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Definition: herbs from Benders' Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology

Soft-stemmed aromatic plants used fresh or dried to flavour and garnish dishes, and sometimes for medicinal effects. Not clearly distinguished from SPICES, except that herbs are usually the leaves or the whole of the plant, while spices are only part of the plant, commonly the seeds, or sometimes the roots or rhizomes.


Summary Article: herb from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(ûrb, hûrb), name for any plant that is used medicinally or as a spice and for the useful product of such a plant. Herbs as condiments and seasonings are still important in culinary art; the use of medicinal herbs, however, has waned since the advent of prescription and synthetic medicines, although plants remain a major source of drugs. The term herb is also applied to all herbaceous plants as distinguished from woody plants.

  • See Clarkson, R. E., Herbs, their Culture and Uses (1966);.
  • G. B. Foster, Herbs for Every Garden (rev. ed. 1973);.
  • Krochmal, A. and C., A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of the United States (1974).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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