AskDefine | Define herb

Dictionary Definition



1 a plant lacking a permanent woody stem; many are flowering garden plants or potherbs; some having medicinal properties; some are pests [syn: herbaceous plant]
2 aromatic potherb used in cookery for its savory qualities

User Contributed Dictionary

see Herb



  • , /hɜː(ɹ)b/, /h3:(r)b/
  • a US , /ɜːɹb/, /3:rb/


  1. Any green, leafy plant, or parts thereof, used to flavour or season food.
  2. Plant whose roots, leaves or seeds, etc are used in medicine.
  3. (euphemistic slang) Marijuana.
  4. A plant whose stem is not woody and does not persist beyond each growing season


Derived terms

Related terms


plant used to flavour food
plant used in medicine
slang: marijuana






herb (Plural: herby)

Extensive Definition

A(n) herb ( or /ˈɝb/; see pronunciation differences) is a plant that is valued for qualities such as medicinal properties, flavor, scent, or the like.
Herbs have a variety of uses including culinary, medicinal, or in some cases even spiritual usage. The green, leafy part of the plant is often used, but herbal medicine also makes use of the roots, flowers, seeds, root bark, inner bark (cambium), berries and sometimes the pericarp or other portions. General usage differs between culinary herbs and medicinal herbs. In medicinal or spiritual use any of the parts of the plant might be considered "herbs" .
Culinary use of the term "herb" is more restricted. Culinary use typically distinguishes between herbs, from the leafy green parts of a plant, and spices, from other parts of the plant, including seeds, berries, bark, root, fruit, and even occasionally leaves. Culinary herbs are distinguished from vegetables in that like spices they are used in small amounts and provide flavor rather than substance to food.
Many plants contain phytochemicals that have effects on the body. Even when consumed in the small levels that typify culinary "spicing", there may be some effects, 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. However, large amounts of these herbs may lead to poisoning, and should be used with caution.


External links

herb in Guarani: Ñana
herb in Bulgarian: Билка
herb in Catalan: Herba
herb in Danish: Krydderurt
herb in Spanish: Hierba
herb in French: Herbe
herb in Korean: 허브 (식물)
herb in Hebrew: עשבי תיבול
herb in Haitian: Zèb
herb in Latin: Herba
herb in Dutch: Kruid (keuken)
herb in Japanese: ハーブ
herb in Norwegian: Urter
herb in Norwegian Nynorsk: Urt
herb in Low German: Kruut
herb in Polish: Zioła
herb in Portuguese: Erva
herb in Slovak: Bylina
herb in Slovenian: Zelišče
herb in Finnish: Yrtti
herb in Swedish: Ört
herb in Tagalog: Yerba
herb in Tamil: மருத்துவ மூலிகைகள்
herb in Thai: สมุนไพร
herb in Chinese: 香草

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Cretan dittany, algae, angelica, autophyte, balm, balsam, basil, bean, belladonna, boneset, borage, bracken, brown algae, burning bush, calendula, caraway, cardamom, castor-oil plant, chervil, chicory, climber, clover, conferva, confervoid, coriander, creeper, deadly nightshade, death camas, diatom, dill, dittany, drops, drug, electuary, elixir, ethical drug, fennel, fern, feverroot, figwort, fruits and vegetables, fucus, fungus, gas plant, generic name, ginseng, grapevine, green algae, gulfweed, hemp, henbane, herbs, heterophyte, horehound, hyssop, inhalant, ivy, kelp, legume, lentil, liana, lichen, lincture, linctus, liverwort, mandrake, marijuana, marjoram, materia medica, mayapple, medicament, medication, medicinal, medicinal herbs, medicine, mint, mixture, mold, monkshood, moss, mullein, mushroom, mustard, nonprescription drug, officinal, oregano, origanum, parasite, parasitic plant, parsley, patent medicine, pea, peppermint, perthophyte, pharmacon, physic, phytoplankton, planktonic algae, plant families, powder, preparation, prescription drug, proprietary, proprietary medicine, proprietary name, puffball, pulse, red algae, rockweed, rosemary, rue, rust, sage, saprophyte, sargasso, sargassum, savory, sea lentil, sea moss, sea wrack, seaweed, simples, smut, sorrel, spearmint, succulent, sweet woodruff, syrup, tansy, tarragon, theraputant, thyme, tisane, toadstool, tobacco, vegetable remedies, vetch, vine, wort, wrack
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