Herbs & Spices

It isn't always clear what types of herbs and/or spices go into authentic Thai dishes, so we've decided to help you out by identifying and explaining some of the more common ones. Below is some information on the traditional herbs and spices that we use in our Thai cuisine.

If you have any further questions, please do visit our "Contact Us" page and send us an email.

Chilli | Phrik

Chilli grows on an upright, branched, shrub-like plant, bearing fruits that are used as herbs to garnish and flavour many Thai dishes. There is a broad variety of subspecies. All contain capsaicin, an active component of the spice, which causes a sensation of burning with any tissue it comes into contact with, therefore the hot flavours experienced in consumption of any dishes cooked with chilli. This biological ingredient, however, has beneficial properties for the respiratory system, blood pressure, and heart. Other therapeutic uses for the chilli include using it as a carminative and anti flatulence agent, and digestant.

Cumin | Yi Ra

Cumin is harvested from the fruit of a small shrub. The fruit contains a small amount of volatile oil with a strong odour, which is used for flavouring or as a condiment. Cumin have been used traditionally to cure stomach aches, as a bitter tonic, carminative, stimulant, and astringent.

Garlic | Kra Teeam

Garlic is and annual herbaceous plant with underground bulbs comprising of several cloves. Dried mature bulbs are used as flavouring or as a condiment in a lot of Asian cuisines. Therapeutic uses include antimicrobial, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, anti flatulence, and cholesterol lowering agents.

Ginger | Khing

Ginger is an upright plant with thickened, fleshy, and aromatic rhizomes, being the herb that is used in cooking. The herb is used in different forms to add flavour to dishes. It sometimes could also be consumed by itself, raw, cooked, or pickled, as a delicacy. Ginger has a stringy, harsh, but juicy texture, with a very strong aroma. It can be used as a carminative, antinauseant, and an antiflatulence agent.

Galanga | Kha

The greater galanga is an upright annual plant with aromatic, ginger-like rhizomes, and is commonly used in Thai cooking. The 0.04% of volatile oil present in the herb has beneficial properties that allow it to be used in therapeutic processes such as a carminative, stomachic, antirheumatic, and antimicrobial agents.

Hoary Basil | Maang Lak

Hoary Basil is an annual herbaceous plant with slightly hairy and pale green leaves, eaten either raw or used as a flavouring, and containing approximately 0.7% volatile oil. Therapeutic benefits include the alleviation of cough symptoms, and as diaphoretic and carminative agents.

Kaffir | Ma Krut

The leaves, peel and juice of the Kaffir Lime are one of the main herbs used in Thai cuisine. The leaves and peel contain a volatile oil. The major therapeutic benefit of the juice is as an appetizer.

Lemon Grass | Tha Khrai

This erect annual plant resembles a coarse gray-green grass. Fresh leaves and grass are used as flavouring. Lemon grass contains a 0.2-0.4 volatile oil. Therapeutic properties are as a diuretic, emmanagogue, antiflatulence, anti flu and antimicrobial agent.

Lime | Ma Nao

Lime, unlike most other herbs and spices used in Thai cooking, grows on an upright tree that are typically 20-40metres tall. The citrus fruit contains a sour and acidic pulp that is used principally for accenting the flavours and garnishing fish and meat dishes, as well as various beverages. The fruit are a good source of vitamin c, and contain antiinflammatory flavonoids. Lime juice is sometimes used as an appetizer, and has antitussive, anti flu, stomachic and antiscorbutic properties.

Marsh Mint | Sa Ra Nae

The fresh leaves of this herbaceous plant are used as a flavouring and eaten raw in Thai cuisine. Volatile oil contents give the plant several therapeutic uses, including carminative, mild antiseptic, local anesthetic, diaphoretic and digestant properties.

Pepper | Phrik Thai

Pepper is a branching, perennial climbing plant from whose fruiting spikes both white and black pepper are obtained. Used as a spice and condiment, pepper contains a 2-4% volatile oil. Therapeutic uses are as carminative, antipyretic, diaphoretic and diuretic agents.

Sacred Basil | Ka Phrao

Sacred Basil is an annual herbaceous plant that resembles Sweet Basil but has narrower and often times reddish-purple leaves. The fresh leaves, which are used as a flavouring, contain approximately 0.5% volatile oil, which exhibits antimicrobial activity, specifically as a carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant and stomachic.

Small Red Onions | Hua Hom

Shallots, or small red onions, are annual herbaceous plants. Underground bulbs comprise garlic-like cloves. Shallot bulbs contain a volatile oil, and are used as flavouring or seasoning agents. Therapeutic properties include the alleviation of stomach discomfort, and as an antihelmintic, antidiarrhoeal, expectorant, antitussive, diuretic and anti flu agents.

Sweet Basil | Ho Ra Pha

Sweet Basil is an annual herbaceous plant, the fresh leaves of which are either eaten raw or used as a flavouring in Thai cooking. Volatile oil content varies according to different varieties. Therapeutic properties are as carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, digestant and stomachic agents.

Turmeric | Kha Min

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family, and provides yellow colouring for Thai food. The rhizomes contain a 3-4% volatile oil with unique aromatic characteristics. Turmeric's therapeutic properties manifest as a carminative, antiflatulence and stomachic.