Herbs are seed producing plants
that can be either annual, biennial or perennial. They have a
variety of uses including flavor and taste for cooking, scent as in
aromatherapy and for medicinal purposes.
General usage differs between culinary herbs and medicinal herbs. In
medicinal usage any part of the plant might be considered "herbs",
which can include the leaves, roots, flowers, seeds, resin, root
bark, inner bark, berries and other portions of the plant. Culinary
use of the term "herb" typically distinguishes between herbs, from
the leafy green parts of a plant, and spices, from other parts of
the plant, including seeds, berries, bark, root, fruit, and even
occasionally dried leaves or roots. Culinary herbs are distinguished
from vegetables in that, like spices, they are used in small amounts
and provide flavor rather than substance to food.
Some culinary herbs are shrubs such as rosemary, or trees such as
bay laurel – this contrasts with botanical herbs, which cannot be
woody plants. Some plants are used as both a spice and a herb like
dill where the seeds are used in spices and dill weed is the herb.
Coriander seeds are the spice and coriander leaves are called the
Medicinal benefits of herbs are quoted throughout history, from the
Bible, Koran, Vedas and other old texts. The plants contain
phytochemicals that have effects on the body. Herbs have long been
used as the basis of traditional Chinese herbal medicine, with usage
dating as far back as the first century. Some herbs need to be used
with caution and can be toxic in larger quantities. For instance,
some types of herbal extract, such as the extract of St. John's-Wort
or of kava can be used for medical purposes to relieve depression
and stress. However, large amounts of these herbs may lead to
Herbs are also known to be useful for gardeners in pest control.
Mint, Spearmint, Peppermint, and Pennyroyal are herbs that are
helpful in this area. These herbs can planted around a house's
foundation and help keep unwanted pests away like flies, mice, ants,
fleas, moth and ticks and some others. The herbs are not known to be
harmful or dangerous to children or pets.