8 Most Expensive Herbs in the World

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Herbs have been used for thousands of years in medicinal and cooking preparations. Both their flavors and potential medicinal effects make them quite literally the earliest medicine. Today, while mainstream medical science has synthesized many equivalent remedies, herbs are still often used in alternative treatments, as supplements, and of course in cooking for their wide range of benefits.

Naturally, the best herbs also come at the highest prices. Continue reading to learn about the 8 most expensive herbs that money can buy.

8. Gol Gav Zaban

Price: $3.35 per ounce
Region: Iran
Taste: Mild, aromatic

photo source: ShopiPersia

Borage flower, also known as Viper’s buglosses, are harvested into the herb known as Gol Gav Zaban in Iranian medicinal preparations. Gol Gav Zaban is frequently infused into teas to given them added disease-fighting properties, particularly when detoxing, cleansing, or fighting colds. It makes a good mix with lemon and an effective medicinal pairing with saffron.

The herb is known for its inviting effects and vibrant blue flowers. The flavor of the plant is described as mellow and fresh, similar to the taste of cucumber. In preparations, Gol Gav Zaban soothes, warms, and invigorates.

Its other popular medicinal uses include using the herb as a topical to treat rashes and boils as well as in balms that can soothe the symptoms of arthritis or gastritis.

High-quality Gol Gav Zaban sells for as much as $3.35 per ounce.

Did you know?

The name “Gol Gav Zaban” means “flower cow tongue” and refers to the literal cow tongue flower, which is the nickname for this herb’s plant.

7. Rumi Mastagi

Price: $4.26 per ounce
Region: Iran
Taste: Sweet honey
Rumi Mastagi
photo source: India Mart

Rumi Mastagi is a resin sourced from mastic gum, most often used as a medicinal herb in Ayurvedic medicine, which is a traditional Indian alternative to other remedies. The gum is gathered from the mastic tree, hence the name, also known as Pistacia lentiscus, by stripping its trunk. In its natural form, rumi mastagi is light yellow and tastes sweet like honey.

Indian mastagi has many purported health benefits, including uses as an antimicrobial, anti-bacterial, antifungal, anticancer, anti-arthritic, and even hypotensive supplement. This herb can be bought for around $4.26 per ounce.

Did you know?

Ayurveda is natural alternative medicine that traces its roots back to India circa 3,000 years ago. The medicine practices the idea that conscious and spiritual imbalances are what lead to disease. Therefore, Ayurvedics follow not only the practices of healthy eating and herbal supplementation but also include using yoga, meditation, and massage to achieve health through mindfulness.

6. Passion Flowers

Price: $4.46 per ounce
Region: Iran
Taste: Mild, earthy
Passion Flowers
photo source: ShopiPersia

Passion flowers or Passiflora are known for being highly nutritious while adding almost no calories to your daily intake. This is why they are frequently used in organic tea blends in their sun-dried or fresh form.

The ability of passion flowers to relax, soothe, and regulate makes them popular with those who suffer from insomnia as a before-bed drink. Women who suffer from postmenopausal issues like hot flashes can also use the antioxidant potential of passion flowers to find relief.

As an herbal remedy, passion flowers can boost energy, provide relaxing calm before bed, regulate an irregular mood, relieve pain and anxiety, or even aid with weight loss. This multipurpose herb can cost $4.46 per ounce.

Did you know?

Passion flower is a common base for herbal teas and can be used all by itself. However, it is a particularly potent addition to teas containing lemon balm or chamomile since their relaxing properties stack. The earthy, mild taste of passion flower can even help your body and mind stay calm before a surgical procedure or other stressful events.

5. Pippali

Price: $4.69 per ounce
Region: Indonesia, Thailand, India
Taste: Spicy, sweet
photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Pippali is also known as “long pepper,” an herb with a mellower, sweeter flavor than a common peppercorn but still containing enough spicy terpenes to give your food a little kick. The long pepper is most commonly sourced from India but is also prevalent in Thailand and Indonesia.

Piper longum is the Latin name for pippali, which differs from the plant that produces normal black pepper (piper nigrum) in that the seeds are even smaller and mellower. Alternative medicinal practices in India, collectively known as Ayurveda, often use pippali in their recipes, taking advantage of the benefits of piperine, the chemical compound in these plants that gives them both their spicy flavor and their medicinal properties.

Pippali can sell for as much as $4.69 per ounce on luxury spice markets.

Did you know?

Piperine is widely touted for its medicinal benefits. It is known for fighting tumors, enhancing heart health, lowering blood sugar, aiding weight loss, fighting microbial infections, and even regulating immune systems. It is not only the major benefit of the herbs that contain it but is often extracted and added separately to supplements to enhance their effects.

4. Violet Flowers

Price: $6.19 per ounce
Region: Iran
Taste: Sweet
Violet Flowers
photo source: ShopiPersia

Violet flowers grow to the north in the mountains of Iran, wherever there’s high humidity. Violet flowers are frequently used in herbal extractions for cosmetic benefits as the flowers are known for their ability to rejuvenate skin and hair. They also have potential to naturally treat hemorrhoids.

These flowers don’t have to be processed into medicine, however. They can also be added to snacks, teas, salads, or smoothies, which will impart them with vibrant violet colors and the plant’s sweet flavor. The best violet flowers can sell for up to $6.19 per ounce.

Did you know?

The medicinal uses of violet flowers stem from the abundance of vitamin A and vitamin C that they contain. They can not only flavor a delicious tea or dessert but enhance its medicinal chemical cocktail at the same time.

3. Fennel Pollen

Price: $8.23 per ounce
Region: Italy
Taste: Citrus, anise
Fennel Pollen
photo source: Flickr

Italian fennel pollen can be dried into a spice, but it can also be used as a fresh herb, which is fragrant and crisp compared to the dried fennel normally bought in supermarkets. Its flavor profile consists of citrus overtones with a bite of anise, more commonly known as the flavor of licorice, and a hint of marshmallow.

Italian cooking frequently uses the herb form of fennel to create amazing rubs for meat and blends for seafood flavoring. Even some Tuscan desserts use fennel pollen for flavoring, such as in fresh gelato or sour fruit scones.

Fennel pollen in herb form can sell for as much as $8.23 per ounce.

Did you know?

Fennel pollen sourced directly from Italy must be hand-picked in flower form and either sold fresh or dried for spices. The fennel oil that the herb contains is what creates its unique scent and can be harvested separately for herb extractions like essential fennel oil, which has its own range of medicinal benefits.

2. Sargol Saffron

Price: $48.94 per ounce
Region: Iran
Taste: Earthy, sweet
Sargol Saffron
photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Saffron is the world’s most expensive herb and spice, depending on the form in which it’s used. While Sargol saffron is not the priciest, it easily beats out all other herbs for the #2 spot. “Sargol” in the Farsi language means “top of the flower,” which refers to the growing pattern of the saffron stigmas on the top of the plant.

When harvested, these stigmas are threads or strands that are then assessed for quality. Orange or yellow strands are less potent and therefore less valuable than red ones. Sargol saffron from Iran can cost as much as $48.94 per ounce.

Did you know?

Saffron’s medicinal and culinary potential stems from its vitamin and mineral content, which is rich in potassium, magnesium, Vitamin C, and copper. In food, saffron is a common addition to luxury dishes, especially risotto, khoresh, or paella, rice dishes from different countries around the world (Italy, Iran, and Spain, respectively).

1. Super Negheen Saffron

Price: $90.94 per ounce
Region: Iran
Taste: Earthy, sweet
Super Negheen Saffron
photo source: Saffron USA

The most expensive herb is Super Negheen Saffron. This saffron is also the most expensive spice in the world, the difference being whether the plant is in its freshly picked form or its dried one. Fresh Super Negheen Saffron is also known as the most valuable herb due to its powerfully sweet, earthy flavor. The redder the herb, the more potent it is.

Saffron is well-regarded for its health benefits, which have been in use since ancient Persia and Greece even 3,500 years ago. The Sumerians even used this herb as far as back as the 1,000s not only for flavoring and medicine but in perfumes and dyes as well.

The highest quality saffron in the world sells for around $90 per ounce or more.

Did you know?

The herb known as the “red gold” has been so valuable for so long that it even caused a European war back in 1347. It started when a group of opportunistic noblemen hijacked a huge saffron shipment (over 800 pounds) heading from Iran to Switzerland, triggering a modestly destructive two-country war that lasted for almost 100 days.


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