A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, leaf, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for the purpose of flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth.

Many of these spices are also used for other purposes, such as medicine, religious rituals, cosmetics, perfumery or eating as vegetables.

For example, turmeric is also used as a preservative; licorice as a medicine; garlic as a vegetable.

Spices are dried and often ground or grated into a powder.

Small seeds, such as fennel and mustard seeds, are used both whole and in powder form. Spices can be grouped as:

• Dried fruits or seeds, such as fennel, mustard, and black pepper.

• Arils, such as mace.

• Barks, such as cinnamon and cassia.

• Dried buds, such as cloves.

• Stamens, such as saffron.

• Roots and rhizomes, such as turmeric, ginger and galingale.

• Resins, such as asa foetida.