Herbs are plants used for culinary, medicinal, or religious purposes. Some herbs are used to provide relief of symptoms such as pain, fever, or cold. Other herbs are used for cosmetic purposes or as natural dyes. The word ‘herb’ is derived from the Old French word ‘erbe’, meaning grasses and vegetables which were grown in kitchen gardens. In this article we are going to go through the most common examples of herbs.
15 Examples of herbs
Mint is used in cooking or can be used to freshen breath. Mint has a lemony minty taste and smell. Mint can be taken in tea, powder form, or on food. A tea made from mint is good for the stomach and helps with indigestion. The anti-oxidant properties of mint are mostly associated with the oil that contains the antioxidants thymol and carvacrol. Mint has been known to be medicinal in the past for migraine headaches and hot flashes.
Basil is a tender annual herb with a refreshing flavour. It is native to tropical Asia but now can be found around the globe. Basil leaves are used fresh and can have purple or white flowers with small black seeds inside. The leaves are soft, broadly ovate, and typically about 1-2 centimetres long. Basil is used to make pesto which is a sauce that goes well with pasta. Basil can also be used in sweet dishes, such as lemonade and tea blends.
Marjoram is a sweet herb that looks like oregano but has a milder flavour. This herb grows around Europe, mostly along the Mediterranean coast. Marjoram leaves are used fresh and has small white and purple flowers in winter. This herb is used to make a type of seasoning called marjoram, but it is also used to flavour meats and soups.
Rosemary is a tender perennial herb with a grassy aroma. The leaves have a strong aromatic flavour which is used mainly in Italian dishes and in marinades. Rosemary has a beautiful smell and taste, and therefore it has been used as an ornamental plant for centuries keeping its scent around the home until new plants can be purchased.
bay is a herb used to make jellies and jams. The name bay comes from the French word ‘baie’, meaning “bay”, which comes from the reference to the shape of the leaves. The leaves are slender, light green and lanceolate in shape with a small point at the tip, and occur in whorls of 6-12.
Sage is an aromatic herb that grows in clusters at the base of other plants. By far one of the most popular culinary herbs, sage has a strong flavour with a slightly bitter taste. Sage leaves are dark green in color and are also used fresh or dried as an ingredient in stuffing for poultry, pork and sausage-type meats.
Dill is a fragrant herb that belongs to the carrot family. Dill has feathery leaves and yellow flowers that look like a small version of fennel.
Dill leaves are used for sauces and can be used fresh, dried or in vinegar form. Dill has a somewhat pungent flavour that can be tamed by the addition of lemon juice. Dill can also be used to make dill pickles, among many other dishes.
Parsley is a tender perennial herb that grows wild in various parts of Europe and Asia, as well as North America. The leaves are extremely similar to those of other members of the same family. Parsley leaves can be used fresh, dried, in a vinegar-based sauce or pesto, and in a tea called “flat-leaf parsley tea”. Parsley is also used in soups, salads and sauces.
Orageno is an aromatic herb that originates from South America. Orageno is used to create a seasoning for soups, sauces, and stews. The flavor of this herb is very similar to that of cumin or black pepper but with an earthy or woody taste.
Thyme is a perennial herb that grows in small clusters of grey-green leaves. It resembles oregano in taste and appearance. Thyme has a distinct flavor that is slightly bitter yet pleasantly aromatic, and this seasoning herb is most popularly used in French cuisine.
Tarragon is an aromatic herb that grows in small clusters of dark-green leaves. It is usually used in salads, soups, sauces, and to season meats and fish. The taste of tarragon is slightly bitter with a tangy scent, yet fragrant.
Chives are part of the onion and garlic family. Chives are extremely similar to green onion, but the two can be differentiated by their leaves. Chives have broad, bright-green leaves that look like small blades of grass, and they are slender in shape with a point at the tip. The leaves of chives can be used fresh or dried to add flavour to sauces and soups.
13. Hardy Banana:
Hardy Banana is a herb that comes from South Africa, and is native to the Eastern Cape region. The leaves of this herb are used fresh to make salads or cooked with other herbs in soups. This herb has a slightly sweet taste and aroma.
Cilantro is a common culinary herb that is native to Mexico and Central America. The leaves of Cilantro are used fresh in Mexican, Chinese, and Indian recipes. The leaves can also be dried for later use. Cilantro has a strong smell that is somewhat comparable to that of anise, but it has a sweeter taste and aroma.
15. Dried leaf basil:
Dried leaf basil, also called “Italian” or sweet basil is a common culinary herb from the mint family. The dried leaves are used in soups, sauces, stews, and salad dressings. Dried leaf basil has a sweet smell and taste unlike the minty flavour of fresh leaves.
Conclusion on Common Herb Examples
There are many herbs and spices that are grown around the world and used to create enticing recipes. Some of these herbs are found in almost every region of the world. Other herbs may only be available in specific areas or climates.
Amelia is a plant and nature lover! Ever since she was little, she loved spending time in her family’s garden and learning about how to care for each plant individually. As an adult, she has dedicated herself to sharing what she has learned and continuing to expand her knowledge on the plant kingdom.