herb ûrb, hûrb [key], name for any plant that is used medicinally or as a spice and for the useful product of such a plant. Herbs as condiments and seasonings are still important in culinary art the use of medicinal herbs, however, has waned since the advent of prescription and synthetic medicines, although plants remain a major source of drugs. The term herb is also applied to all herbaceous plants as distinguished from woody plants.

See R. E. Clarkson, Herbs, their Culture and Uses (1966) G. B. Foster, Herbs for Every Garden (rev. ed. 1973) A. and C. Krochmal, A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of the United States (1974).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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