaining a more intense red. Herbal cosmetics come in many forms, such as face creams, scrubs, lipstick, natural fragrances, powders, body oils, deodorants and sunscreens. They activate through the epithelium of sebaceous glands to make the skin more supple. Ayurvedic oils are widely used in India, prized for their natural health-giving properties.
One method and perhaps the best, used to extract natural oils from herbs to make lipstick is partition chromatography. The process involves separation in watery solution, and then the injection of colour under pressure.
Strewing herbs are scattered (strewn) over the floors of dwelling places and other buildings. Such plants usually have fragrant or astringent smells, and many also serve as insecticides (e.g. to repel fleas) or disinfectants. For example, meadowsweet was sometimes strewn across floors in the middle ages because of its sweet smell.
Herbal teas—less commonly called tisanes —are beverages made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water. Perhaps some of the most known tisanes are actual, true teas, which are prepared from the cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Besides coffee and true teas, most other tisanes do not contain caffeine.
Fennel is a flowering plant species in the carrot family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.
Bearberries are three species of dwarf shrubs in the genus Arctostaphylos. Unlike the other species of Arctostaphylos, they are adapted to Arctic and Subarctic climates, and have a circumpolar distribution in northern North America, Asia and Europe, one with a small highly disjunctive population in Central America.
Salvia officinalis is a perennial, evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae and native to the Mediterranean region, though it has naturalized in many places throughout the world. It has a long history of medicinal and culinary use, and in modern times as an ornamental garden plant. The common name "sage" is also used for a number of related and unrelated species.
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives more than two years. Some sources cite perennial plants being plants that live more than three years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals and biennials. The term is also widely used to distinguish plants with little or no woody growth from trees and shrubs, which are also technically perennials.
Cannabis sativa is an annual herbaceous flowering plant indigenous to eastern Asia but now of cosmopolitan distribution due to widespread cultivation. It has been cultivated throughout recorded history, used as a source of industrial fiber, seed oil, food, recreation, religious and spiritual moods and medicine. Each part of the plant is harvested differently, depending on the purpose of its use. The species was first classified by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The word "sativa" means things that are cultivated.
Chelidonium majus, is a herbaceous perennial plant, one of two species in the genus Chelidonium. It is native to Europe and western Asia and introduced widely in North America. In Devon it is also known as St John's wort.
Peumus boldus, the only species in the genus Peumus, is commonly known as boldo. This tree of the family Monimiaceae is natively endemic to the central region of Chile, occurring from 33° to 40° southern latitude. Boldo has also been introduced to Europe and North Africa, though it is not often seen outside botanical gardens.
Rhamnus purshiana is a species of buckthorn native to western North America from southern British Columbia south to central California, and eastward to northwestern Montana.
Decoction is a method of extraction by boiling herbal or plant material to dissolve the chemicals of the material, which may include stems, roots, bark and rhizomes. Decoction involves first mashing the plant material to allow for maximum dissolution, and then boiling in water to extract oils, volatile organic compounds and other various chemical substances. Decoction can be used to make tisanes, tinctures and similar solutions. Decoctions and infusions may produce liquids with differing chemical properties as the temperature and/or preparation difference may result in more oil-soluble chemicals in decoctions versus infusions. The process can also be applied to meats and vegetables to prepare bouillon or stock, though the term is typically only used to describe boiled plant extracts, usually for medicinal or scientific purposes.
Ajuga chamaepitys is a species of flowering plant of the family Lamiaceae. Popularly known as yellow bugle or ground-pine, the plant has many of the same characteristics and properties as Ajuga reptans. A. chamaepitys can be found in Europe, the Eastern part of the Mediterranean, and North Africa.
Galium aparine with many common names including cleavers, clivers, bedstraw, goosegrass, catchweed, stickyweed, sticky bob, stickybud, stickyback, robin-run-the-hedge, sticky willy, sticky willow, stickyjack, stickeljack, grip grass, bobby buttons, and velcro plant, is a herbaceous annual plant of the family Rubiaceae.
Zanthoxylum americanum, the common prickly-ash, common pricklyash, common prickly ash or northern prickly-ash, is an aromatic shrub or small tree native to central and eastern portions of the United States and Canada. It is the northernmost New World species in the citrus family, Rutaceae, and is the type species in its genus, which includes sichuan pepper. It can grow to 10 meters (33 ft) tall with a diameter at breast height (DBH) of 15 cm (5.9 in). It produces membranous leaflets and axillary flower clusters. The wood is not commercially valuable, but oil extracts from the bark have been used in traditional and alternative medicine, and have been studied for antifungal and cytotoxic properties. The genus name is sometimes spelled Xanthoxylum.
Bryonia dioica, known by the common names red bryony and white bryony, also English mandrake or ladies' seal, is a perennial climbing vine indigenous to Central and Southern Europe. It is a flowering plant in the cucumber family Cucurbitaceae with five-pointed leaves and blue or white flowers. The vine produces a red berry fruit.
Dominican tea culture combines many customs adapted from various colonial and immigrant cultures that have mingled in Dominica. "Bush teas", made from local herbal plants and often taken for medicinal purposes, are a traditional part of Dominica's culture.
Frasera caroliniensis, commonly known as American columbo or yellow gentian, is a herbaceous perennial of the gentian family Gentianaceae found in the deciduous forest of Southern Ontario and throughout the eastern and southeastern United States. It was previously known as Swertia caroliniensis.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to herbs and spices:
This is a list of plants used by the indigenous people of North America. For lists pertaining specifically to the Cherokee, Navajo, and Zuni, see Cherokee ethnobotany, Navajo ethnobotany, and Zuni ethnobotany.