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Leafy Spices - Types - Part 1

Updated on October 13, 2010

Leafy Spices

 Leafy spices originate from countries all over the world and are used to create wholesome flavors in many authentic dishes. Using the right spice when preparing a dish can make the difference between an edible or nonedible dish. Leafy spices are also used in aromatherapy mixtures for illnesses and natural fragrance uses. Each leafy spice holds a specific use in food preparation, alternative health remedies and as an ingredient within a variety of products.

Fresh Basil
Fresh Basil


 Basil (Ocimum Basilicum) is a sweet-flavored leafy spice used in authentic dishes around the world in places such as the Far East, Europe, Canada and the United States. The basil plant thrives in warmer climates and is used as an herb, spice, perfume ingredient or holistic remedy for conditions such as aches, stress and nausea.

Bay Leaves
Bay Leaves

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves (Laurus Nobilis) originated from Asia Minor but are found today in the Mediterranean and places with warm climates. The bay leaf is used in dishes such as soups, sauces and stews as well as a seasoning for fish, meat and poultry or simply as a garnish. Bay is commonly used as an ingredient for aromatherapy oils to help relieve stress, high blood sugar, headaches and digestive problems.



Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is found growing in countries of Europe, the Middle East and the Orient. The seeds of the coriander plant are used as a spice and the leaves are used as an herb in many dishes such as curries, sauces, meat, fish and poultry. Coriander has been known to be holistically used to aid with problems with the digestive system, nervous system and colic.



Dill (Peucedanum Graveolens) is native to the Mediterranean, and both the leaves and seeds are used as an herb and spice. Depending on how the dill is used, it can provide a soft flavor or a spicy flavor in condiments such as pickled cucumbers. The dill plant is also used to make vinegar and oil products. Dill is used as an alternative treatment for stomach problems and as a relaxant.



The fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare) is used as both an herb and a spice. The fennel spice is made from the leafy plant's seeds and is used in a variety of fish and sauce-based dishes. The fennel seed can be found as an ingredient in the famous five spices and curry powders. Medicinal uses includes being used as a snake bite remedy, relaxation and weight loss.

Kadipatta - Curry Leaves
Kadipatta - Curry Leaves


The leafy spice Kadipatta is also known simply as curry leaves (Murraya Koenigii). Kadipatta originates from Southern India and Sri Lanka but is also used in Thai and Malaysian cooking. Curry leaves are thought to have medicinal properties that aid against conditions such as constipation, nausea and other digestive ailments.

Fresh Mint Leaves
Fresh Mint Leaves


Mint (Mentha spp) originates from Greece but is found happily growing in countries with warm humid climates. Mint is used as a spice and an herb in a variety of dishes including desserts. Used for medicinal purposes, mint has been used as a natural aid for conditions such as colds, the flu, sinus problems and sore throats as well as rheumatism.


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