What is the spices and herbs?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the spice is the variety of vegetables which has a special aroma that is used in cooking in order to embellish and give flavor; also be interpreted as the seasoning of the vegetables in the form of powder or liquid (condiment).

While the herb is defined as the dried leaves of aromatic plants are used to give flavor and aroma to food, and sometimes also provide color.

Based on the origin of the plants, spices and herbs can be classified as follows:

1. Rhizomes, such as ginger, galangal, and turmeric.

2. Stem bark, as in cinnamon

3. Bulbs, such as galangal

4. Roots, such as the horseradish

5. Leaves, as in pandan leaves, mint, oregano, basil, parsley, cilantro, celery

6. Flower buds, as in cloves

7. Tuber roots, such as garlic and onions

8. Seeds, such as cumin, white mustard, cardamom, sesame

9. The core / seeds of fruit, such as nutmeg

10. Fruit, such as the acid, paprika, pepper, black pepper, cardamom, coriander, star anise

There are different types of food with a variety of flavors as well. When considered in more detail, spices and herbs into one of the factors that affect the flavor and uniqueness of the food. Spices and herbs are very attached to the culinary cuisine in each region across the world.

Ability of spices or herbs inhibit microbial spoilage and even kill pathogens present in food can increase the shelf life and safety of food products.

Spices and herbs not only enhance the flavor of food or beverages, but also works for health. Spices and herbs contain many bioactive compounds that serve as antimikrobia, antioxidant, antidiabetic, antitumor, and other functions that are beneficial for maintaining good health. Therefore, the spices and herbs has been developed for herbal medicine because it is believed to have no harmful side effects.

Benefits of Spices and Herbs

Leaves (fresh or dried), stems, bark and roots (rhizomes) of spices and herbs used for seasoning food and drinks.

In addition, spices and herbs are also known to have nutritional value, antioxidants, anti-microbial and as medicine.

Because of its potential, the herbal leaves are often used as a garnish on a variety of foods. Essential oils are extracted from the stems, leaves and flowers can be used as an ingredient in cosmetics, perfumes and toilet deodorizers. The oil can also be used as a flavoring various kinds of drinks and as a pharmaceutical ingredient.

Here are some benefits of spices and herbs:

1. Flavoring: Parsley, cinnamon, allspice, mint, cumin, marjoram, star anise, nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom, celery.

2. Deodorizing: garlic, bay leaves, cloves, oregano, onion, cilantro.

3. Gives pungent flavors: garlic, bay leaves, oregano, onion, coriander ginger, pepper, mustard.

4. Coloring: Paprika, turmeric, saffron.

In addition, volatile compounds present in spices and herbs serve to give a specific flavor commonly used by cosmetic and perfume industries. Similarly, the oleoresin, which is a mixture of oil with the sap of the plant that is widely used by the industry of cosmetics, perfumes and pharmaceuticals.

Herbs and spices are known as antioxidants and antimicrobials. As an antioxidant, spices and herbs can prevent or slow the oxidation reaction.

While antimicrobial, spices and herbs are capable of killing or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. Application of spices and herbs as antioxidants and antimicrobial done a lot of food products, primarily to prevent damage and prolong the shelf life of food products.

Spices and herbs also have farmaceutika nature, which has a function as drugs. In many countries in Asia, the use of spices and herbs as a traditional medicine have been done for long time ago.

Spices or herbs that can give color to food products making them widely used in various food processing, especially for natural dyes. Color resulting from the addition of herbs and spices because of their pigment content.