- A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavour, colour, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth.
- In the kitchen, spices are distinguished from herbs, which are leafy, green plant parts used for flavouring.
- Many spices are also used for other purposes, such as medicine, religious rituals, cosmetics, perfumery, or eating as vegetables.
- For example, turmeric is also used as a preservative; liquorice as a medicine; garlic as a vegetable.
- In some cases they are referred to by different terms.
- Spices can be grouped as:
- Dried fruits or seeds, such as fennel, mustard, and black pepper.
- Arils, such as mace.
- Barks, such as cinnamon and cassia.
- Dried flower buds, such as cloves.
- Stigmas, such as saffron.
- Roots and rhizomes, such as turmeric, ginger and galingale.
- Resins, such as asa foetida.