McCormick Science Institute

Frequently Asked Questions


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Science and Research Questions

What is the Difference Between a Herb and a Spice?

Spices and herbs are only slightly different. An herb is generally defined as the leaf of a plant when used in cooking, but any other part of the plant, often dried, can be a spice. Spices can be the buds (cloves), bark (cinnamon), roots (ginger), berries (peppercorns), aromatic seeds (cumin), and even the stigma of a flower (saffron). Many of the aromatic seeds known as spices are actually gathered from plants when they have finished flowering. A familiar example would be coriander, with the leaves being referred to as an herb, and the dried seeds as a spice. When referring to the stem and roots of coriander, which are used in cooking, and to onions, garlic and the bulb of fennel, these parts of these plants tend to be classified along with herbs, as they are often used fresh and applied in a similar way to cooking.

Where can I go for information about clinical trials?, provides information on federal and private medical studies involving patients and others at thousands of locations nationwide at This is an independent third party website, and MSI is not affiliated with such website.

Where can I find information about alternative medicine?

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines (NCCAM) Website is located at NCCAM conducts and supports basic and applied research and training and disseminates information on complementary and alternative medicine to practitioners and the public. This is an independent third party website, and MSI is not affiliated with such website.

Questions About MSI

What is the McCormick Science Institute?

The McCormick Science Institute is a research-driven organization whose mission is to support scientific research and disseminate information on the health benefits of culinary herbs and spices to all stakeholders including consumers and health professionals. The Institute is led by nutrition scientists and guided by a Scientific Advisory Council consisting of internationally-renown scientists and health professionals from leading research institutions.

When Was The McCormick Science Institute Formed?

The McCormick Science Institute was formed in January 2007.

What is the relationship between the McCormick Science Institute and McCormick & Company, Inc.?

Answer: McCormick Science Institute is an independent research driven organization. McCormick & Company, Inc. supports the initiatives of the McCormick Science Institute through funding.

Does MSI endorse any treatments for health conditions?

The McCormick Science Institute does not endorse any treatment or provide any medical advice. The findings, views and opinions of scientists and health professionals in all information disseminated by MSI are for the sole purpose of educating interested parties on the current body of scientific findings on the health benefits of culinary spices and herbs.

Is the content on the MSI Website copyrighted or free to use?

Most of the information on our site can be used without charge or restriction. While you can reuse this content, please note that much of our information is periodically updated as we learn more about that specific research area. If you copy and re-post our information and fail to check for updates, you may be offering out-of-date information to your users or violating certain copyright laws. For that reason, we urge you to link to our resource documents rather than re-posting.

MSI does not own some of the content on this site and that content cannot be copied or otherwise used. For any publication on this site that is not marked as an MSI-funded research study, unless the publication clearly states that it is free for any use, you should assume that the publication is protected by copyright law. Such publications should not be copied without permission.

Images on the site have been licensed from a third party and are restricted in their use. Therefore, images may not be used.

What is the policy for using the MSI logo?

You may use the MSI logo only in accordance with the following guidelines. The MSI logo remains the property of MSI. The MSI logo may only be used to signify MSI research, programs, initiatives, representatives and facilities. The MSI logo may never be used to (a) promote or suggest endorsement of a non-MSI research or program, or (b) misrepresent the purpose, character, policies, or mission of MSI. You may not (a) copy or distribute the MSI logo beyond the use described above; (b) modify or alter the MSI logo structure, design, or colors; (c) combine the MSI logo with other images; or (d) distort, animate, or fragment the MSI logo. If you agree to comply with these guidelines, please click here for a .jpeg image of the logo.

May I link to the MSI Website?

Unless noted otherwise, the information posted on the "" domain is considered to be "in the public domain." As such, you are free to establish links to MSI on-line resources. In establishing such links, do not create the impression that MSI is endorsing or promoting any particular product, service or treatment, unless you have written authorization from MSI.

Does MSI funding support research conducted on animals?

No. One of the conditions for MSI funding is that the research is not conducted on experimental animals.