The arrival of fall often comes with Starbuck’s announcement of its Pumpkin Spiced Latte. While Starbuck’s latte doesn’t exactly improve your health nor is the drink nutritious, consuming herbs and spices does benefit your health in a variety of ways.

What is the difference between herbs and spices?

herb, cinnamon, condiment, cumin, pepper, garam masala, chili
Jessie Lee

Spices are dried forms of the seeds, bark, fruits, or roots of plants whereas herbs are typically the leafy parts of plants. Any part of a plant, except the leaves, that can be used for seasoning would fall into the spice category. Spices are also usually dried while herbs are grown in more temperate areas than that of spices. 


anise, herb, cinnamon, condiment, relish, cardamom, cloves
Jessie Lee

This star shaped spice is often used in China, where much of it is still produced. Each point in the star has a small seed and has a taste similar to that of licorice when used in foods. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, copper, fiber, and calcium.

Anise helps with many issues such as calming an upset stomach, boosting the immune system, improving quality of the skin, and increasing circulation of body parts. It may even treat menstrual symptoms.

To use this spice to its full potential, try using it more in savory dishes especially with meats despite its sweetness. Also add it in soups, braising broths, and stews. Remember to discard it from the dish before serving. 


chocolate, coffee
Jessie Lee

Cloves are the dried buds of a flower from the tree Syzygium aromaticum. This spice may look small, but it carries a very pungent smell and has a strong taste. It has a long list of health benefits from aiding with digestion, boosting the immune system, curing headaches, protecting the liver to increasing oral health, and eliminating premature aging.

Add whole cloves to rice dishes, pickled vegetables or tea. Spike an onion with a clove and place into stews or casserole or simply insert into baked hams and let its flavors permeate.  


cinnamon, candy, chocolate, sweet
Jessie Lee

This well known spice contains iron, calcium, manganese, and fiber. Try adding this spice to tea, fruit, and desserts to help curb a sweet tooth and eliminate the need for artificial sweeteners. Studies have also shown that cinnamon can also help diabetics by keeping blood sugar levels from spiking and reducing cholesterol levels.

Simply sprinkle in plain yogurt, oatmeal, coffee, pancake batter or roasted vegetables. It also makes a delicious evening drink when stirred into milk.


coffee, espresso, chocolate, cappuccino
Jessie Lee

A popular, spicy root, brings relief for coughs, the cold, the flu, nausea or motion sickness, and an upset stomach. If you’re sore from a workout, ginger also helps ease muscle pain. Gingerol is a potent chemical in ginger that decreases inflammation and blocks nerve pathways that process pain.

Combine ginger with honey for an invigorating and delicious tea, add to salads, wraps, stir-fry, or use in smoothies and juices. 


Jessie Lee

Nutmeg comes from the seed of a tree native to the spice islands of Indonesia. This common baking spice helps fight stomach problems, fungal infections and reduces excess gas. It’s also a solid source of fiber. But beware of consuming large amounts of nutmeg (about 20 grams) as nutmeg can be psychoactive, causing people to experience palpitations and delirium.

If possible, use ground nutmeg that has been organically grown. Sprinkle over drinks such as tea, hot chocolate, or coffee to add a little kick. Use it on vegetables (pumpkin, sweet potato, cabbage, spinach) or fruits (apples, pear, mango, peaches) for extra flavor.  


tea, herb, mate, green tea, pepper
Jessie Lee

Many people know that oranges contain vitamin C, but some may not know that parsley is packed with more vitamin C than that of an orange. This leafy green isn’t just a garnish. It has a high antioxidant content, which may help the immune system and reduce the risk of cancer. Add this to meatballs, salad, soups, and sauces such as pesto.


herb, cereal, cumin, condiment, relish
Jessie Lee

This herb is part of the mint family and helps suppress inflammation. Thyme oil also has powerful antimicrobial properties. Thyme has been used traditionally to treat coughs, so try boiling it for consumption in tea. It can also be used in soups such as butternut squash soup or as a dry rub for poultry.  


chocolate, peanut butter
Jessie Lee 

This bright yellow spice doesn’t just belong in a curry. A relative of ginger, turmeric contains curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to manage diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cystic fibrosis and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

Incorporate this spice to marinades, salad dressings, iced lattes, soups, rice, and scrambles. If you’re feeling bold enough to try it as a tea, boil a quarter teaspoon of turmeric in a cup of water. Then strain and add honey and lemon.