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What Are the Different Parts of a Herb?

There are some herbs that are valuable because the whole plant is used. Others are only useful for individual parts. Plants have many complicated names for their different parts but here well deal with the most common.


Flowers are the part used extensively for the distilling of essential oils. Some flowers can be added to food. It is from flowers that we usually get the marvelous scents to add to bath salts, shampoos and cosmetics. Usually the whole flower, including the stamens is crushed. Many flowers can also be dried to be used in pot pourri. These include all the roses.

Seeds, berries, and fruits

Seeds, berries, and fruits of many herbs are used in decoctions of dried for use in cooking. Some fruits are used ground in cosmetics and bath products. Many are also ground to make spices for food. This is very common in Asia. The range of citrus fruit are also used in cosmetics.


One of the most useful parts of most herbs. Leaves can be crushed to add to various recipes for relief from health problems, or added to food. There are few herbs where the leaves are not useful. Its important to filter any recipe made with leaves that bear tiny hairs.


Stems are the parts of the plant visible above the ground. Some herbs are best known for their stems, such as chives. Soft stems can be included with the leaves but if they are tough, they are often discarded, as with lemongrass. The trunks of some trees are also used in natural medicine. These include cedar and sandalwood.

Roots, rhizomes, tubers and bulbs

Roots are usually the underground parts of a plant. They keep the plant firm in the ground, and absorb nutrients from the soil. These are often the bulk of the plant and take careful removal from the ground. Ginger and horseradish are two plants that are renowned for the roots. The flavor is often strong and so only a little is needed to enhance food. They are often used to make tea. Garlic is probably the most well-known bulb.

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