Talk:List of culinary herbs and spices

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Please be aware, that this is not merely a list of herbs and spices, but of CULINARY herbs and spices. [ i.e. "safe to eat" ] I noticed, that Mandrake was listed. Perhaps, somewhere, it is indeed used in food, but by and large, this is considered a highly toxic plant and not for normal consumption.

I have removed the Mandrake listing and tagged the article, requesting the assistance of an expert; Hopefully to give a good once-over on the listings.

Administrators may wish to be on guard for people potentially trying to add poisonous plants to these and other similar listings. A disclaimer in the introduction and/or at potentially lethal plants may be needed as well. (talk) 19:14, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

I noticed that someone put in a plant item - without its botanical name - and when i looked it up the listing said all parts of the plant were toxic. Ouch. Naturally, i have removed it. Ellenois (talk) 06:57, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Delineate herbs and spices[edit]

I think it would be helpful to define what the differences are, if any, between "herbs" and "spices", and indicate in the list which is which. - 02:36, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Seems like that would turn this page into two very long lists. If separate lists are needed (why?), each should probably have its own page. Alternately, turn this list into a giant wikitable that could be sorted by name or type (herb/spice)? CaliJim (talk) 22:45, 20 July 2017 (UTC)


Surely the list of herbs at the beginning should either be removed, or expanded to include all the herbs appearing later in the article?

I tend to agree that teh first list shoulb be expanded and other lists removed, though there might be a case for listing twice according to common and botanical names quercus robur 11:09 Feb 1, 2003 (UTC)


Attention spice/herb lovers, I have created a template for all herb/spice pages here: Wikipedia:WikiProject Herbs and Spices. Please contribute if you are interested. The first stage is to brainstorm the content and headings of each article etc... Then the next step will be create a template using a known spice, like cloves, or cumin on a subpage. Then eventually convert all the pages to the new template format. Could take a few years. But eventually might be the ultimate source for reliable information about spices and herbs. dave 21:51, 6 Oct 2003 (UTC)


It seems to me that this is really two articles and should be split into a "List of culinary herbs" and a "List of medicinal plants". There would be some overlap, but the current limits of the list are too nebulous in my opinion. Comments? WormRunner 06:50, 23 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Definitely. I'm creating List of Herbs And Their Purported Uses. Family Guy Guy 17:45, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Medicinal use[edit]

I don't think herbs and spices go well together theres so many spices that isn't herbs. and so many herbs that are used medicinally. Better to have three lists with links between "List of herbs", "List of spices" and "List of medicinal herbs". And maybe also a "List of culinary herbs" Spices is such a broad field with both non herb spices and a lot of different mixtures that the list will become unorganized with the herb list there also. Also most of the food herbs can be used medicinally even if they arn't always so "strong".

As I and my wife grow and sell herb plants I will probably contribute a lot to the herb list over time. I just found out about the wikipedia so I haven't had time to do mush yet. I did add some info to the lemon grass and mint. Sbyholm 13:30, Jan 22, 2004 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly. The word 'herb' in it's broad sense is too inclusive to be addressed in this list, and should be addressed in the 'Herb' entry. When building this list, we must concern ourselves with narrow enough definitions to make the list functionable and useful. This is really a list of three types of items. 1) Medicinal herbs, as a topic entirely other than 2) Culinary Herbs and 3) Culinary Spices. The difference between spices and herbs is not an arbitrary one. Herbs, culinarily speaking, are the leaves of plants, and can be used fresh (though they are often dried). Spices are the twigs, stems, fruit of plants, and are ALWAYS used dried. This is an important distinction both culinarily and botanically.

It is clear that this list should be divided into appropriate thirds, though they should link to each other as reference points. This list needs to be consistent with the entries made for both herbs and spices. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:02, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

People keep adding purely medicinal herbs to this list. And i keep removing them. I've reorganized the opening sentences with more stress that this list is NOT for medicinal herbs. I'm sure it's hopeless, but i'll keep trying to maintain it. Ellenois (talk) 06:55, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Split 2[edit]

I was browsing the new List of herbs and spices and though: why can't the list of spices be on the [spice] page and the list of herbs on the [herb] page, it would make the structure more logical i think. Comments?? Sbyholm 13:46, Jan 22, 2004 (UTC)

I agree with your idea. But my idea was to have herbs and spices on the same page. For example, cinnamon, basil, pepper, oregano are all very similar, they are all used to flavour food seems like they should be listed together somewhere? How about no separate herb and spice page, but one page about spices AND herbs, and we can put the list there? Herb and spice could redirect there. I think this makes sense for now, since both articles are small. If they get big, they could be split off later. Any other ideas? dave 17:37, 22 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I agree that "herbs and spices" naturally belong together. The division is unnatural and largely a result of historical trading patterns. However, also I think that while there is a great deal of overlap, a medicinal plant list is better kept separate from the culinary plant list. WormRunner 17:55, 22 Jan 2004 (UTC)

The division is not at all unnatural, especially given culinarily usage, which is 2/3 of the purpose of this article. It is true that cinnamon, basil, pepper, and oregano are all similar. However it is also true that basil and oregano are more similar, as are cinnamon and black pepper. Former as herbs and latter as spices. There is a connection, but however the issue is resolved, we must remember that this article is supposed to make things more clear in our minds. Neglecting distinctions that form the basis of our language will not help our clarity.


I'm adding some more herbs and spices. I'm at K right now. I'll finish the rest later.

Some comments[edit]

Some comments:

  • Salt is not a spice, no more so than sugar. Salt is salt and really cannot be further categorized in a culinary sense.
  • Bay leaves are an herb, not a spice.
  • I would consider Rocket a salad green, not an herb.
  • Vanilla is a flavoring, not a spice, IMO; it is usually used as an extract, and with the intent of imparting a dominant flavor rather than a supportive one, making it similar to lemon rind, orange extract, almonds, coconut.

Thought I'd point these out here. I'll change the article in a few days if no one objects. UninvitedCompany 16:39, 15 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I disagree about vanilla. If vanilla should go, so should cinnamon. Also, it is not generally used as an extract. You scrape the marrow out of the pod. - Burschik

Hmm, I hadn't noticed the comment by Uninvited Company until now. I disagree about all of these except Rocket, which could be excluded, though it wouldn't have to be. Just because bay leaf is a leaf, does not make it an herb. It's part of a tree and is generally considered a spice. Vanilla is just as much a spice as cinnamon, and for that matter lemon rind qualifies in my opinion. WormRunner | Talk 16:27, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Well, the definition of herb offered by Wikipedia seems to be "the green, leafy part of the plant", which would make bay leaves a herb and not a spice. Maybe we need a good definition of terms first. - Burschik

I agree. Salt and sugar do not belong at all. Bay leaves are indeed an herb (leaf) as opposed to a spice (stems, twigs, fruit). Rocket is a green, as per the wiki-definition of herb being a plant used for flavoring rather than substance. However, vanilla is indeed a spice, being the dried fruit of a plant. Just because it is sometimes used as a 'flavoring' does not change what it indeed is in itself. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:11, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

add latin names[edit] does a much better job of remembering to add latin names!

Maybe even have a table sorted by latin names.

Not everybody lives where you do.

Some references in the "See Also" section are not displayed. They list references to names of herbs and spices in other languages. They are revealed only when editing the "See Also" section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kk sze (talkcontribs) 20:27, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Back in February i added Latin names for everything. New items have been added, not always with Latin names. I check back every couple months to add Latin names, and remove purely medicinal plants.
I think listing ONLY by Latin names will make things difficult to find. The idea, it seems to me - as this is the wikipedia in English - is to list the herbs and spices by their common English names.
In some cases there isn't an English name. In those cases, i have been adding the country or culture in which they are most commonly used. Because English-speaking countries such as America, Australia, Canada, England, etc. often have significant populations from other places, i think keeping them here may be informative.
Ellenois (talk) 07:06, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

List of culinary herbs and spices[edit]

I have changed this page to List of culinary herbs and spices. As it stood it didn't make sense. Herbs are a type of plant, so the list could have included medicinal herbs, or herbs that aren't used for anything. If there is a list that includes all herbs, it should not contain spices, as spices are purely culinary.JohnnyMrNinja 17:13, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Herbs de Provence?[edit]

In the header it says that curry powder does not count as a culinary herb or spice, since it is a mixture. Down in the list "Herbs de Provence", which is a mixture, is listed. Not wikipedia clued enough to know what to do about that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:22, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes, 'Herbes de Provence' should have its own wiki-entry, but it does not belong on this list, as per the defining rules of the list, ie curry powder. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:05, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

There are a lot of mixed spices on the list. Garam Masala, Tandoori Masala, etc. I personally don't have a problem with those being on the list since it is a culinary list. As a user, I'd prefer mixtures on the list rather than all the medicinal herbs listed which are not used to specifically flavor the food. I think they should be purged, preferably with some kind of tea infusion.

Five Spice is a mix, Curry Powder was rejected on that basis[edit]

If curry Powder is to be excluded from this list because it is a mixture of spices, surely Chinese Five Spice should also.

Sichuan (Szechuan?) pepper listed three times[edit]

Is there an agreed-upon spelling for this region of China that can be applied to the name of the spice? --CorbettGM (talk) 17:07, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

I removed the two redundant listings and kept the one in proper alphabetic position. I kept the spelling 'Sichuan' because that appears to be the Wikipedia preferred spelling for the name of the province in question. Not gonna touch the whole Sichuan-Szechwan-Szechuan debate over there. --CorbettGM (talk) 15:39, 22 March 2008 (UTC)


Why is banana included here? If we're including any plant that is used to add colour or flavouring, surely tomato, lemon, and many other plants not normally regarded as herbs could also be used here? I would propose to delete banana. --rossb (talk) 08:52, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree. It's gone. « D. Trebbien (talk) 02:26, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Listings Under Foreign/Botanical Names[edit]

I've noticed certain seasonings have been listed under non-English names when there is an English name for the seasoning - ex. Javitri (mace). This seems to me to be inappropriate on this page and should be removed, in my opinion.

On the other hand, there are herbs and spices that have no name in English, but are used in English-speaking countries when we cook various cuisines. In these cases, is there an established standard? Do we use the most common foreign name or do we list by botanical name? For example, there is both Culantro (Eryngium foetidum) under "C" and (Eryngium foetidum) Culantro under "E". -- Ellenois (talk) 05:00, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Dried Fruits Used as Flavorings[edit]

There are some items in this list - such as Amchar - which are dried fruits. My opinion is that they don't belong here, but i hesitate to remove them. They are flavorings... Any other opinions? Ellenois (talk) 06:59, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, no one said anything, so i removed Amchar - i think dried fruit pulp does not qualify as an herb or spice, or we'd have to include raisins, prunes, and dried apricots here. Ellenois (talk) 05:26, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Amchoor may be a powdered fruit, but it's used as a spice: it is used in small amounts for flavouring, like many other fruits which are used as spices (coriander, cumin, nutmeg, cardamom, etc). If we can't have fruits we'll have to get rid of a lot of spices... Richard New Forest (talk) 22:35, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

I've removed Tamarind. Sure it adds flavor, but so do apricots, apples, lemons, etc.
As for fruits vs. spices, yes, spices are often the "fruit" of a plant.
But a fruit it often used as such. Amchar is dried mango, and mangoes are eaten out of hand. Tamarind is a fruit - it's sour, but so is a lemon - and it can be used as a fruit in beverages and candies.
On the other hand, a spice is not the juicy part - it is most often the seed inside. Take Nutmeg, for example - outside is a yellow-orange fruit which can be made into jam/preserves and candied fruit. Peel off the fruit, and there is the mace, a glorious shade of red before drying, wrapped around a hard shell. One must crack the shell to get to the nutmeg. So, yeah, from a fruit, but not the fruit pulp.
Amchar is dried fruit pulp. And Tamarind is somewhat dried fruit pulp.
I think they differ significantly from spices in consistency, use, and origins.
If you want to keep Amchar here, why not add in Orange, since dried orange peels are used as a flavoring?
There has to be a line drawn somewhere, or we could be adding every bit of every plant that adds flavor to a dish of food.
Ellenois (talk) 23:51, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Onions, Garlic, and other Allia[edit]

Someone recently added Onion Powder and Twin leaf Onion to the list. I have deleted them. Onions, garlic, and other members of the Allium family do add flavor, but i think they do not belong in a list of herbs and spices, since they are primarily vegetables and often used as such in cooking. Any other opinion? Ellenois (talk) 00:42, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I wouldn't be in favor of excluding all members of the allium family from the list. The culinary uses of chives (Allium schoenoprasum) and jimbu (Allium hypsistum) certainly seem to qualify those species as herbs. Chukhung (talk) 01:11, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Multiple Entries for the Same Species[edit]

In a few cases, the same species of plant produces more than one herb or spice. Is there any guidance on how to handle these situations? When should there be multiple entries for the same species?

I note that there is only one entry for fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) even though fenugreek leaves (an herb) and fenugreek seeds (a spice) have quite different culinary uses. On the other hand, Coriandrum sativum shows up in two separate entries as both cilantro (the herb) and coriander (the spice). Similarly, the two different parts of Myristica fragrans are listed under nutmeg and mace.

There is only a single entry for Piper nigrum ("Pepper: black, white and green"). Presumably this is because the different varieties of pepper are simply the result of different processing of the same seeds. But Camellia sinensis shows up in separate entries for "green tea" and "tea" even though the only real difference between green tea and other teas is how the leaves are processed after picking. --Chukhung (talk) 01:21, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Good question... I don't think there's any problem with having more than one entry for the same species: anyone looking at the article will soon find out what other spices or herbs the species produces. However, it would be good to have some cross-referencing in this article too – for example something like: "Cilantro, Coriandrum sativum (also see coriander seed)" Richard New Forest (talk) 19:02, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
In the case of foenugreek leaves, they are used as a leafy green, not as an herb. The seed, on the other hand, is commonly used as a spice. So foenugreek leaves don't belong in this list, while foenugreek seeds do. On the other hand, cilantro and coriander seeds are two different parts of the same plant (in different stages of its life) used in very different ways. Many people i know don't even realize that they're from the same plant. But since i've been including all the botanical names it shouldn't be too hard to discover on the page for Coriandrum sativum that they're from the same plant.
Someone else may disagree, but i think cross referencing will defeat the purpose of this as a handy list and not a complete and detailed article. It will become harder to scan through - heck, my adding the cuisines of origin of herbs and spices without English names already makes the list more cumbersome.
Ellenois (talk) 00:00, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Oh, yeah, and i try to keep most items listed only once - other than those that produce an herb and a spice - but there are one or two that are in the list twice. I should clean that up.
Ellenois (talk) 00:01, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Surely we can't disqualify things from being spices just because they're used for other things at other times. Mustard doesn't stop being a spice just because you can deep-fry with the oil, use it as a medicinal poultice, cook the leaves, or use the plant as green manure. If something is used as a spice, I think it should go in this list. Yes, perhaps citrus rind ought to be in there too.
Incidentally, the page is "herbs and spices", not just spices, so don't fenugreek leaves belong here too? Richard New Forest (talk) 23:06, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, I certainly use dried fenugreek leaves as a culinary herb (as per the Wikipedia definition: "Culinary herbs are distinguished from vegetables in that, like spices, they are used in small amounts and provide flavor rather than substance to food.") And I don't think I'm the only person to do so either. If you Google "kasturi methi" or just "methi" you'll find a number of interesting Indian recipes that use small amounts of dried fenugreek leaves for flavoring (try "aloo methi" if you ever get the chance--it's delicious). I also note that fresh fenugreek leaves are used as an herb in some Persian dishes, notably Qormeh sabzi.
I agree with Richard New Forest below above. If something is legitimately used as a culinary herb or spice, I think it belongs on this list (and, to get back to the original question, maybe more than once--as an herb and a spice). I would include everything that meets the Wikipedia definition (from the spice page):

A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, leaf, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for the purpose of flavour, colour, or as a preservative....[S]pices are distinguished from herbs, which are leafy, green plant parts used for flavouring purposes.

I see no problem with having a substance on this list that is also commonly (or even predominantly) used in ways that don't meet the above definition as long as some some cuisine in the world truly uses that substance as a culinary herb or spice. Chukhung (talk) 02:45, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Alphabetic order[edit]

OK, i've got another question: should items such as: Indian Bay-leaf, Malabathrum, Tejpat (Cinnamomum tamala, C. tejpata); Indonesian Bay-Leaf, Daun salam (Eugenia polyantha, Syzygium polyanthum); and Indonesian Cinnamon (Cinnamomum burmannii, Cassia vera) continue to be listed under the rubric "I"? Or should they be listed as Bay-leaf, Indian Bay-leaf, Indonesian and Cinnamon, Indonesian ?? Ellenois (talk) 00:16, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Nuts and Seeds That Aren't Spices... Or Are They?[edit]

For reasons that may be purely idiosyncratic, i do NOT consider poppy seeds and sesame seeds as spices. While either or both may be sprinkled on top of breadstuffs, both are also ground into pastes, poppy seeds to be used in European pastries and sesame seeds to be used in Southwest and East Asian cuisine in ways much like peanuts (which aren't really nuts, i know) or almonds (which really ARE nuts).

So, i think that poppy seeds and sesame seeds do NOT belong on this list.

But i will await comments for a couple months before removing them... Ellenois (talk) 00:06, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

A spice is something used for flavour: those seeds are being used for that in that context. I don't think it matters whether they're used in another way at another time. Same argument as above, really. Richard New Forest (talk) 23:06, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for responding.
A spice is not merely something used to add flavor. Wine is used for flavor, but that doesn't qualify it as a spice. Parts of all sorts of fruits are used for flavor, but that doesn't qualify any as a spice. Cheeses are often used for flavor, but that doesn't qualify any as a spice. Giving or adding flavor alone is not the definition of a spice, since just about every ingredient in a recipe adds flavor.
Definitions of spices point out that they are *pungent* and *aromatic* and only a small quantity is needed. Additionally, spices are roots, barks, seeds (or seed-like fruits), whereas culinary herbs are aromatic leaves. A carrot is a root - this alone does not make it a spice.
So while poppy and sesame seeds are seeds, being a seed and having flavor aren't quite enough, in my opinion, to qualify them as spices. Rather, they are generally used like nuts, as in the uses i mentioned above. Chopped or ground nuts are sprinkled on the tops of pastries and added to breads the same way that poppy and sesame seeds are sprinkled on the tops of and added to the doughs of breadstuffs. In all their uses poppy and sesame seeds are used much like other nuts - for both flavor, texture, and crunch.
As i mentioned, poppy and sesame seeds are ground into pastes and used the way nuts are. In my study of various cuisines both historical and modern, i have never heard of any actual spices ground into paste and used as a pastry filling, because their flavors are much too strong, whereas poppy and sesame seeds, while flavorful, are mild. Spices are often used to flavor poppy seed pastes in sweets, and spices are often used to flavor sesame seed paste used in sweet and savory dishes. But the poppy and sesame seeds themselves are not spices.
Ellenois (talk) 15:17, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
As I pointed out above, it's not relevant what else a spice might be used for in other contexts. However, your point about nuts may be worth more consideration. Chopped nuts can indeed be used in small amounts for flavour, and I agree that they don't seem as "spicy" as say chilli or turmeric. But spices do not have to be "pungent" – some are not strong: surely there such a thing as a mild spice? If sesame and poppy seed (and indeed nuts) are not spices, what are they? Exactly how does sesame differ from, say, toasted cumin or caraway? It hinges on what our definitions of "spice" and "herb" are - and we can't rely on our own idiosyncratic gut feelings. Do we have any reffed definitions or lists? Richard New Forest (talk) 19:12, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
I think the elements on this list should meet the Wikipedia definitions of culinary herbs and spices. If "pungency" is required for a substance to be considered a spice, then there should be a change in Wikipedia definition given on the spice page--which currently starts out with the following:
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, leaf, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for the purpose of flavour, colour, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth.
I see no reason why the Wikipedia List of Culinary Herbs and Spices should use different definitions than the Wikipedia main entries for Culinary Herb and Spice. Let's at least try to make Wikipedia internally consistent.
That being said, I think there's a good argument to be made that nuts are typically not used in "nutritionally insignificant quantities". If we're going to ban sesame seeds from the list, then that's the clause in the current definition of "spice" that I'd look to for support. Chukhung (talk) 22:31, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Most nuts are seeds, although a number of items used in cuisine as "nuts" do not meet the definition - see the Wikipedia article Nut_(fruit). Many spices are seeds. But not all seeds are nuts and not all seeds are spices. The definition in the Wikipedia article on spices may indeed be incomplete. Other dictionary definitions specify that spices are pungent, meaning strong in flavor. I have used turmeric both dried and fresh, and i don't see it as parallel to chilis, which Richard New Forest does. I'm currently looking for expanded references for a better or expanded definition for Spice.
In my preference to remove poppy seeds and sesame seeds from the list of spices, i am not relying on my gut, as Richard New Forest seems to imply. I have many years of studying and cooking European cuisines; of studying, cooking, and teaching non-European cuisines; and of researching, cooking, and teaching historic European and non-European cuisines. So my belief is based in study and experience.
As far as Exactly how does sesame differ from, say, toasted cumin or caraway?, as Richard asked, well, try filling a pastry with nothing but toasted whole or ground cumin or caraway. Their flavors are far too strong to be used in such large quantities. They are used in small quantities in recipes for a reason, because they are spices. Poppy seeds and sesame seeds, on the other hand, can be used in that way with very pleasant results.
Also, if we add sesame seeds and poppy seeds to the list of spices, then it seems to me we will need to add all edible seeds (such as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds which are also sprinkled on the top of bread stuffs) and nuts (such as chestnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans). And we should also add non-nut items used culinarily as nuts - (almonds (the edible seeds of drupe fruits), Brazil nuts (the seed from a capsule), cashews (seeds, not nuts), coconuts (dry, fibrous drupes), macadamia nuts (a creamy white kernels of Macadamia integrifolia), peanuts (seeds, not nuts), pine nuts (seeds of several species of coniferous pine trees), pistachios (the seeds of a thin-shelled drupe), walnuts (the edible seeds of drupe fruits), as defined in Nut_(fruit).
Ellenois (talk) 20:20, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
A gut feeling based on many years of experience is still OR... We do need published refs for any definition we use.
Yet again, it doesn't matter what else a spice is used for as well as being a spice: if it is used as a spice, the other use doesn't disqualify it. Conversely, when considering whether, say, sesame and cumin are comparable as spices, it is irrelevant whether you can fill pastry with them. And if we did include sesame and poppy seed, that would not automatically mean we had to include other seedy and nutty things which are not used as spices.
I think the misleading premise here is that each plant product has to fall into one class of things to the exclusion of all others – this is clearly not true, as shown by my mustard example above. Once you accept it not to be true, then surely it is only the use as a spice that needs to be considered.
I still think that it's possible to have mild spices, and if it is, then I think sesame and poppy fall into the def – though I'm happy to be convinced otherwise by a good ref or three. Incidentally, pungent does not in fact mean "strong in flavour", but "having a stinging odor". Many spices are not pungent at all, having non-stinging but distinctive flavours. Some can be either: raw garlic is pungent, cooked garlic is not. Some things are even pungent with very little actual scent: for example common restharrow (Ononis repens) doesn't really smell of anything much, but does sting the nose. Haven't tried eating it though... Richard New Forest (talk) 23:32, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, i have been reading definitions and descriptions of poppy seed and sesame seed in a number of English language dictionaries and i have not yet found one that defines/describes either of them as a spice. I am removing them from the list. Ellenois (talk) 02:36, 18 August 2010 (UTC)Ellenois
Additionally, in the Wikipedia articles on both poppy seeds and sesame seeds they are never described as spices. They are both described as "oil seeds" and as having a "nutty flavour", and both are described in some detail as primary ingredients in various sweets, as well as some uses in savory dishes - while they many enhance flavor, but they are never mentioned as being spice. I add this just so it is clear my decision to remove them from this list of culinary herbs and spices was not based purely on my over 45 years of personal experiences as chef and student of the world's cuisines and culinary history. Ellenois (talk) 19:17, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Mint Species[edit]

There are 25 species of mint, many used in food, some only in herb teas, some grown only as ornamental plants. Peppermint and spearmint, the two most common, are already listed. Someone has added apple mint. This opens the door to add all 25, which seems unnecessary to me. Anyone else think differently? Ellenois (talk) 18:40, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

  • I say if it's a separate species, include it. Are the mints the only case of this? --Nessie (talk) 05:56, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
    • Actually, peppermint, a very commonly used mint, is a hybrid, and there are 10 hybrid mints listed on the wikipedia Mint page, meaning up to at least 35 mints could potentially be listed. To the best of my knowledge, apple mint is not commonly used in cooking, and is more often an herb tea.
    • The other seasoning i can think of off the top of my head that has the same potential to be represented in the list in large number is capsicum, chili peppers. There are 5 separate species, and many different varieties within each species; for example, 25 within C. annum, and 7 within C. chinense.
    • I am not sure exactly how inclusive this list is intended to be. Ellenois (talk) 18:20, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Very incorrect entry - 'Colored People'?[edit]

There appears to be an entry under C for 'Colored People' which links to the article referencing people of African-American or similarly grouped heritages. This seems completely wrong and I assume someone's added it for 'fun'. I don't edit Wikipedia, so while I recommend it get removed/corrected, I don't feel I have the right to do it myself. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:44, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Thank you, yes that is vandalism: I have reverted it and warned the user. Please see further message on your talk page. Richard New Forest (talk) 16:11, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Paprika is not an herb[edit]

I just wanted to let you all know that paprika is not an herb. It is a powder made by grinding peppers, and a pepper is clearly a vegetable, not an herb. Using the umbrella term "herbs and spices" is kind of stupid as some spices don't come from an herb (like paprika) and many herbs are not spices. It's as though one considered that herbs and spices are pretty much the same thing, but that would be insulting to many cooks from many countries.

I have to agree with comments above that spices and herbs should definitely not be combined in the same list. It is just plain confusing. To be clear, spices are substances of plant origin that are added to food to flavor it, while herbs are actual plants used as is, not dried and not as an extract. For example, dried flaked parsley leaves are a spice while fresh parsley is an herb. Cilantro is an herb and definitely not a spice, while its seed, coriander, is definitely a spice.

But paprika definitely isn't an herb. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:03, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

  • dear "", paprika is indeed not an herb. It is a spice. It is a not eaten as a vegetable like some other peppers (although technically peppers are fruits), but only used as a seasoning, so it belongs on this list. Ellenois (talk) 15:17, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

Definitions of 'Herb' & 'Spice'[edit]

I've been reading over several years worth of discussion regarding which plants in this list do and don't constitute herbs or spices and whether or not the list should be split in two for the purposes for clarification.

My overriding conclusion from all that I've read is that there is a great deal of confusion as to the definitions of the terms 'herb' and 'spice' adopted for the purposes of this article. I suggest that these definitions be clarified in discussion here before being stated far more clearly at the top of the list page to minimise confusion for both readers and editors.

To that end, here are the definitions currently in use on the respective 'herb' and 'spice' Wikipedia pages:


"...any plants "with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume" or parts of "such a plant as used in cooking"."


"...a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth.[citation needed] It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours.[1] In the kitchen, spices are distinguished from herbs, which are leafy, green plant parts used for flavoring or as garnish."

It is clear to me that these definitions already overlap significantly so that splitting the pages would be impossible unless further clarification were provided. My personal opinion is that the two terms are inherently inseparable in this context and that they should not be split.

Furthermore, if these definitions are to be accepted in their broadest sense, I believe that many of the substances which have already been flagged up and/or removed by editors should actually be returned to the list. I speak as someone with a background in horticulture & ethnobotany with a focus on traditional herbal medicine systems, but much less so in cuisine. I'm very curious to hear the opinions of others. - Bittercress (talk) 18:30, 12 March 2012 (UTC)


I noticed an oddity under this letter: "Cilantro#Leaves..." I am not sure what purpose is intended by the '#', but it seems to have had the effect of deleting the word 'leaves' in the finished article. Is it an error perhaps? Dawright12 (talk) 08:15, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Using "Cilantro#Leaves|Cilantro" links directly to the section "leaves" in the cilantro article, while showing only the word "cilantro" in the article. It was presumably done to differentiate between the leaves and the seeds (see "coriander seed" a bit further down). - Takeaway (talk) 12:14, 4 June 2012 (UTC)