Herbs and spices are plant parts (herbs from leaves and spices from other parts) that are conventionally used in their fresh or dried state for flavouring, natural condiments, preservatives and for medicinal purposes. Worldwide, most spices are classified on the basis of taste, season of growth, economic importance, growth habit and plant part used. Black pepper, chilies, small cardamom, ginger and turmeric are some of the widely used spices while common herbs include thyme, basil and bay leaves. These herbs are basically classified according to usage, active constituents and period of life. Secondary metabolites such as Eugenol, thymol, limonene, cuminaldehyde, curcumin, piperine, quercetin, luteolin in these plant parts have been found to be responsible for anticancer, antimicrobial, antiviral, antidiabetic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hypocholesterolemic effects. Their application in water fortification, milk and cheese processing, production of beauty products and pesticides among others could not be underestimated. Finally, adulteration, toxicity and allergic reactions are some of the identified limitations and challenges often encountered in the use of herbs and spices.
Part of the book: Herbs and Spices