Summary: The dried seeds, bark, root, stems, buds, leaves, or fruit of aromatic plants used to season food.

Top Publications

  1. Tapsell L, Hemphill I, Cobiac L, Patch C, Sullivan D, Fenech M, et al. Health benefits of herbs and spices: the past, the present, the future. Med J Aust. 2006;185:S4-24 pubmed
    Herbs and spices have a traditional history of use, with strong roles in cultural heritage, and in the appreciation of food and its links to health...
  2. Singh U, Singh D, Maurya S, Maheshwari R, Singh M, Dubey R, et al. Investigation on the phenolics of some spices having pharmacotherapeuthic properties. J Herb Pharmacother. 2004;4:27-42 pubmed
    b>Spices are an important group of agricultural commodities being used by many civilizations all over the world to aid flavor, taste and nutritional values in the food...
  3. Fazekas B, Tar A, Kovacs M. Aflatoxin and ochratoxin A content of spices in Hungary. Food Addit Contam. 2005;22:856-63 pubmed
    ..1-15.7 microg kg(-1)). Of the other spices assayed, the AFB1 contamination of one chilli sample exceeded 5 microg kg(-1) (8.1 microg kg(-1))...
  4. Fankam A, Kuete V, Voukeng I, Kuiate J, Pages J. Antibacterial activities of selected Cameroonian spices and their synergistic effects with antibiotics against multidrug-resistant phenotypes. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011;11:104 pubmed publisher
    ..present study was designed to evaluate the antibacterial activities of the methanol extracts of eleven Cameroonian spices on a panel of twenty nine Gram negative bacteria including MDR strains...
  5. Viuda Martos M, Ruiz Navajas Y, Fernandez Lopez J, Perez Alvarez J. Spices as functional foods. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2011;51:13-28 pubmed publisher
    b>Spices and aromatic herbs have been used since antiquity as preservatives, colorants, and flavor enhancers...
  6. Ninfali P, Mea G, Giorgini S, Rocchi M, Bacchiocca M. Antioxidant capacity of vegetables, spices and dressings relevant to nutrition. Br J Nutr. 2005;93:257-66 pubmed
    ..In this study, twenty-seven vegetables, fifteen aromatic herbs and some spices consumed in Central Italy (the Marches region) were studied to reveal total phenolic, flavonoid and flavanol ..
  7. Woolf A, Woolf N. Childhood lead poisoning in 2 families associated with spices used in food preparation. Pediatrics. 2005;116:e314-8 pubmed
    ..We report here 2 families whose children were poisoned by lead-contaminated spices that were purchased in foreign countries, brought to the United States, and then used in the preparation of the ..
  8. Westerterp Plantenga M, Diepvens K, Joosen A, Bérubé Parent S, Tremblay A. Metabolic effects of spices, teas, and caffeine. Physiol Behav. 2006;89:85-91 pubmed
    ..In this regard, capsaicin, black pepper, ginger, mixed spices, green tea, black tea and caffeine are relevant examples...
  9. Halvorsen B, Carlsen M, Phillips K, Bøhn S, Holte K, Jacobs D, et al. Content of redox-active compounds (ie, antioxidants) in foods consumed in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;84:95-135 pubmed
    ..The food groups spices and herbs, nuts and seeds, berries, and fruit and vegetables all contained foods with very high antioxidant ..

More Information


  1. Lai P, Roy J. Antimicrobial and chemopreventive properties of herbs and spices. Curr Med Chem. 2004;11:1451-60 pubmed
    Herbs and spices have been used for generations by humans as food and to treat ailments. Scientific evidence is accumulating that many of these herbs and spices do have medicinal properties that alleviate symptoms or prevent disease...
  2. Tekwu E, Askun T, Kuete V, Nkengfack A, Nyasse B, Etoa F, et al. Antibacterial activity of selected Cameroonian dietary spices ethno-medically used against strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012;142:374-82 pubmed publisher
    ..b>Spices are largely used ethno-medically across Africa...
  3. Carlsen M, Blomhoff R, Andersen L. Intakes of culinary herbs and spices from a food frequency questionnaire evaluated against 28-days estimated records. Nutr J. 2011;10:50 pubmed publisher
    Worldwide, herbs and spices are much used food flavourings. However, little data exist regarding actual dietary intake of culinary herbs and spices...
  4. Ali N, Faizi S, Kazmi S. Antibacterial activity in spices and local medicinal plants against clinical isolates of Karachi, Pakistan. Pharm Biol. 2011;49:833-9 pubmed publisher
    ..Eleven plants chosen from these 27 are used as spices in local cuisine. Evaluation of the effectiveness of some medicinal plant extracts against clinical isolates...
  5. Balstad T, Carlsen H, Myhrstad M, Kolberg M, Reiersen H, Gilen L, et al. Coffee, broccoli and spices are strong inducers of electrophile response element-dependent transcription in vitro and in vivo - studies in electrophile response element transgenic mice. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2011;55:185-97 pubmed publisher
    ..These results show that plant-based foods contain compounds that can be absorbed and induce the antioxidant defence in a living organism in an organ-specific manner. ..
  6. Ranilla L, Kwon Y, Apostolidis E, Shetty K. Phenolic compounds, antioxidant activity and in vitro inhibitory potential against key enzymes relevant for hyperglycemia and hypertension of commonly used medicinal plants, herbs and spices in Latin America. Bioresour Technol. 2010;101:4676-89 pubmed publisher
    Traditionally used medicinal plants, herbs and spices in Latin America were investigated to determine their phenolic profiles, antioxidant activity and in vitro inhibitory potential against key enzymes relevant for hyperglycemia and ..
  7. Kochhar K. Dietary spices in health and diseases (II). Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2008;52:327-54 pubmed
    Dietary spices influence various systems in the body such as gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, reproductive and nervous systems resulting in diverse metabolic and physiologic actions...
  8. Kaefer C, Milner J. The role of herbs and spices in cancer prevention. J Nutr Biochem. 2008;19:347-61 pubmed publisher
    Historically, herbs and spices have enjoyed a rich tradition of use for their flavor enhancement characteristics and for their medicinal properties...
  9. Chaubey M. Fumigant toxicity of essential oils from some common spices against pulse beetle, Callosobruchus chinensis (Coleoptera: Bruchidae). J Oleo Sci. 2008;57:171-9 pubmed
    In the present study, the essential oil from seven common spices, Anethum graveolens, Cuminum cyminum, Illicium verum, Myristica fragrans, Nigella sativa, Piper nigrum and Trachyspermum ammi was isolated and its insecticidal, oviposition, ..
  10. Tsai P, Tsai T, Yu C, Ho S. Evaluation of NO-suppressing activity of several Mediterranean culinary spices. Food Chem Toxicol. 2007;45:440-7 pubmed
    ..b>Spices, rich in phenolics, are speculated conceivably to act as potential NO-scavengers or iNOS suppressors...
  11. Erdogan A. The aflatoxin contamination of some pepper types sold in Turkey. Chemosphere. 2004;56:321-5 pubmed
    ..The aflatoxin amount ranged from 1.1 to 97.5 ppb in all samples investigated. The highest amount of aflatoxin was found in red-scaled pepper. Species of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Rhizopus were generally contaminants of all samples. ..
  12. Iyer A, Panchal S, Poudyal H, Brown L. Potential health benefits of Indian spices in the symptoms of the metabolic syndrome: a review. Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2009;46:467-81 pubmed
    b>Spices used in Indian cooking have a long history of use as medicines to prevent and treat diseases...
  13. Yadav A, Bhatnagar D. Inhibition of iron induced lipid peroxidation and antioxidant activity of Indian spices and Acacia in vitro. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2010;65:18-24 pubmed publisher
    The spices used in the Indian foods such as Star anise (Illicium verum), Bay leaves (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) and Cobra's saffron (Mesua ferrea), and Acacia (Acacia catechu), which have medicinal value, were used as test samples, to find ..
  14. Hitzel A, Pöhlmann M, Schwagele F, Speer K, Jira W. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and phenolic substances in meat products smoked with different types of wood and smoking spices. Food Chem. 2013;139:955-62 pubmed publisher
    ..Furthermore, the sum contents of the five phenolic substances in sausages smoked with poplar were higher, or only slightly lower, when compared to the use of beech. ..
  15. Aggarwal B, Van Kuiken M, Iyer L, Harikumar K, Sung B. Molecular targets of nutraceuticals derived from dietary spices: potential role in suppression of inflammation and tumorigenesis. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2009;234:825-49 pubmed publisher
    ..For instance cancer incidence among people from the Indian subcontinent, where most spices are consumed, is much lower than that in the Western World...
  16. Pozzatti P, Scheid L, Spader T, Atayde M, Santurio J, Alves S. In vitro activity of essential oils extracted from plants used as spices against fluconazole-resistant and fluconazole-susceptible Candida spp. Can J Microbiol. 2008;54:950-6 pubmed publisher
    In the present study, the antifungal activity of selected essential oils obtained from plants used as spices was evaluated against both fluconazole-resistant and fluconazole-susceptible Candida spp...
  17. Gallo M, Ferracane R, Graziani G, Ritieni A, Fogliano V. Microwave assisted extraction of phenolic compounds from four different spices. Molecules. 2010;15:6365-74 pubmed publisher
    b>Spices and herbs are known not only for their taste, aroma and flavour, but also for their medical properties and value...
  18. Dearlove R, Greenspan P, Hartle D, Swanson R, Hargrove J. Inhibition of protein glycation by extracts of culinary herbs and spices. J Med Food. 2008;11:275-81 pubmed publisher
    We tested whether polyphenolic substances in extracts of commercial culinary herbs and spices would inhibit fructose-mediated protein glycation...
  19. Rubio L, Motilva M, Romero M. Recent advances in biologically active compounds in herbs and spices: a review of the most effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory active principles. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53:943-53 pubmed publisher
    b>Spices, like vegetables, fruit, and medicinal herbs, are known to possess a variety of antioxidant effects and other biological activities...
  20. Ho S, Tsai T, Tsai P, Lin C. Protective capacities of certain spices against peroxynitrite-mediated biomolecular damage. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46:920-8 pubmed
    ..A number of researchers have speculated that certain spices, rich in phenolics, may, conceivably, act as potential protectors against the actions of peroxynitrite...
  21. Voukeng I, Kuete V, Dzoyem J, Fankam A, Noumedem J, Kuiate J, et al. Antibacterial and antibiotic-potentiation activities of the methanol extract of some cameroonian spices against Gram-negative multi-drug resistant phenotypes. BMC Res Notes. 2012;5:299 pubmed publisher
    ..work was designed to evaluate the antibacterial properties of the methanol extracts of eleven selected Cameroonian spices on multi-drug resistant bacteria (MDR), and their ability to potentiate the effect of some common antibiotics used ..
  22. Jungbauer A, Medjakovic S. Anti-inflammatory properties of culinary herbs and spices that ameliorate the effects of metabolic syndrome. Maturitas. 2012;71:227-39 pubmed publisher
    ..Here we provide an overview of how different culinary herbs and spices exert anti-inflammatory activities and the extent to which they activate PPAR ? and PPAR ?, inhibit the activation ..
  23. Kempaiah R, Srinivasan K. Influence of dietary spices on the fluidity of erythrocytes in hypercholesterolaemic rats. Br J Nutr. 2005;93:81-91 pubmed
    ..The membrane protein profile and the active cation efflux appeared to be unaffected in the hypercholesterolaemic situation. ..
  24. Patil S, Ghadyale V, Taklikar S, Kulkarni C, Arvindekar A. Insulin secretagogue, alpha-glucosidase and antioxidant activity of some selected spices in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2011;66:85-90 pubmed publisher
    b>Spices are extensively used to enhance the taste and flavor of foods and are known to possess several medicinal properties...
  25. Kempaiah R, Srinivasan K. Antioxidant status of red blood cells and liver in hypercholesterolemic rats fed hypolipidemic spices. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2004;74:199-208 pubmed
    ..the lowered activities of hepatic antioxidant enzymes--glutathione reductase, glutathione-S-transferase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase--in hypercholesterolemic rats were effectively countered by the dietary spices treatment.
  26. Hossain M, Rai D, Brunton N, Martin Diana A, Barry Ryan C. Characterization of phenolic composition in Lamiaceae spices by LC-ESI-MS/MS. J Agric Food Chem. 2010;58:10576-81 pubmed publisher
    A total of 38 phenolic compounds in the solid/liquid extracts of five Lamiaceae spices, rosemary, oregano, sage, basil, and thyme, were identified in the present study using LC-ESI-MS/MS...
  27. Bhardwaj R, Pandey S. Juice blends--a way of utilization of under-utilized fruits, vegetables, and spices: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2011;51:563-70 pubmed publisher
    ..and vegetables including bottle gourd, carrot, beet root, bitter gourd, medicinal plants like aloe vera and spices can also be used for juice blending...
  28. Duangjai A, Ingkaninan K, Limpeanchob N. Potential mechanisms of hypocholesterolaemic effect of Thai spices/dietary extracts. Nat Prod Res. 2011;25:341-52 pubmed publisher
    Several Thai spices/dietary ingredients were previously shown to have hypocholesterolaemic effects. These studies were mostly conducted in animal models in which the mechanisms of action were not yet well-established...
  29. Sandhu D, Heinrich M. The use of health foods, spices and other botanicals in the Sikh community in London. Phytother Res. 2005;19:633-42 pubmed
    ..Specifically, more research on traditional and herbal remedies amongst the numerous ethnic groups in urban Britain and how this impacts on the use of biomedicine (e.g. as it is provided by the NHS) is essential. ..
  30. Caterina M. Chemical biology: sticky spices. Nature. 2007;445:491-2 pubmed
  31. Yadav A, Bhatnagar D. Free radical scavenging activity, metal chelation and antioxidant power of some of the Indian spices. Biofactors. 2007;31:219-27 pubmed
    ..b>Spices used in Indian foods such as cloves (Syzygium aromaticum), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), mace (aril of Myristica ..
  32. Braun T, Voland P, Kunz L, Prinz C, Gratzl M. Enterochromaffin cells of the human gut: sensors for spices and odorants. Gastroenterology. 2007;132:1890-901 pubmed
    ..to know whether nasal olfactory receptors are also expressed in the human gut mucosa by enterochromaffin cells and whether their ligands and odorants present in spices, fragrances, detergents, and cosmetics cause serotonin release.
  33. Rajput S, Mandal M. Antitumor promoting potential of selected phytochemicals derived from spices: a review. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2012;21:205-15 pubmed publisher
    ..have demonstrated that some phytochemicals derived from 'natural products' such as fruits, vegetables and certain spices, referred to as chemopreventive agents, including capsaicin, trans-anethole, thymoquinone, diosgenin, allicin, can ..
  34. Woo H, Kang J, Kawada T, Yoo H, Sung M, Yu R. Active spice-derived components can inhibit inflammatory responses of adipose tissue in obesity by suppressing inflammatory actions of macrophages and release of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 from adipocytes. Life Sci. 2007;80:926-31 pubmed
    ..These spice-derived components may have a potential to improve chronic inflammatory conditions in obesity. ..
  35. V Schönfeld J, Evans D. [Fat, spices and gastro-oesophageal reflux]. Z Gastroenterol. 2007;45:171-5 pubmed
    In spite of poor evidence, many patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux are advised to avoid fat and spices. We therefore measured gastro-oesophageal reflux after fatty and spicy meals...
  36. Murcia M, Egea I, Romojaro F, Parras P, Jiménez A, Martinez Tomé M. Antioxidant evaluation in dessert spices compared with common food additives. Influence of irradiation procedure. J Agric Food Chem. 2004;52:1872-81 pubmed
    The antioxidant properties of seven dessert spices (anise, cinnamon, ginger, licorice, mint, nutmeg, and vanilla) were compared with those of the common food antioxidants butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) (E-320), butylated hydroxytoluene (..
  37. Lin C, Schaider L, Brabander D, Woolf A. Pediatric lead exposure from imported Indian spices and cultural powders. Pediatrics. 2010;125:e828-35 pubmed publisher
    ..To describe cases of pediatric lead intoxication from imported Indian spices and cultural powders, determine lead concentrations in these products, and predict effects of ingestion on ..
  38. Choumessi A, Loureiro R, Silva A, Moreira A, Pieme A, Tazoacha A, et al. Toxicity evaluation of some traditional African spices on breast cancer cells and isolated rat hepatic mitochondria. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012;50:4199-208 pubmed publisher
    ..xanthoxyloïdes (FX), Mondia whitei (MW) and Xylopia aethiopica (XA) are used in many African countries as food spices or in traditional medicine to treat several maladies...
  39. Nilius B, Appendino G. Spices: the savory and beneficial science of pungency. Rev Physiol Biochem Pharmacol. 2013;164:1-76 pubmed publisher
    ..This review discusses in molecular terms the connection between the neurophysiology of pungent spices and the "systemic" effects associated to their trigeminality...
  40. Sharififar F, Moshafi M, Dehghan Nudehe G, Ameri A, Alishahi F, Pourhemati A. Bioassay screening of the essential oil and various extracts from 4 spices medicinal plants. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2009;22:317-22 pubmed
    Four commonly used spices plants in Iran were evaluated for cytotoxicity effect using Brine Shrimp Lethality (BSL) assay...
  41. Carlsen M, Halvorsen B, Holte K, Bøhn S, Dragland S, Sampson L, et al. The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide. Nutr J. 2010;9:3 pubmed publisher
    ..antioxidant content of typical foods as well as other dietary items such as traditional medicine plants, herbs and spices and dietary supplements...
  42. Srinivasan K. Dietary spices as beneficial modulators of lipid profile in conditions of metabolic disorders and diseases. Food Funct. 2013;4:503-21 pubmed publisher
    b>Spices are valued for their medicinal properties besides their use as food adjuncts to enhance the sensory quality of food...
  43. Mattes R. Spices and energy balance. Physiol Behav. 2012;107:584-90 pubmed publisher
    ..Flavor-active compounds, including spices, also modify digestive, absorptive and metabolic processes through direct activation of signaling pathways or via ..
  44. Nalini N, Manju V, Menon V. Effect of spices on lipid metabolism in 1,2-dimethylhydrazine-induced rat colon carcinogenesis. J Med Food. 2006;9:237-45 pubmed
    ..Our results show that chilli supplementation promotes colon carcinogenesis, whereas cumin or black pepper suppresses colon carcinogensis in the presence of the procarcinogen DMH. ..
  45. Kuete V, Sandjo L, Wiench B, Efferth T. Cytotoxicity and modes of action of four Cameroonian dietary spices ethno-medically used to treat cancers: Echinops giganteus, Xylopia aethiopica, Imperata cylindrica and Piper capense. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013;149:245-53 pubmed publisher
    Echinops giganteus, Imperata cylindrica, Piper capense and Xylopia aethiopica are four medicinal spices used in Cameroon to treat cancers.
  46. Platel K, Srinivasan K. Digestive stimulant action of spices: a myth or reality?. Indian J Med Res. 2004;119:167-79 pubmed
    b>Spices have long been recognized for their digestive stimulant action. Several spices are also employed in medicinal preparations against digestive disorders in traditional and Indian systems of medicine...
  47. Azeez S, Babu R, Aykkal R, Narayanan R. Virtual screening and in vitro assay of potential drug like inhibitors from spices against glutathione-S-transferase of filarial nematodes. J Mol Model. 2012;18:151-63 pubmed publisher
    ..These findings thus suggest that the above phytochemicals could be potentially developed as lead molecules for targeting GST of lymphatic filarial parasites. ..
  48. Rahman S, Parvez A, Islam R, Khan M. Antibacterial activity of natural spices on multiple drug resistant Escherichia coli isolated from drinking water, Bangladesh. Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob. 2011;10:10 pubmed publisher
    b>Spices traditionally have been used as coloring agents, flavoring agents, preservatives, food additives and medicine in Bangladesh...
  49. Ferrucci L, Daniel C, Kapur K, Chadha P, Shetty H, Graubard B, et al. Measurement of spices and seasonings in India: opportunities for cancer epidemiology and prevention. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2010;11:1621-9 pubmed
    ..However, epidemiologic studies generally do not collect detailed information on these items, which include spices, chilies, coconuts, garlic, onions, and oils...
  50. Kuete V, Krusche B, Youns M, Voukeng I, Fankam A, Tankeo S, et al. Cytotoxicity of some Cameroonian spices and selected medicinal plant extracts. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;134:803-12 pubmed publisher
    Several medicinal plants and spices are used traditionally to treat cancers in Cameroon...
  51. Srinivasan K. Plant foods in the management of diabetes mellitus: spices as beneficial antidiabetic food adjuncts. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2005;56:399-414 pubmed
    Diet has been recognized as a corner stone in the management of diabetes mellitus. Spices are the common dietary adjuncts that contribute to the taste and flavour of foods...
  52. Bozin B, Mimica Dukic N, Simin N, Anackov G. Characterization of the volatile composition of essential oils of some lamiaceae spices and the antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of the entire oils. J Agric Food Chem. 2006;54:1822-8 pubmed
    ..A significant rate of antifungal activity of all of the examined essential oils was also exhibited...
  53. Koeduka T, Fridman E, Gang D, Vassão D, Jackson B, Kish C, et al. Eugenol and isoeugenol, characteristic aromatic constituents of spices, are biosynthesized via reduction of a coniferyl alcohol ester. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006;103:10128-33 pubmed
    ..The basil and petunia phenylpropene-forming enzymes belong to a structural family of NADPH-dependent reductases that also includes pinoresinol-lariciresinol reductase, isoflavone reductase, and phenylcoumaran benzylic ether reductase...