Spices can be grouped into five basic categories. These are; sweet, pungent, tangy, hot, and amalgamating. The way we use these and the amounts we put into cooking are governed by these characteristics. Examples of the different types of spices are;
Sweet: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, vanilla
Pungent: cloves, star anise, cardamom
Tangy: ginger, tamarind, sumach, kokam
Hot: pepper, chilli, mustard, horseradish
Amalgamating: coriander seed, fennel seed.
Then most of the herbs (such as thyme, sage, marjoram, oregano, bay leaves, mint and rosemary) are referred to as savoury. The herbs do have varying degrees of flavour intensity, however not as dramatic as with spices.