Back to Basics: The Power of Herbs and Spices

Back to Basics: The Power of Herbs and Spices

Before food preservatives, additives and enhancers come about, people have been putting herbs and spices to good use. We have been savouring and exploring flavours from the use of herbs and spices for as long as we know it. Whether it’s the aroma of grandma’s freshly baked cinnamon bread or the fiery kick of spicy ramen, we can feel herbs and spices working their magic to become staples in our daily meals, adding extra flavours and excitement.

What exactly are herbs and spices? Do they just make food taste good, or do they offer other benefits?

Let’s take a step back and explore the basics to better understand the true value of herbs and spices.

Herbs vs. Spices: What’s the Difference?

People from different cultures have their unique ways of adding herbs and spices into their specialty foods which represent the rich culinary traditions from where they come from. Even with the same ingredients, the way different herbs and spices are combined can result in completely different flavours. Both herbs and spices are used as seasoning to add flavour to our meals, but they work in different ways. Herbs, which usually comes from the leafy part of a plant, adds a subtle “greener” flavour to foods, while spices, on the other hand, which can come from the root, seeds, bark etc, bring about a stronger taste.

Here is the list of commonly used herbs and spices.


  • Bay leaf
  • Basil
  • Catnip
  • Chervil
  • Chicory
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Fennel
  • Holy basil
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Spearmint
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme


  • Allspice mix
  • Black cumin
  • Black mustard
  • Black pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Coriander
  • Fenugreek
  • Grains of paradise
  • Licorice
  • Nutmeg
  • Paprika
  • Poppy seed
  • Saffron
  • Star anise
  • Turmeric
  • Wasabi
  • White mustard

The Goodness of Herbs and Spices

Before the age of pills and prescriptions, these natural ingredients were used as a remedy, and are very much still in use today. While modern medicine has made remarkable advancements, we shouldn’t overlook the importance of a wholesome meal made with a variety of herbs and spices.

Many of us are so used to reaching out for that saltshaker or sugar jar for a dash of pick-me-up in our food. No doubt a pinch of salt or sugar works wonders in each meal, be careful that many pinches adds up to a mouthful of nasties. The next time you want to go for that salt or sugar, why not procrastinate a little and choose herbs and spices instead? Not only does natural herbs and spices gives you more flavours and textures in your food, it also brings about various health benefits for your body.

Here are a few popular herbs and their health benefits:

Turmeric is a bright orange spice used commonly in Asian cuisines. It is gaining popularity around the globe for its many health benefits. Studies have shown that turmeric aids in reducing inflammation and fighting harmful molecules in the body called free radicals, which can lead to diseases like heart problems and cancer.

Ginger eases nausea and stomach issues. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and lots of antioxidants that help with seasickness, motion sickness, and even morning sickness during pregnancy.

Cumin not only adds flavour to food but also may aid in weight loss, lowering cholesterol, and managing stress. With high levels of antioxidants, the spice could also help with diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels.

Peppermint has been used for centuries to soothe stomach troubles and freshen breath. The cooling menthol compound makes it effective for relieving muscle pain as well.

Cinnamon has been used for its health benefits for thousands of years. Addinf cinnamon to your food helps to regulate blood sugar levels and is also good for brain health.

Parsley, rich in antioxidants and vitamins, supports overall health, including bone health due to its vitamin K content.

Fennel keeps your breath fresh, controls blood pressure and supports respiratory health. For nursing moms, fennel seeds help in lactation, improve skin appearance, and purify the blood.

-Rosemary adds an pleasing aroma to your meal. Packsed with a punch of goodness, like alleviating headaches to easing menstrual cramps and improving memory, it’s also a versatile herb you can add to your meal.

What Makes Shane’s Kitchen’s Dishes so flavourful?

Our taste buds can identify five fundamental flavours: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. By blending a varied mix of herbs and spices to our dishes not only tantalises your taste buds, but it also ignites your other senses. For example, ginger adds a spicy kick and fragrant aroma to elevate the taste and smell of your food. Not only does it engage your sense of taste and smell, it also helps to improve digestion and ease bloating in certain cases.

At Shane’s Kitchen, we take health seriously and make it a priority with a variety of nutritious options from ready to use and/or ready to drink stocks and broths such as Original Chicken Stock, Salmon Tomato Broth, and Seasonal Veggies Beef Broth, to ready to eat meals such as our every popular Lemongrass and Corn Chicken Soup, Mixed Papaya Fish Soup, Salmon & Broccoli Wild Rice Gruel and more right here: Our carefully curated home recipes contain a handful of fresh veggies and quality protein, incorporated with a mix of herbs and spices such as ginger, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, basil, and fennel, that not only satisfy your taste buds but also leave you feeling great inside out.

Be sure to check out our next blog post, where we’ll explore how sight, smell and taste can affect our cravings and food intake. Stay tune and we look forward to serving you soon, right here at Shane’s Kitchen.