What are the biological differences between a herb and a spice?Ginger, Turmeric, Cinnamon sticks, Mint, Cloves, Cilantro, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Habanero

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bandmanjoe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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The primary difference between an herb and a spice is the part of the plant that is used.  Herbs tend to be from the leafy foliage the plant produces, while spices can be from the fruit, the bark, the pericarp, the roots, or the tubers produced in conjunction with the root system.  Herbs and spices tend to be substances that are used for other than their consumable food value.  They are used for medicinal purposes, as well as to flavor food and add ambience to the balance of a meal.  Some herbs, such as habanero, a member of the pepper family, are instrumental as an herbal medicine, helping to lower blood pressure and fight cancer cells.  My mother used to make a chicken dressing recipe around specific holidays of the year, of which the key ingredient was sage.  Herbs and spices play an absolutely invaluable part in providing variety in terms of health care and menu planning.

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