Herbs and Spices

  • Zhuohong Xie
  • John W. Finley
Part of the Food Science Text Series book series (FSTS)


Herbs and spices are important food ingredients. The human consumption of herbs and spices can date back to 5000 BC. The world production of spices is estimated to be 8,730,271 tons in 2013 (FAOSTAT). The major producer countries are India, China, Thailand and USA. Table 12.1 summarizes some of the more common spices, the portion of the plant and their region of cultivation. Herbs and spices are consumed as is or formulated into various food, beverage and dietary supplement products. Due to their characteristic chemical compounds, herbs and spices are used to flavor foods and beverages, to inhibit microbial growth and preserve food quality. Increasing evidence also suggest consumption of certain herbs and spices bring in potential health benefits. Although the definitions sometimes overlap, generally herbs are plant leaves or flowering parts either fresh or dried and spices are small pieces from roots, bark or seeds of plants. Most spices also contain essential oils which are normally recovered by steam distillation.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United States PharmacopeiaRockvilleUSA
  2. 2.Louisiana State UniversityLakewood RanchUSA

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