17 Most Exotic Herbs Around the World

Add flavor to your cuisines with the Most Exotic Herbs from different countries and origins with distinct flavor and fragrance!

Herbs add a wonderful array of lip-smacking flavor and inviting fragrances to cuisines. For you to take the most advantage of them, we have compiled a list of the Most Exotic Herbs from different countries that’ll help you make your cuisines a little more extraordinary!

Check out our article on herbs every man should grow here


Some of the Most Exotic Herbs

1. Asafoetida

Most Exotic Herbs

Botanical Name: Ferula assa-foetida

Flavor: Emits a pungent smell and tastes like leek

Native Place: Central Asia

USDA Zones: 3-8

Asafoetida, also known as ‘Hing’ is extracted from ferula plant is essentially a gum, widely used in Iranian, Indian, and Aghani cuisines where a pinch of it can supercharge the flavor of any food in the pan like magic!

Fun Fact: It also lowers blood pressure and has uses in Ayurveda

2. Pineapple Sage

 

Botanical Name: Salvia elegans

Flavor: Leaves have a mixed aroma of pineapple and common sage

Native Place: Mexico and Guatemala

USDA Zones: 8-10

The herb offers a tangy taste with a distinct aroma that goes best in tea, desserts, and salads. The plant also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.

3. Vietnamese Balm

Most Exotic Herbs 2

Botanical Name: Elsholtzia ciliata

Flavor: Lemon-scented flavor with a hint of mint

Native Place: Asia

USDA Zones: 5-9

There’s no substitute for this exotic herb thanks to its unique flavor and aroma. The tea made from its leaves has soothing effects. For culinary uses, it pairs well with meat dishes.

4. Shiso

Botanical Name: Perilla frutescens var. crispa

Flavor: Mixed flavor that includes the aroma of mint, citrus, basil, anise, and coriander

Native Place: India and China

USDA Zones: 9-11

Also known as purple perilla and beefsteak plant, its leaves are the main ingredient in sashimi, soups, and sushi. It can also be added into salads, green tea, and stir-fries.

Check out our article on growing shisho here

5. Wasabi

Most Exotic Herbs 3

Botanical Name: Eutrema japonicum

Flavor: Has a pungent yet delicate flavor with a sweet underlying taste

Native Place: Japan

USDA Zones: 8-10

This perennial herb has thick heart-shaped upright leaves. All parts of wasabi are edible, and you can add it in cold soba, sushi, sashimi, udon noodles, and seafood.

Here is everything you need to know on growing wasabi in pots

6. Thai Basil

 

Botanical Name: Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora

Flavor: Like licorice, anise, and cloves with a pleasing aroma of sweet basil

Native Place: Southeast Asia

USDA Zones: 4-9

Popular in Southeast Asia, this ornamental herb has purple stems with veined leaves. Tastes best when used fresh in Thai curries, noodles, tea and meat dishes.

7. Greek Oregano

Most Exotic Herbs 4

Botanical Name: Origanum vulgare var. hirtum

Flavor: Sweet with a hint of bitterness

Native Place: Mediterranean

USDA Zones: 5-9

Also known as ‘Rigani,’ this ornamental plant has hairy dark green leaves with small white flowers. This exotic herb is a star ingredient in Greek salad, meat, and soups.

8. Culantro

Botanical Name: Eryngium foetidum

Flavor: Pungent smell and mildly bitter taste like cilantro but on a strong side

Native Place: Mexico and South America

USDA Zones: 4-9

Mexican coriander or culantro has long serrated leaves with both culinary and medicinal uses. It is popular in Latin American, Southeast Asia, and Caribbean cooking.

Check out our article on Growing Culantro here

9. Fish Mint

Most Exotic Herbs 5

Botanical Name: Houttuynia cordata

Flavor: Distinct fish flavor with roots having a strong cilantro taste

Native Place: Southeast Asia, China, Korea, and Japan

USDA Zones: 3-8

As the name suggests, the leaves have a slightly tangy and fish flavor. It is mainly used fresh in salads, spring rolls, grilled meats, fish, and other Asian cooking.

10. Pennywort

Botanical Name: Centella asiatica

Flavor: Fresh leaves have a strong, grassy aroma

Native Place: Wetlands in Asia

USDA Zones: 5-11

Pennywort is a relative of carrot and parsley. It has both culinary and medicinal uses, but it is mostly sold as juice. The leaves can be consumed raw, pickled, dried, or sauteed.

11. Rice Paddy Herb

Most Exotic Herbs 6

Botanical Name: Limnophila aromatica

Flavor: Sharp citrus and cumin-like taste

Native Place: Southeast Asia

USDA Zones: 6-10

Also known as finger grass, it is mostly used in Vietnamese cuisines, Thai curries, and soups. The herb is also a good replacement for cumin after the tender sprigs are chopped.

12. French Sorrel

Botanical Name: Rumex scutatus

Flavor: Has a mix of tarty and green apple taste

Native Place: Europe and Central Asia

USDA Zones: 3-9

Sorrel has arrow-shaped leaves on juicy stems. Its tangy, lemon-like sourness goes great with fish while you can also steam or saute leaves like spinach.

13. Papalo

Most Exotic Herbs 7

Botanical Name: Porpphyllum ruderale

Flavor: Sharp flavor which is a blend of rue, cilantro, and arugula

Native Place: Mexico, Central, and South America

USDA Zones: 9-11

This green leafy herb has pungent, egg-shaped leaves that are used for seasoning. It is popular in Pueblan cooking, where leaves are used fresh in salsa, tacos, and sandwiches.

Here is everything you need to know about growing Papalo

14. Vicks Plant

Botanical Name: Plectranthus hadiensis var. tomentosa

Flavor: Mint and camphor-like fragrance

Native Place: Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar

USDA Zones: 9-12

Popular for camphor and mint-like fragrance, its fuzzy, velvety leaves can be steeped in boiling water to vaporize the oils that can be inhaled to clear nasal passages.

15. Mexican Mint

Most Exotic Herbs 8

Botanical Name: Plectranthus amboinicus

Flavor: Pungent oregano-like aroma and taste

Native Place: Origin is unknown

USDA Zones: 8-11

Also known as Cuban oregano, its fresh leaves are served in meat and vegetarian cuisines, while dried leaves are often used in soups and stews.

16. Betel Leaf

Botanical Name: Piper betel

Flavor: Peppery taste on a slightly bitter side

Native Place: Southeast Asia

USDA Zones: 9-11

Betel leaf has waxy green, heart-shaped leaves that are prized with medicinal and culinary properties.

Fun Fact: It is popular in countries like Bhutan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India for making mouth-freshener Paan served with areca nut, gulkand, and tobacco.

Check out our article on growing betel leaf plant here

17. Lemongrass

 

Botanical Name: Cymbopogon citratus

Flavor: Lemon-like tangy and refreshing taste

Native Place: Southeast Asia

USDA Zones: 8-10

This exotic culinary herb emits a lemony scent and flavor. Dried or fresh tender stems are widely used in making herbal teas, soups, chicken, and seafood.

Here’s all the information on growing lemongrass¬†

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