List of 40 Spices

Piles of Spices

Over the millennia, people have sought out certain spices, not only for culinary purposes but for medicinal uses as well. Whether you're cooking with them or working on homemade remedies, these are spices that are definitely helpful to have on hand.

40 Spices List

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Spice Details

Each of the spices on this list has its own distinct flavor and uses.


Allspice is a berry that has combined flavors of pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add it to stews, soups, and desserts for depth of flavor.

  • Allspice
    Latin name: Carum Carvi
  • Other names: wild cumin, Persian caraway, Roman cumin
  • Health benefits of carraway seed include:
    • Digestive aid
    • Flatulence
    • Colic
    • Constipation relief
    • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
    • Cholesterol reduction
    • Cramps


Cardamom has a spicy-sweet taste that works well with cinnamon and honey. Use only a little bit for a lot of flavor.

  • Cardamom
    Latin name: Elettaria cardamomum
  • Other names: cardamon, lesser cardamom
  • Health-related uses for cardamom include:
    • Digestive aid
    • Respiratory conditions
    • Inflammatory conditions
    • Flatulence


Cassia is frequently sold as a type of cinnamon, but is actually a member of the pea family. Use it like you would traditional cinnamon.

  • Latin name: Cassia senna or Cinnamonum cassia
  • Other names: Chinese cassia, Canton cassia, canel, cassia bark
  • Medicinal uses for cassia include:
    • Diarrhea
    • Anti-microbial
    • Antibacterial
    • Tonic
    • Nausea


Cayenne is a spicy red pepper related to hot peppers like jalapenos. Use it to add some kick to your meals.

  • Latin name: Capsicum annuum or frutescens
  • Other names: red pepper, capsaicin, chili pepper
  • Medicinal uses of cayenne include:
    • Pain relief
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Ear infections
    • Psoriasis
    • Weight loss
    • Cluster headaches

Celery Seeds

Celery seeds are actually a member of the parsley family. Use them in soups and stews to add a subtle hint of celery flavor.

  • Latin name: Apium Graveolens
  • Other names: marsh water parsley, wild celery, smallage, garden celery
  • Celery seed's medicinal uses include:
    • Pain relief
    • Arthritis
    • Diuretic
    • Kidney tonic
    • Appetite loss

Chili Pepper

There are actually numerous varieties of chili pepper. Always read the label to determine what type is going into your food. Most have varying degrees of spiciness.

  • Latin name: Capsicum annuum
  • Other names: chili pepper, red pepper, capsaicin
  • Medicinal uses of chili pepper include:
    • Pain relief
    • Arthritis and neuropathie
    • Decongestant
    • Colds, bronchitis, sinusitis


True cinnamon is softer and sweeter than the Cassia variety. Use it in baked goods or beverages, or for your health.

  • Cinnamon
    Latin name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum
  • Other names: true cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon
  • Medicinal uses of cinnamon include:
    • Diabetes
    • Antibacterial
    • Diarrhea
    • Indigestion
    • Loss of appetite
    • Intestinal colic


Cloves and sweet with a distinctive smell. Add them to baked goods or to savory meats you wish to sweeten.

  • Latin name: Syzgium aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllis
  • Other names: ding heung
  • Medicinal uses for clove include:
    • Local anesthetic
    • Aphrodisiac
    • Nausea, vomiting
    • Flatulence
    • Indigestion
    • Tooth aches


The spice coriander is the seed portion of the Coriander plant, from which Cilantro is derived. It has a citrus-like flavor and tang.

  • Latin name: Coriandrum sativum
  • Other names: cilantro, Chinese parsley plant, dizzycorn, Japanese parsley
  • Coriander's medicinal uses include:
    • Anti-microbial
    • Flatulence
    • Loss of appetite
    • Digestive aid
    • Headaches


Cumin is a seed with a bitter taste that is an integral part to most Middle Eastern cuisines.

  • Latin name: Cuminum cyminum
  • Other names: sweet cumin
  • Cumin's medicinal uses include:
    • Diuretic
    • Flatulence
    • Diarrhea
    • Indigestion
    • Muscle spasms


Dill is a tangy herb that can be added fresh to salads or dried to stews and soups.

  • Latin name: Anethum gravelans
  • Other names: dilly, garden dill, dill seed
  • Medicinal uses for dill include:
    • Colic
    • Digestive aid
    • Mild bowel disorders
    • Promote milk production
    • Flatulence


Fennel has a licorice taste similar to anise.

  • Fennel seeds
    Latin name: Anethum foeniculum
  • Other names: large fennel, large cumin, sweet fennel, common fennel
  • Medicinal uses for fennel include:
    • Flatulence
    • Intestinal colic
    • Lactation stimulant
    • Muscle spasms
    • Eyewash


Fenugreek has the surprising taste of maple syrup. Use it in curry to add some sweetness to the meal.

  • Latin name: Trigonella foenum-graecum
  • Other names: foenugreek, goat's horn, bird's foot
  • Medicinal uses of fenugreek include:
    • Loss of appetite
    • Diabetes
    • Fever
    • Lactation stimulant
    • Tuberculosis


Frankincense is a sweet gum. Use it when making breads from rice as a flavorful binder.

  • Latin name: Boswellia thurifera
  • Other names: luban
  • Frankincense's medicinal uses include:
    • Acne
    • Wounds and scars
    • Bacterial and fungal infections
    • Arthritis
    • Natural insecticide


Galangal is a root that has a taste reminiscent of both pine and citrus.

  • Latin name: Languas galangal or Alpinia galanga
  • Other names: Siamese ginger, galangale, greater galangal, galang, Laos
  • Medicinal uses of galangal include:
    • Bowel spasms
    • Dyspepsia
    • Angina
    • Nausea
    • Antioxidant


Garlic is a bulb that can add a lot of flavor and potency to any meal.

  • Latin name: Allium sativum
  • Other names: poor man's treacle, clown's treacle, Gousse d'ail
  • Health benefits of garlic include:
    • Antioxidant
    • Cancer prevention
    • High blood pressure
    • Respiratory conditions
    • Lower cholesterol


Ginger is a root that has a spicy flavor to it. Use it in stir-fries or add it to sweet dishes for a little kick.

  • Ginger
    Latin name: Zingiber officinale
  • Other names: Jamaica ginger, East Indian pepper, Jamaica pepper
  • Medicinal uses of ginger include:
    • Digestive aid
    • Bowel colic
    • Carminative
    • Dyspepsia
    • Aphrodisiac


Horseradish is a bitter, spicy root. Submerge it immediately after grating in vinegar to keep it from getting too bitter.

  • Latin name: Amoracia rusticana
  • Other names: great raifort, mountain radish, horse plant, red cole
  • Medicinal uses of horseradish include:
    • Sinus and throat conditions
    • Expectorant
    • Diuretic
    • Counter-irritant
    • Source of Vitamin C

Jalapeño Pepper

Jalapeno peppers are a type of hot chili pepper. Use them fresh or dried to add heat and spice to any meal.

  • Latin name: none
  • Other names: cuaresmenos, chiles gordos, huachinangos
  • Health-related benefits of jalapeno pepper include:
    • Anti-carcinogenic
    • Topical analgesic
    • Weight-loss
    • Muscle aches
    • Antioxidant

Juniper Berries

Juniper berries have a pine-like flavor and are used to flavor gin.

  • Latin name: Juniperus communis
  • Other names: juniper fruit, juniper
  • Medicinal uses of juniper berries include:
    • Skin growths
    • Upset stomach
    • Urinary tract disease
    • Gout
    • Kidney tonic


Licorice is a root that gives foods a particular flavor. Use it in both sweet and savory foods.

  • Latin name: Glycyrrhiza glabra
  • Other names: sweetroot, liquorice, black sugar, licorice root
  • Medicinal uses for licorice include:
    • Coughs
    • Eczema
    • Flatulence
    • Sore throat
    • Ulcers


Mace is the outer covering of the Nutmeg seed. It has a similar flavor to Nutmeg, but is more subtle and less intense.

  • Latin name: Myristica fragrans
  • Other names: none
  • Medicinal uses of mace include:
    • Digestive aid
    • Flatulence
    • Appetite stimulant
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea


Mustard comes from a seed that is most often ground into a paste. It has a spicy bite in flavor.

  • Mustard seeds
    Latin name: Brassica alba or Sinapis nigra
  • Other names: yellow mustard, brown mustard, grocer's mustard, Indian mustard
  • Medicinal uses of mustard include:
    • Pain remedy
    • Liniment for arthritis
    • Athlete's foot
    • Appetite stimulant


Nutmeg is a seed commonly used with cinnamon in baked goods, but it also offers other benefits.

  • Latin name: Myristica fragrans
  • Other names: noix muscade, pala
  • Nutmeg's medicinal uses include:
    • Diarrhea
    • Dyspepsia
    • Colic
    • Digestive aid
    • Appetite loss


Onions are bulb vegetables that can be sweet or spicy depending on variety.

  • Latin name: Allium cepa
  • Other names: palandu, oignon
  • Medicinal uses of onions include:
    • Nasal and chest congestion
    • Respiratory ailments
    • Diuretic
    • Antiseptic
    • Skin conditions


Paprika is a type of pepper. It ranges from mild and sweet to spicy in flavor.

  • Latin name: Capiscum annuum
  • Other names: pimento pepper, Hungarian pepper
  • Medicinal uses of paprika include:
    • Source of vitamin A
    • Antioxidant
    • Weight loss
    • Digestive aid
    • Improves sleep


Peppercorns are the berries that black, green, and pink pepper are derived from.

  • Peppercorns
    Latin name: Piper nigrum
  • Other names: black pepper, green pepper, pink pepper
  • Health benefits of peppercorns include:
    • Colds and coughs
    • Weight loss
    • Cardiovacular health
    • Antioxidants
    • Improves nutrient absorption


Saffron is a flower. It has a bright yellow color and a distinctive taste; try it on rice and other bland starches.

  • Latin name: Crocus sativus
  • Other names: kesar, autumn crocus, hay saffron, crocus, gatinais saffron
  • Saffron's medicinal uses include:
    • Asthma
    • Menstrual symptoms
    • Flatulence
    • Sedative
    • Dry skin


Savory is an herb similar to mint. It has a more delicate flavor, so more can be used.

  • Latin name: Satureja Montana or Satureja Hortensis
  • Other names: summer savory, winter savory
  • Savory's medicinal uses include:
    • Digestive tract tonic
    • Antiseptic
    • Diarrhea
    • Sore throat
    • Digestive aid


Sesame is a seed that has a nutty taste. Use it to create your own tahini.

  • Latin name: Sesamum indicum
  • Other names: semsem, simsim, bene seeds, beniseed, gingelly, gingili
  • Medicinal uses for sesame seeds include:
    • Laxative
    • Blood pressure reduction
    • Improve skin elasticity
    • Protection against radiation damage
    • Improve bone health
    • Relif from rheumatoid arthritis

Star Anise

Star Anise is a small seed that comes from a star shaped pod of an evergreen tree. It has a subtle, licorice flavor.

  • Star Anise
    Latin name: Illicium Verum
  • Other names: Chinese anise, anise stars, badain
  • Medicinal uses of star anise include:
    • Diuretic
    • Colic
    • Flatulence
    • Rheumatism
    • Digestive aid


Sumac is a berry with a tart flavor. Add it to savory dishes to deepen the flavor.

  • Latin name: Rhus coriara
  • Other names: sumach, Sicilian sumac, Tanner's sumach, sumak
  • Sumac's medicinal uses include:
    • Bowel conditions
    • Cold, flu and fever
    • Water retention
    • Headaches
    • Asthma

Tabasco Pepper

Tabasco is a type of hot chili pepper most commonly made into hot sauce.

  • Latin name: Capsicum frutescens
  • Other names: bird pepper, African pepper, chili pepper, Mexican chillies, goat's pod, Zanzibar pepper
  • Tabasco pepper's medicinal uses include:
    • Sore throat
    • Digestive aid
    • Colds
    • Arthritis


Tamarind is the seed from an evergreen tree. It has a sweet and sour flavor that works well in sauces.

  • Latin name: Tamarindus indica
  • Other names: tamarindo, Indian date
  • Medicinal uses of tamarind include:
    • Laxative
    • Digestive aid
    • Wounds
    • Sore throat
    • Ulcers
    • Liver disease


Turmeric is a root with a slightly bitter, spicy flavor. Use it as a less expensive substitute for saffron in recipes.

  • Turmeric
    Latin name: Curcuma longa
  • Other names: yellow ginger, Indian saffron
  • Health benefits of turmeric include:
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Antioxidant
    • Cancer prevention
    • Arthritis
    • Depression

Try Cooking With Spices

Cooking with spices or using them for medicinal purposes can take some getting used to, but it's fun to experiment. With the vast number of spices available today, you're sure to find some that will complement your cooking tastes, your medicinal needs, and your lifestyle.

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List of 40 Spices