Here's the Difference Between Herbs and Spices

1 comment by Halley -Author at MIGardener

Written by - Kaitlynn from MIgardener 

Maybe you've never stopped to consider the difference. We tend not to question fairly obvious things in life to begin with. However, now that I've brought it up; do you actually know what makes an herb an herb or what makes a spice a spice?

The answer is simple: Herbs and spices are made up of the dried elements of a plant. The difference between them depends completely on which part of the plant is used. Herbs only ever come from the green and leafy part of the plant, and spices are made up of any other non leafy part!


Here are some examples:
Herbs Spices
Summer Savory Cinnamon - bark of the cinnamon tree
Fenugreek Ginger - root
Tarragon Cloves - flower bud
Thyme Saffron - stigmas of a flower
Basil Nutmeg - seed
Oregano Vanilla - undeveloped fruit of the vanilla orchid
Parsley Cumin - seed
Rosemary Cardamom - seed
Sage Tumeric - root
Lemon Balm Paprika - dried and crushed peppers
Marjoram Anise - seed
Lemon grass Lavender - dried flower
Hyssop Pepper corn - dried fruit

Sometimes one plant can yield both spices and herbs depending on what which part you use. For example, cilantro comes from the leaf of the cilantro plant, whereas the seed is responsible for the spice coriander.

Spices and herbs


Here are some plants that can be used as both an herb and a spice:
Caraway dried fruit = caraway / leaves = fennel
Cilantro seed = coriander / leaves = cilantro
Dill seed = dill seed/ leaves = dill weed
Celery seed = celery seed / celery leaves

There are so many things to learn when it comes to the food we eat! Even though this is a small detail of the bigger picture, its always good to grow in our understanding of these fun facts. Small, but by no means insignificant things like this can grow our joy for the everyday stuff of life.

What are some of your go-to herbal remedies? Is there a spice you could never live without? Let us know in the comments.

1 comment

  • Jeannine Timp

    I did not know that Caraway was fennel seed!

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