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Thai Herbs and Spices: A Complete Guide on Using Them

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Thai Herbs and Spices: A Complete Guide on Using Them

Many Thai cuisine fans are fully aware that Thai herbs and spices are the reason they are crazy for Thai meals. Herbs and spices are sometimes interchanged, and this is no different with Thai herbs and spices. Here is a little secret: not many spices and herbs originate from Thai; many were brought to the country by visitors. It was the Portuguese who first produced an ingredient like chilli. Nevertheless, several herbs and spices originate from the lands of Thailand.

Here in this article, you will meet some Thai herbs and spices; you should prepare yourself because your brain may have multiple dopamine releases.

Thai Herbs and Spices: A Complete Guide on Using Them

Nine Thailand herbs and spices

Apart from Thai herbs, some other herbs originate from Asia and are beneficial to your health. A great example is Kratom, and one of its most potent strains is maeng da kratom. You can learn more about the benefits of white maeng da kratom here.

1. Thai Chili peppers

Another name for this chilli pepper is bird pepper because birds feed on them. The people of Thailand are very thoughtful when giving names; a good example is chilli pepper; Prik Chee Fah means “chilli pointing to the sky.” The bird pepper comes in two colours, if you want it green, you should pluck it early, and if you want it red, you can pluck it late after allowing it to ripen under the sun.

The red colour intensifies when the pepper becomes more dried, and its colour is behind the bright red colour of curry. The bird pepper also comes in two sizes; the long one and the other is squat and rounded. The chilli pepper has benefits such as:

  • Promotes a healthy heart
  • Relieves joint pain
  • Reduces cancer risk
  • Mitigates migraine

Thai Herbs and Spices: A Complete Guide on Using Them

2. Coriander Root (Rak-Pak-chee)

This Thai herb is used for garnishing, but you would not easily find it at the grocery store, and also, not many cultures use the seasoning for cooking. Aside from this, the people of Thailand ground the roots to make a paste through mashing or crushing using a mortar; thanks to the flavour and aroma, many soups in Thailand have unique tastes. Some surprising benefits of coriander include:

  • Coriander might assist in reducing blood sugar.
  • It is rich in antioxidants and displays immune-boosting, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects.
  • Coriander may help with digestion and gut health.

3. Holy Basil (Bai ka-prow)

You can’t talk about Thai herbs and spices without including the holy or Thai basil. It is the main ingredient in one of the famous dishes in Thailand known as pad kra pao. The leaves could be used as a garnish or in a stew with a dish. You can find Basil in Asia grocery stores or supermarkets. The holy basil can be consumed in many ways with the following benefits:

  • Basil flower to treat bronchitis
  • Basil leaves and seeds with a mix of black pepper to treat malaria.
  • The basil plant may help treat diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
  • The basil ointment and pill to treat eczema
  • Basil essential oil (i.e., using the leaves) to treat insect bites

Thai Herbs and Spices: A Complete Guide on Using Them

4. Bay Leaves (Bl krawan)

Thai Bay leaves are usually imported from India or planted on the mountain; they are different from laurel Bay Leaves found in Europe. They are aromatic leaves that are generally added in dried forms to meals. Their everyday use includes stock, soup and they are also added to the curry. Some of the benefits of taking bay leaves include:

  • Bay leaves are nutritious in potassium, magnesium, vitamin A and C, iron, and calcium.
  • The leaves may treat migraines.
  • The leaves possess enzymes that may help break down food which solves the problem of indigestion.

5. Ginger (Khing)

The use of ginger in Thai is influenced by how traditional China uses theirs in their cooking. The Thai use khing as topping in congee, steamed fish, and Chinese vinegar-based sauces. Ginger is beneficial when it comes to digestion. Its other benefits include:

  • Ginger may treat any form of cause, including morning sickness.
  • Ginger may help with weight loss and osteoarthritis.
  • Antidiabetic property: it can reduce blood sugar and improve the condition of the heart.

6. Culantro (pak chi farang)

Culantro means European coriander as it was brought to Thailand from the Caribbean by Europeans. Its use is every day in spicy soups and Northern Thai curries. Cilantro native to Mexico and South America is sometimes confused with Coriander, whose leaves are known as cilantro.

7. Cumin (yee-rah)

Cumin is widely used for its distinct but strong flavour; they are usually roasted and pounded, the pounded cumin is added to curry to strengthen the taste and aroma. Cumin is rich in antioxidants which fight free radicals and inflammation. Other benefits of cumin include

  • It may help treat diarrhea and control blood sugar.
  • Cumin may fight bacteria and parasites.
  • It may lower the level of bad cholesterol in the body.

8. Turmeric (Khmin)

Turmeric, also known as golden spice, is used in varieties of Thai dishes, for example, Yellow Curry and Massaman Curry, as ground turmeric is the main ingredient in curry. The spice Turmeric has quite an endless number of benefits such as:

  • Turmeric may treat arthritis due to its inflammatory property.
  • Furthermore, Turmeric can serve as an ingredient for pain relief.
  • The curcumin contained in turmeric may treat cancer.

Garlic (Kratiam)

9. Garlic (Kratiam)

Garlic is one of the foremost spices in Thailand. It is used in cooking ranging from soup to curry pastes to every stir-fried dish to a topping in several Thai cuisines. Benefits of taking garlic include:

  • Garlic can combat cold.
  • Garlic is nutritious in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese, but it is low-calorie.
  • The active compounds in garlic can help reduce blood sugar.
  • Garlic can lower the low-density level cholesterol.


Which of these herbs or spices do you use at home currently, and which would you like to try? Not only are these herbs and spices famous, but they also comprise several medicinal properties that can assist you with numerous ailments.


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