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WikiProject Food and drink / Herbs and Spices (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
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Is salt really considered a spice? If not, the reference to it could be deleted from this article. -- Heron

It's certainly a flavoring, and is used in the same manner as (other?) spices. I can buy it in the spice section in my grocery store, and keep it in my spice rack (or rather in the spice shelf in my cabinet, I haven't yet "made it" enough to have anything so luxurious as a whole rack just for spices). Just because it's mineral instead of vegetable, we oughtn't to discriminate against it. --Brion VIBBER
Useless fact: Salt is the only spice that gives no's a spice.-- (talk) 07:43, 1 October 2010 (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 21:47, 6 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Herbs are defined as the "leafy, green plant parts" which "may be used fresh." Then, under the classification of spices are listed "leaves and/or branches." Basil is given as both an herb and a spice. If the difference is that herbs are used fresh and spices dried, then a better distinction is needed. I can't accept that fresh basil from my garden is an herb but that a jar of McCormick's dried basil is a spice. 10:58, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

The problem is that it's nonsense to say that spices are used dried, not fresh. Fresh spices are far superior to dried ones in flavor, for most purposes, and fresh spices are very frequently used, especially in countries where they grow. We have to do better than this in defining the difference between spices and herbs. Michael 10:58, 9 April 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Improvement drive[edit]

Spice trade has been nominated to be improved by Wikipedia:This week's improvement drive. Come and support the article with your vote!--Fenice 06:08, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Differences between spices and condiments?[edit]

Can someone kindly list the differences, if any, between spices and condiments?

You might add the same text to the article on condiments.

Thank you.

A condiment is something you as the diner add to your food at the table. It could be pickles, spices, or even some sort of sauce. Spices can be condiments, but that doesn't mean all condiments are spices. --Sophistifunk 23:54, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

According to Cyrus Todiwala, an Indian chef on BBC Radio 4 recently, that isn't correct. ( - programme will only be there for 7 days though)

He stated that in Indian cooking spices are those things that the oils are extracted from, or that are used to give flavour to oil. For example, peppercorns, cloves, garlic. Things like paprika, turmeric, are termed condiments.

The guy's an expert chef so I'm personally confident that he knows what he's talking about. I've not been able to find a text reference for this though, so won't alter the article of course. Ride the Hurricane (talk) 17:28, 11 August 2009 (UTC)


I think this article should mention something about the fact that spicy foods cause acne. ― LADY GALAXY ★彡 Refill/lol 04:14, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

We definitely need a reliable source first.
Peter Isotalo 20:21, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

I've never heard any reliable evidence that spices cause acne. Though Plato seems to have thought they did. Glynhughes (talk) 14:29, 3 May 2015 (UTC)


The article doesn't mention anywhere the fact that many spices have notable antioxidant properties, which make them health-beneficial and useful as natural food preservatives. Want references? See for example this paper: Bin Shan, Yizhong Z. Cai, Mei Sun, Harold Corke: Antioxidant Capacity of 26 Spice Extracts and Characterization of Their Phenolic Constituents. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 53 (20), 7749 -7759, 2005: "Total equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) and phenolic content of 26 common spice extracts from 12 botanical families were investigated. [...] Many spices contained high levels of phenolics and demonstrated high antioxidant capacity." (talk) 02:24, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Turmeric is also a strong disinfectant and antibacterial agent. Might be worth adding if anyone can find a reliable reference. Ride the Hurricane (talk) 17:30, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Spices are used in so minuscule amounts as not to provide any relevant antioxidant properties to food, so this should be kept out of the article or explained. Cacycle (talk) 18:47, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Maybe so, but as a disinfectant Turmeric is used with purpose in marinades. It is/has been an important part of making meat safe to eat in hot climates (eg India) Ride the Hurricane (talk) 14:42, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Some very well-known spices (such as clove, ginger, oregano, cinnamon, curry, pepper, paprika or parsley) have molar quantities of antioxidants reaching as high as tens of times those of foods marketed as "healthy" because of their antioxidant-richness (such as kiwifruit, berries, spinach or red wine). Even if used only in "minuscule" quantities (many recipes call for spices added in terms of teaspoon- or fraction-of-teaspoon-sized quantities to recipes, comparable for example to those called for added salt, which certainly aren't huge but neither "minuscule"), the fact that they are many times more rich in antioxidant content makes adding such "minuscule" quantities of comparable overall effect to other less-antioxidant-rich foods used in greater quantities. A gram of clove, in particular, provides almost a hundred times more antioxidants than a gram of kiwifruit (125.549 mmol/100g for clove vs. 1.325 mmol/100g for kiwifruit)—which means a mere "minuscule" 1 gram of clove (around a quarter teaspoon) adds as much antioxidant-richness to a recipe as that added by a serving-sized 100-gram chunk of kiwifruit. (talk) 01:39, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
This is a general article. If turmeric, for example, is a good whatever, put that in the Turmeric article, not here. Dmforcier (talk) 15:12, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I'd say "many spices contained high levels of phenolics and demonstrated high antioxidant capacity" is a general statement about a characteristic shared by many spices, not just a specific fact about turmeric or a mere few singular spices. The current wording of the article's lead section makes spices look as though they are nutritionally "insignificant" additives whose only merit is adding "flavor" to a recipe, as if they added no other worthy-of-mention value to food than making it taste better, which hides the scientifically-studied fact that many common spices (such as clove, ginger, oregano, cinnamon, curry, pepper, paprika or parsley, apart from less-popular ones such as turmeric, basil leaf or mustard seed) possess non-insignificant antioxidant levels reaching tens of times higher in molar quantity per weight than foods nowadays commonly marketed as "healthy" because of their amount of antioxidant content. (talk) 01:39, 13 February 2012 (UTC)


This article contradicts itself within the first two sections. In the first, it excludes dried and shredded aromatic greens; in the second it counts them as a third of all spices. Oregano, basil, etc are not spices. I'd fix this but I'm drunk.

Turkish spices and herbs[edit]

Turkey is the leading producer country for most of the spices and herbs. The below spices, herbs and spicy seeds are cultivated in Turkey ad exported to the whole world.

Laurel leaves (Bay Leaves), Oregano, Yellow Sesame seeds, Sage, Cumin seeds, Rosemary, Fennel seeds, Fenugreek, White poppy seeds, Blue poppy seeds, Anis seeds, Thyme, Sumac, Whole primula radix, Nigella seeds, Mint, Linden flowers, Basil, Pinenut kernels and Apricot kernels. I suggest to check to see further details about Turkish spices and herbs.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Gnatrading (talkcontribs) 22:28, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't know if the problem is associated with the web browser or other factors....[edit]

Look at my edit history on the section of Standardization —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:22, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

ISO specification on the topic....[edit]

make me wonder if in the future all the Pharmacopeias will fade away and only has International pharmacopeia —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:32, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Does the Standards section even add anything to the article? Seems like the info could just as easily go into the References section. Dmforcier (talk) 18:16, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Spice racks[edit]

this section strikes me as very irrelevant, I'd recommend deletion --NinetyNineFennelSeeds (talk) 02:53, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Seconded.-neal (talk) 03:02, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Thirded Beastiepaws (talk) 03:03, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Done Dmforcier (talk) 14:20, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Early Modern: Cultivation pre-1750[edit]

The "Early Modern" section had a claim that before 1750 people believed that plants couldn't be grown outside of their indigenous habitats. It had been flagged, but this claim is dangerously misleading. Counter examples that refute the claim are numerous: seventeenth-century England had many thriving greenhouses that grew tropical fruit such as oranges and pineapples, and the article on "chili peppers" cites the spread of the species around the old world following Colombus's return from North America. I simply deleted the claim and edited the remaining dubious (but not necessarily incorrect) information to read as a unified paragraph.-neal (talk) 03:07, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Production section[edit]

Just a naked chart with no label as to what it represents? If it's not improved I'd just as soon take the section out. Dmforcier (talk) 15:12, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

I checked the source of this chart on This data is not for all spices, but is for spices NES (not elsewhere specified). There is separate data available for cloves, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, cardamom etc. This data is misleading as it is incorrectly represented as data for all spices

Spelling and British English[edit]

This article is not labeled as British English, thus "flavour" is a mis-spelling. Dmforcier (talk) 15:15, 18 March 2010 (UTC)


Is Vanilla considered a spice? It is never described as such in its own article, rather as a "flavoring". There are two occasions where it is listed as a spice in this article. Dmforcier (talk) 18:13, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

I can't think of a way to define "spice" that would exclude vanilla. Beastiepaws (talk) 02:36, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
The pod certainly could be considered a spice. The problem is the extract. If it is, would lemon extract also be considered a spice? Just how distinct are 'spices' and 'flavorings'? "Flavoring' seems to be the enclosing category, but I'm no expert on culinary terminology. And on vanilla I don't have any strong feelings one way or the other. I guess the best approach is to not push the point either way. Dmforcier (talk) 03:43, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
So far as this article goes, I think it belongs. I don't see how the fact that vanilla can be used to produce an extract would make it any less of a spice. Beastiepaws (talk) 03:51, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

(I know its an old post) Yeah its one of those borderline spices. Sorta like mint, onion (you can get it in dry powdered form too), orange peel, etc. I think it should be included.

Henry123ifa (talk) 17:25, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Do animals use spices?[edit]

Mention if animals also use spices. And not just cats occasionally eating grass, etc., but them eating the spice at the same time as the main food. Jidanni (talk) 17:01, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Do animals cook? Then they can't use spices. Spices are certain veg parts used in cooking. Dmforcier (talk) 18:59, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Tricky question. One would imagine that sophisticated animals that eat many plants would notice the difference if two "good" ones were placed in their mouth at the same time. Or even eaten after one another. Eating under a black pepper tree will definitely impart a pepper smell to the air. What might be an insurmountable problem is that many spices are only used in the smallest amount. In fact, one of the points of the article is that in any large quantity, many herbs have "medicinal" properties -- read another way, that means "poisonous". My guess is that evolution has taught most animals to eat their normal food as quickly as they can gather it, unless there's a surplus. I.e., there are several factors working against animals using spices. (talk) 12:43, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Popular misconception[edit]

Whenever I read "popular misconception" my antennae go up. In part because in fact the "misconception" may be correct, but especially in Wikipedia, because it signals someone is perhaps overeager to be there with the most authoritative understanding. I feel that's what's going on with the 80 word explanation in this relatively short article about how chefs in the Middle Ages used spice to one degree or another. What's particularly unappealing is what in Wikipedia would possibly qualify as Original Research on the part of the reference. Did medieval cooks use spices to "cover" less pleasant tastes? (Or rather, emphasize predictable ones that everyone liked?) Surely. Why would they be any different than cooks today? Was this generally NOT a problem for the rich or for special occasions? Well, obviously. Too much effort here is being spent refuting, essentially, the notion that rich people had to eat bad or rotting food. I'm scaling the statement back, accordingly. (talk) 12:54, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Indeed. A lifetime studying medieval food has shown me no evidence whatever that spices were used to cover up bad or rotten tastes. No idea at all where the idea originates. Glynhughes (talk) 14:35, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

Most Popular Spices?[edit]

I think a section should be added on the most popular spices (eg. black pepper, var. hot chili peppers..etc) used.

Then there are other spices (eg saffron) thats not used as often or are consider exotic (eg. sumac, korarima...etc)

Any takers?

Henry123ifa (talk) 17:13, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

I think this can be difficult to list them since which spices are popular is partially regionally dependent, but just writing more casually about them could work. —Kri (talk) 21:53, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Sichuan pepper[edit]

The by far coolest spice is the Sichuan pepper. —Kri (talk) 20:32, 22 July 2013 (UTC)