Anti-oncogenic perspectives of spices/herbs: A comprehensive review


  • Masood Sadiq Butt National Institute of Food Science and Technology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan
  • Ambreen Naz Department of Home Economics, Lahore College for Women University, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Muhammad Tauseef Sultan Department of Food and Horticultural Sciences, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan
  • Mir Muhammad Nasir Qayyum Department of Food Technology, Karakoram International University, Gilgit-Baltistn


malignancy, allicin, cinnamic aldehyde, gingerol, dipropyle disulfides, piperidine piperine


Contemporary nutrition regime has focused the attention of the researchers on phytochemicals enriched spices to mitigate various oncological threats. Numerous chemopreventive strategies against malignancy have been developed considering the anticancer perspectives of allied nutraceutical constituents. Current evidences have proven an inverse association of spices with that of oncological incidences. The high antioxidant activity of spices derived bioactives triggers the free radicals scavenging ability at cellular level thereby alleviating various metabolic syndromes. Promising compounds including curcumin and curcuminoids (turmeric), limonene (cardamom), allicin, allyl isothiocyanate (garlic), cinnamic aldehyde, 2-hydroxycinnamaldehyde and eugenol (cinnamon), gingerol, zingiberone, zingiberene (ginger), dipropyle disulfides and quercetin (onion), piperidine piperine, limonene, α- and β-pinene (black pepper), crocetin, crocin and safranal (saffron) have been identified as chemopreventing agents against various malignancies. Chemopreventive properties of spices are mediated by functional bioactive ingredients that arrest the activity of cytochrome P450 and isozymes CYP 1A1, cyclooxygenase-2, reducing activator of transcription-3 (STAT-3) and signal transducer. They are closely associated with tumorigenesis activated by interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptors and epidermal growth factor (EGF) relate to an array of tumors. The bioactive constituents altering the expression of protein involved in cell cycle, activating caspases killer and suppressing Kappa-B activation. Alongside, they also restrain causative agents of cell structure damage as in lipid and protein membrane system and DNA that shifting healthy body towards cancerous state. Spices phytochemicals have established as carcinogenesis blockers by modulating cell proliferation pathways transformation, inflammation, metastasis etc. Furthermore, spices as functional ingredients may act as immune boosters and diminish inflammatory disorders. The current review is inevitably an affirmative approach in the development of novel guidelines against cancer by using dietary species to maintain good health.



How to Cite

Butt, M. S., Naz, A., Sultan, M. T., & Qayyum, M. M. N. (2013). Anti-oncogenic perspectives of spices/herbs: A comprehensive review. EXCLI Journal, 12, 1043–1065. Retrieved from



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