Herb

In general use, herbs are plants with savory or aromatic properties that are used for flavoring and garnishing food, medicinal purposes, or for fragrances; excluding vegetables and other plants consumed for macronutrients. Culinary use typically distinguishes herbs from spices. Herbs generally refers to the leafy green or flowering parts of a plant (either fresh or dried), while spices are usually dried and produced from other parts of the plant, including seeds, bark, roots and fruits.

Herbs have a variety of uses including culinary, medicinal, and in some cases, spiritual. General usage of the term "herb" differs between culinary herbs and medicinal herbs; in medicinal or spiritual use, any parts of the plant might be considered as "herbs", including leaves, roots, flowers, seeds, root bark, inner bark (and cambium), resin and pericarp.

The word "herb" is pronounced /hɜːrb/ in Commonwealth English,[1] but /ɜːrb/ is common among North American English speakers and those from other regions where h-dropping occurs. In botany, the word "herb" is used as a synonym for "herbaceous plant".

Garden of herbs
A variety of herbs are visible in this garden. Pictured is mint, along with some other herbs

Definition

The Herb Garden - geograph.org.uk - 1629279
Herb Garden in Derbyshire, England, originally planted in the 1870s by Lady Louisa Egerton, recreated by the National Trust, largely following the original design.

In botany, the term herb refers to a herbaceous plant,[3] defined as a small, seed-bearing plant without a woody stem in which all aerial parts (i.e. above ground) die back to the ground at the end of each growing season.[4] Usually the term refers to perennials,[3] although herbaceous plants can also be annuals (where the plant dies at the end of the growing season and grows back from seed next year),[5] or biennials.[3] This term is in contrast to shrubs and trees which possess a woody stem.[4] Shrubs and trees are also defined in terms of size, where shrubs are less than ten meters tall, and trees may grow over ten meters.[4] The word herbaceous is derived from Latin herbāceus meaning "grassy", from herba "grass, herb".[6]

Another sense of the term herb can refer to a much larger range of plants,[7] with culinary, therapeutic or other uses.[3] For example, some of the most commonly described herbs such as sage, rosemary and lavender would be excluded from the botanical definition of a herb as they do not die down each year, and they possess woody stems.[5] In the wider sense, herbs may be herbaceous perennials but also trees,[7] subshrubs,[7] shrubs,[7] annuals,[7] lianas,[7] ferns,[7] mosses,[7] algae,[7] lichens,[5] and fungi.[5] Herbalism can utilize not just stems and leaves but also fruit, roots, bark and gums.[5] Therefore, one suggested definition of a herb is a plant which is of use to humans,[5] although this definition is problematic since it could cover a great many plants that are not commonly described as herbs.

Ancient Greek philosopher Theophrastus divided the plant world into trees, shrubs, and herbs.[8] Herbs came to be considered in three groups, namely pot herbs (e.g. onions), sweet herbs (e.g. thyme), and salad herbs (e.g. wild celery).[5] During the seventeenth century as selective breeding changed the plants size and flavor away from the wild plant, pot herbs began to be referred to as vegetables as they were no longer considered only suitable for the pot.[5]

Culinary herbs

Thyme-Bundle
A bundle of thyme (Thymus)

Culinary herbs are distinguished from vegetables in that, like spices, they are used in small amounts and provide flavor rather than substance to food.[9]

Herbs can be perennials such as thyme, sage or lavender, biennials such as parsley, or annuals like basil. Perennial herbs can be shrubs such as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), or trees such as bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) – this contrasts with botanical herbs, which by definition cannot be woody plants. Some plants are used as both herbs and spices, such as dill weed and dill seed or coriander leaves and seeds. There are also some herbs, such as those in the mint family, that are used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

Emperor Charlemagne (742–814) compiled a list of 74 different herbs that were to be planted in his gardens. The connection between herbs and health is important already in the European Middle Ages--The Forme of Cury (that is, "cookery") promotes extensive use of herbs, including in salads, and claims in its preface "the assent and advisement of the masters of physic and philosophy in the King's Court".[2]

Herbal teas

Some herbs can be infused in boiling water to make herbal teas (also termed tisanes).[3][7] Typically the dried leaves, flowers or seeds are used, or fresh herbs are used.[3] Herbal teas tend to made from aromatic herbs,[8] may not contain tannins or caffeine,[3] and are not typically mixed with milk.[7] Common examples include chamomile tea,[7] or mint tea.[8] Herbal teas are often used as a source of relaxation or can be associated with rituals.[8]

Medicinal herbs

In Effigiam Nicholai Culpeper Equitis by Richard Gaywood
Nicholas Culpeper was an English botanist, herbalist, physician, and astrologer.[10] (etching by Richard Gaywood between 1644 and 1662)

Herbs were used in prehistoric medicine. As far back as 5000 BCE, evidence that Sumerians used herbs in medicine was inscribed on cuneiform.[11] In 162 CE, the physician Galen was known for concocting complicated herbal remedies that contained up to 100 ingredients.[12]

Some plants contain phytochemicals that have effects on the body. There may be some effects when consumed in the small levels that typify culinary "spicing", and some herbs are toxic in larger quantities. For instance, some types of herbal extract, such as the extract of St. John's-wort (Hypericum perforatum) or of kava (Piper methysticum) can be used for medical purposes to relieve depression and stress.[13] However, large amounts of these herbs may lead to toxic overload that may involve complications, some of a serious nature, and should be used with caution. Complications can also arise when being taken with some prescription medicines.

Herbs have long been used as the basis of traditional Chinese herbal medicine, with usage dating as far back as the first century CE and far before. In India, the Ayurveda medicinal system is based on herbs. Medicinal use of herbs in Western cultures has its roots in the Hippocratic (Greek) elemental healing system, based on a quaternary elemental healing metaphor. Famous herbalist of the Western tradition include Avicenna (Persian), Galen (Roman), Paracelsus (German Swiss), Culpepper (English) and the botanically inclined Eclectic physicians of 19th century/early 20th century America (John Milton Scudder, Harvey Wickes Felter, John Uri Lloyd). Modern pharmaceuticals had their origins in crude herbal medicines, and to this day, some drugs are still extracted as fractionate/isolate compounds from raw herbs and then purified to meet pharmaceutical standards.

There s a record dated 1226 for '12d for Roses for Baron's Chamber and in 1516 for flowers and rushes for chambers for henry the 9th [3]

Certain herbs contain psychoactive properties that have been used for both religious and recreational purposes by humans since the early Holocene era, notably the leaves and extracts of the cannabis and coca plants. The leaves of the coca plant have been chewed by people in northern Peruvian societies for over 8,000 years,[14] while the use of cannabis as a psychoactive substance dates back to the first century CE in China and northern Africa.[15]

The indigenous peoples of Australia developed herbal medicine based on plants that were readily available to them. The isolation of the indigenous people meant the remedies developed were for far less serious diseases, this was from not contracting western illnesses. Herbs such as river mint, wattle and eucalyptus were used for coughs, diarrhea, fever and headaches.[12]

Sacred herbs

Balsamodendron ehrenbergianum00
Commiphora gileadensis (Gilead myrrh)

Herbs are used in many religions. During the monastic era, monks would cultivate herbs alongside vegetables, while others would be set aside in a physic garden for specific purposes.[16] For example, myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) and frankincense (Boswellia species) in Hellenistic religion, the nine herbs charm in Anglo-Saxon paganism, neem (Azadirachta indica) leaves, bael (Aegele marmelos) leaves, holy basil or tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum), turmeric or "haldi" (Curcuma longa), cannabis in Hinduism, and white sage in Wicca. Rastafari also consider cannabis to be a holy plant.

Siberian shamans also used herbs for spiritual purposes. Plants may be used to induce spiritual experiences for rites of passage, such as vision quests in some Native American cultures. The Cherokee Native Americans use both white sage and cedar for spiritual cleansing and smudging.

Herbal cosmetics

Originally there was always doubt in ancient societies, especially in the sceptical medium of western traditions, as to the efficacity of herbal medicines. The use of herbal cosmetics dates back to around six centuries ago in the European and Western countries. Mixtures and pastes were often concocted to whiten the face. During the 1940s, herbal cosmetics took a turn with the emerging red lipstick color, with every year gaining a more intense red. Herbal cosmetics come in many forms, such as face creams, scrubs, lipstick, natural fragrances, powders, body oils, deodorants and sunscreens. They activate through the epithelium of sebaceous glands to make the skin more supple. Ayurvedic oils are widely used in India, prized for their natural health-giving properties.[17]

One method and perhaps the best, used to extract natural oils from herbs to make lipstick is partition chromatography. The process involves separation in watery solution, and then the injection of colour under pressure.

Strewing herbs

Strewing herbs are scattered (strewn) over the floors of dwelling places and other buildings. Such plants usually have fragrant or astringent smells, and many also serve as insecticides (e.g. to repel fleas) or disinfectants. For example, meadowsweet was sometimes strewn across floors in the middle ages because of its sweet smell.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Herb". Cambridge Advanced Learners' Dictionary & Thesaurus. Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ a b Freeman, Margaret B. (1943). Herbs for the Medieval Household, for Cooking, Healing and Divers uses. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. ix–x.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h The Royal Horticultural Society encyclopedia of gardening (2nd ed.). Dorling Kindersley. pp. 404, 679. ISBN 9781405303538.
  4. ^ a b c Allaby, Michael (2012). A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191079030.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Stuart, Malcolm (1989). The Encyclopedia of herbs and herbalism. Crescent Books. p. 7. ISBN 978-0517353264.
  6. ^ Oxford dictionary of English (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. 2010. p. 819. ISBN 9780199571123.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Bown, Deni (1995). Encyclopedia of herbs & their uses. Dorling Kindersley. pp. 10, 11. ISBN 978-0751302035.
  8. ^ a b c d Bremness, Lesley. The complete book of herbs. Viking Studio Books. p. 8. ISBN 9780140238020.
  9. ^ Small, E.; National Research Council Canada (2006). Culinary Herbs. NRC Research Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-660-19073-0. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  10. ^ Patrick Curry: "Culpeper, Nicholas (1616–1654)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, UK: OUP, 2004)
  11. ^ Wrensch, Ruth D. (1992). The Essence of Herbs. University Press of Mississippi. p. 9.
  12. ^ a b Tapsell LC, Hemphill I, Cobiac L, Sullivan DR, Fenech M, Patch CS, Roodenrys S, Keogh JB, Clifton PM, Williams PG, Fazio VA, Inge KE (2006). "Health benefits of herbs and spices: The past, the present, the future". Medical Journal of Australia. 185 (4): S1–S24.
  13. ^ Adele G Dawson (2000). Herbs, Partners in Life: Healing, Gardening and Cooking with Wild Plants. Bear & Co. pp. 5–6.
  14. ^ Dillehay T, Rossen J, Ugent D, Karathanasis A, Vásquez V, Netherly P (2010). "Early Holocene coca chewing in northern Peru". Antiquity. 84 (326): 939–953. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00067004.
  15. ^ Ernest Abel (1980). Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years (PDF). New York: Springer. ISBN 978-0-306-40496-2. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  16. ^ Cooper, Guy; Taylor, Gordon I. (1986). English Herb Garden. Random House.
  17. ^ Panda, H. (2015). Herbal Cosmetics Handbook (3rd ed.). Asia-Pacific Business Press.

External links

Annual plant

An annual plant is a plant that completes its life cycle, from germination to the production of seeds, within one growing season, and then dies. The length of growing seasons and period in which they take place vary according to geographical location, and may not correspond to the four traditional seasonal divisions of the year. With respect to the traditional seasons annual plants are generally categorized into summer annuals and winter annuals. Summer annuals germinate during spring or early summer and mature by autumn of the same year. Winter annuals germinate during the autumn and mature during the spring or summer of the following calendar year.One seed-to-seed life cycle for an annual can occur in as little as a month in some species, though most last several months. Oilseed rapa can go from seed-to-seed in about five weeks under a bank of fluorescent lamps. This style of growing is often used in classrooms for education. Many desert annuals are therophytes, because their seed-to-seed life cycle is only weeks and they spend most of the year as seeds to survive dry conditions.

Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca (UK: , US: ) or ayaguasca (in Hispanicized spellings) from Quechua Ayawaska (aya: soul, waska: vine), or yagé (), is an entheogenic brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vine and other ingredients. The brew is used as a traditional spiritual medicine in ceremonies among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin and is known by a number of different names (see below).B. caapi contains several alkaloids that act as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Another common ingredient in ayahuasca is the shrub Psychotria viridis which contains the primary psychoactive, dimethyltryptamine (DMT). MAOIs are required for DMT to be orally active.

Basil

Basil (UK: , US: ; Ocimum basilicum), also called great basil or Saint-Joseph's-wort, is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae (mints).

Basil is native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia. It is a tender plant, and is used in cuisines worldwide. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell.

There are many varieties of basil, as well as several related species or hybrids also called basil. The type used commonly as a flavor is typically called sweet basil (or Genovese basil), as opposed to Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora), lemon basil (O. × citriodorum), and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum). While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including holy basil and a cultivar known as "African blue basil".

Eryngium foetidum

Eryngium foetidum is a tropical perennial herb in the family Apiaceae. Common names include culantro ( or ), recao, shadow beni, Mexican coriander, bhandhania, long coriander, and ngò gai. It is native to Mexico, Central America, and South America, but is cultivated worldwide, sometimes being grown as an annual in temperate climates.

In the United States, the common name culantro sometimes causes confusion with cilantro, a common name for the leaves of Coriandrum sativum (also in Apiaceae), of which culantro is said to taste like a stronger version.

G Herbo

Herbert Randall Wright III (born October 8, 1995), better known by his stage name G Herbo, (formerly Lil Herb) is an American rapper and songwriter from Chicago, Illinois.

Herbo is signed to Machine Entertainment Group. He has released the mixtapes Welcome to Fazoland (2014), Pistol P Project (2014), Ballin Like I'm Kobe (2015), and Strictly 4 My Fans (2016). His studio albums are his debut Humble Beast (2017) and with Southside of 808 Mafia, Swervo (2018), his first major release through Epic Records.

Herb Adderley

Herbert Anthony Adderley (born June 8, 1939) is a former American football cornerback who played for the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL), and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.Adderley played college football at Michigan State University and was an All-Big Ten offensive star as a halfback. He is the only player to appear in four of the first six Super Bowls.

Herb Alpert

Herb Alpert (born March 31, 1935) is an American jazz musician most associated with the group variously known as Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass, or TJB. Alpert is also a recording industry executive, the "A" of A&M Records, a recording label he and business partner Jerry Moss founded and eventually sold to PolyGram. Alpert also has created abstract expressionist paintings and sculpture over two decades, which are publicly displayed on occasion. Alpert and his wife, Lani Hall, are substantial philanthropists through the operation of the Herb Alpert Foundation.

Alpert's musical accomplishments include five No. 1 albums and 28 albums total on the Billboard Album chart, nine Grammy Awards, fourteen platinum albums, and fifteen gold albums. Alpert has sold 72 million records worldwide. Alpert is the only recording artist to hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop chart as both a vocalist ("This Guy's in Love with You", 1968) and an instrumentalist ("Rise", 1979).

Herb Brooks

Herbert Paul Brooks Jr. (August 5, 1937 – August 11, 2003) was an American ice hockey player and coach. His most notable achievement came in 1980 as head coach of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic hockey team at Lake Placid. At the Games, Brooks' American team upset the heavily-favored Soviet team in a match that came to be known as the "Miracle on Ice."

Brooks would go on to coach multiple National Hockey League (NHL) teams, as well as the French team at the 1998 Winter Olympics. He ultimately returned to coach the U.S. men's team to a silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Brooks was killed in a 2003 car accident. At the time of his death, he was the director of player personnel for the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins.

Herbal medicine

Herbal medicine (also Herbalism) is the study of the botany and use of medicinal plants. Plants have been the basis for medical treatments through much of human history, and such traditional medicine is still widely practiced today. Modern medicine makes use of many plant-derived compounds as the basis for evidence-based pharmaceutical drugs. Although herbalism may apply modern standards of effectiveness testing to herbs and medicines derived from natural sources, few high-quality clinical trials and standards for purity or dosage exist. The scope of herbal medicine is sometimes extended to include fungal and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts.

Herbal medicine may also refer to phytomedicine or phytotherapy. Paraherbalism describes alternative and pseudoscientific practices of using unrefined plant or animal extracts as unproven medicines or health-promoting agents. Paraherbalism differs from plant-derived medicines in standard pharmacology because it does not isolate or standardize biologically active compounds, but rather relies on the belief that preserving various substances from a given source with less processing is safer or more effective – for which there is no evidence. Herbal dietary supplements most often fall under the phytotherapy category.

Herbal tea

Herbal teas—less commonly called tisanes (UK and US , US also )—are beverages made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water. Perhaps some of the most known tisanes are actual, true teas (e.g., black, green, white, yellow, oolong), which are prepared from the cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Besides coffee and true teas (they are also available decaffeinated), most other tisanes do not contain caffeine.

Houttuynia cordata

Houttuynia cordata, also known as fish mint, fish leaf, rainbow plant, chameleon plant, heart leaf, fish wort, Chinese lizard tail, or bishop's weed, is one of two species in the genus Houttuynia (the other being H. emeiensis). It is a flowering plant native to Southeast Asia. It grows in moist, shady locations.

Kitchen garden

Kailyard redirects here. For the grouping of Scottish literature see Kailyard school

The traditional kitchen garden, also known as a potager (in French, jardin potager) or in Scotland a kailyaird, is a space separate from the rest of the residential garden – the ornamental plants and lawn areas. Most vegetable gardens are still miniature versions of old family farm plots, but the kitchen garden is different not only in its history, but also its design.

The kitchen garden may serve as the central feature of an ornamental, all-season landscape, or it may be little more than a humble vegetable plot. It is a source of herbs, vegetables and fruits, but it is often also a structured garden space with a design based on repetitive geometric patterns.

The kitchen garden has year-round visual appeal and can incorporate permanent perennials or woody shrub plantings around (or among) the annuals.

Leaf vegetable

Leaf vegetables, also called leafy greens, salad greens, pot herbs, vegetable greens, or simply greens, are plant leaves eaten as a vegetable, sometimes accompanied by tender petioles and shoots. Although they come from a very wide variety of plants, most share a great deal with other leaf vegetables in nutrition and cooking methods.

Nearly one thousand species of plants with edible leaves are known. Leaf vegetables most often come from short-lived herbaceous plants, such as lettuce and spinach. Woody plants of various species also provide edible leaves.

The leaves of many fodder crops are also edible for humans, but usually only eaten under famine conditions. Examples include alfalfa, clover, most grasses, including wheat and barley. These plants are often much more prolific than traditional leaf vegetables, but exploitation of their rich nutrition is difficult, due to their high fiber content. This can be overcome by further processing such as drying and grinding into powder or pulping and pressing for juice.

Leaf vegetables contain many typical plant nutrients, but since they are photosynthetic tissues, their vitamin K levels are particularly notable. Phylloquinone, the most common form of the vitamin, is directly involved in photosynthesis. This causes leaf vegetables to be the primary food class that interacts significantly with the anticoagulant warfarin.

Living Tribunal

The Living Tribunal is a fictional cosmic entity appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Strange Tales #157 (June 1967) and was created by Stan Lee, Marie Severin, and Herb Trimpe.

Perennial plant

A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives more than two years. Some sources cite perennial plants being plants that live more than three years. The term (per- + -ennial, "through the years") is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals and biennials. The term is also widely used to distinguish plants with little or no woody growth from trees and shrubs, which are also technically perennials.Perennials, especially small flowering plants, that grow and bloom over the spring and summer, die back every autumn and winter, and then return in the spring from their rootstock, are known as herbaceous perennials. However, depending on the rigors of local climate, a plant that is a perennial in its native habitat, or in a milder garden, may be treated by a gardener as an annual and planted out every year, from seed, from cuttings or from divisions. Tomato vines, for example, live several years in their natural tropical/subtropical habitat but are grown as annuals in temperate regions because they don't survive the winter.

There is also a class of evergreen, or non-herbaceous, perennials, including plants like Bergenia which retain a mantle of leaves throughout the year. An intermediate class of plants is known as subshrubs, which retain a vestigial woody structure in winter, e.g. Penstemon. The local climate may dictate whether plants are treated as shrubs or perennials. For instance, many varieties of Fuchsia are shrubs in warm regions, but in colder temperate climates may be cut to the ground every year as a result of winter frosts.

The symbol for a perennial plant, based on Species Plantarum by Linnaeus, is , which is also the astronomical symbol for the planet Jupiter.

Salvia divinorum

Salvia divinorum (also known as sage of the diviners, ska maría pastora, seer's sage, yerba de la pastora or simply salvia) is a plant species with transient psychoactive properties when its leaves are consumed by chewing, smoking or as a tea. The leaves contain opioid-like compounds that induce hallucinations. Because the plant has not been well-studied in high-quality clinical research, little is known about its toxicology, adverse effects, or safety over long-term consumption.

Its native habitat is cloud forest in the isolated Sierra Mazateca of Oaxaca, Mexico, where it grows in shady, moist locations. The plant grows to over a meter high, has hollow square stems like others in the mint family Lamiaceae, large leaves, and occasional white flowers with violet calyxes. Botanists have not determined whether Salvia divinorum is a cultigen or a hybrid because native plants reproduce vegetatively and rarely produce viable seed.Mazatec shamans have a long and continuous tradition of religious use of Salvia divinorum to facilitate visionary states of consciousness during spiritual healing sessions.Its chief active psychoactive constituent is a structurally unique diterpenoid called salvinorin A, a potent κ-opioid agonist. Although not thoroughly assessed, preliminary research indicates Salvia divinorum may have low toxicity (high LD50). The effects are rapid in onset and short-lasting.Salvia divinorum is legal in some countries and certain US states, while other states have passed laws criminalizing it.

Simpson family

The Simpson family consists of fictional characters featured in the animated television series The Simpsons. The Simpsons are a nuclear family consisting of married couple Homer and Marge and their three children Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. They live at 742 Evergreen Terrace in the fictional town of Springfield, United States, and they were created by cartoonist Matt Groening, who conceived the characters after his own family members, substituting "Bart" for his own name. The family debuted on Fox on April 19, 1987 in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" and were later spun off into their own series, which debuted on Fox in the U.S. on December 17, 1989.

Alongside the five main family members, there are a number of other major and minor characters in their family. The most commonly recurring characters are Homer's father Abraham "Grampa" Simpson; Marge's sisters Patty and Selma Bouvier; and the family's two pets, Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II. Other family members include Homer's mother Mona Simpson, Homer's half-brother Herbert Powell, Marge's mother Jacqueline Bouvier, and other minor relatives.

Tarragon

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), also known as estragon, is a species of perennial herb in the sunflower family. It is widespread in the wild across much of Eurasia and North America, and is cultivated for culinary and medicinal purposes.One subspecies, Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa, is cultivated for use of the leaves as an aromatic culinary herb. In some other subspecies, the characteristic aroma is largely absent. The species is polymorphic. Informal names for distinguishing the variations include "French tarragon" (best for culinary use), "Russian tarragon", and "wild tarragon" (covers various states).

Tarragon grows to 120–150 cm (4–5 ft) tall, with slender branched stems. The leaves are lanceolate, 2–8 cm (1–3 in) long and 2–10 mm (0.1–0.4 in) broad, glossy green, with an entire margin. The flowers are produced in small capitula 2–4 mm (0.1–0.2 in) diameter, each capitulum containing up to 40 yellow or greenish-yellow florets. French tarragon, however, seldom produces any flowers (or seeds). Some tarragon plants produce seeds that are generally only sterile. Others produce viable seeds. Tarragon has rhizomatous roots that it uses to spread and readily reproduce.

Za'atar

Za'atar (Arabic: زَعْتَر‎, IPA: [ˈzaʕtar]) is an herb or family of herbs, as well as a spice mixture typically used as a condiment, containing the herb along with toasted sesame seeds, dried sumac, and often salt, as well as other spices. As a family of related Middle Eastern herbs, it contains plants from the genera Origanum (oregano), Calamintha (basil thyme), Thymus (typically Thymus vulgaris, i.e., thyme), and Satureja (savory). The name za'atar alone most properly applies to Origanum syriacum, considered in biblical scholarship to be the hyssop (Hebrew: אזוב‎ [eˈzov]) of the Hebrew Bible. Used in Levantine cuisine, both the herb and spice mixture are popular throughout the Middle East.

Culinary herbs and spices

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