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RE: herbs and spices; OT

Margaret, I had read the same thing in a couple of my cook books and at
least one of my herbal books.  I think the distinctions have gotten a bit
blurred because it is not a wide difference.  The same plants can provide
both herbs and spices.  

If you pick up a spice in the supermarket, you notice most of them are
powdered or ground.  They also include herbs (dried leaves, whole or
crushed) on the shelves right next to the spices and do not have a section
labeled "herbs."  But when one goes to the Teas in the grocery store,
"herbal blends" and all natural herbal varieties can be found.  That is
primarily because teas are made from dried leaves most of the time.

Herbs are not always appreciated by all sectors of life.  If you tell your
doctor you are taking an herbal remedy, he or she may not be very pleased.
There is some good reason for that in that many drugs come from herbs and
use of a home-made herb may interact negatively with some prescriptions
taken.  Also, many "manufacturers" of herbal remedies are not regulated by
the food and drug administration.  There is no organization that oversees
that Echinacea is the same strength from manufacturer to manufacturer or
even from container to container.  Standardization is badly needed in the
"herbal" products on the market and interactions need more study.  

Having said that, I've noticed a number of people shy away from "herbal"
labels, which is probably another reason why the distinction between spices
and herbs have been blurred.  No one thinks a thing about spices negatively
(unless we talk heartburn for some of them) but an herb can be used for
food, for medications or for aromatherapy.  Still, the definition is correct
in my way of thinking.  It just means I have to do my homework on what is
safe and good for use in which application. :>D

Thanks, Marge for putting the information out there for us.


Bonnie (SW OH-zone 5)

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