Herbal KnowledgeMay 20, 2024

The Taste of Herbs

Exploring the Taste of Herbs

We often say that herbs speak your body’s language, and taste is one of the many ways we can connect with plants. It’s also crucial in organoleptic analysis, where sight, smell, and taste are used to ensure the correct identification of raw herbs.

The primary tastes in herbalism are sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and umami. The taste of a plant comes from their phytochemicals. When you smell the plant and taste it on your tongue, it signals a response in your body. The sensations can range from increasing saliva to activating the body’s digestive process.

Get to know the 5 main tastes you’ll come across in herbalism, along with some ideas for embracing the flavor of herbs.


You can almost feel the pucker starting as soon as you hear the word! Sour tastes are often astringent and indicate the presence of an acid that contributes to the sour flavor, like citric acid in Lemons. Some examples of sour herbs are Hibiscus, Elderberry, Bilberry, and Amla.


In herbalism, when an herb is described as sweet, it’s not quite the same as your favorite candy. It’s usually very subtle and could describe the aroma of the herb. Some examples of sweet herbs are Maca, Marshmallow, Fennel, and Licorice.


Here’s a fun fact! Did you know many salty-tasting herbs grow along or in the ocean? Common examples are Seaweeds and plants that absorb salt through their roots. Some other examples of salty herbs are Bladderwrack, Dulse, Glasswort, or Sea Bean.


Bitter-tasting herbs are very interesting, so much so, we wrote a whole article about bitter plants and digestion! You may find yourself averse to bitter tastes, but this group of herbs is known for supporting the digestive system. Some examples are Gentian, Artichoke, Goldenseal, and Wormwood.*


Umami is a rich, savory, or meaty flavor. It’s often referred to as “the fifth taste,” and has become a bit of a buzzword in the culinary scene. In herbalism, you’ll come across umami flavors in Garlic and mushrooms like Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, and more.

Other Herbal Flavors of Note

There are many other tastes you might come across when researching or trying liquid herbal extracts. Earthy flavors, like the taste of Echinacea, are often deep and mineral-like, reminding us of the soil. Pungent herbs, like Black Pepper, Ginger, and Turmeric, have a spicy, strong flavor. And unsurprisingly, some plants taste very herbaceous or vegetal, meaning they’re simply grassy, green, or almost vegetable-tasting. Some examples of that would be Chickweed or Oat.

Embracing Taste with Mocktails

Making mocktails is one of our favorite ways to let the unique natural flavors of our liquid herbal extracts shine. Just like our herbal products themselves, all of our mocktail recipes are formulated by herbalists. They include thoughtful blends of ingredients that still let you taste and experience the herb. If you’re in the mood to get creative in the kitchen, check out all of our herbal recipes here.

A Taste-Free Experience

Everyone has different likes, dislikes, and tolerance levels for things like taste, sounds, sights, and textures. We totally understand that taste can be a sensory struggle for some people! To get an idea of what one of our liquid herbal extracts tastes like, you can always check the “Flavor Profile” tab on the lower portion of our product page descriptions. That will give you cues like spicy, slightly sweet, bitter, etc. To mitigate the taste of some herbs, a serving can always be taken in at least 2 oz. of juice. Alternatively, you may also consider completely taste-free options like our new capsules.