Cancer is among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide.
Current therapy available for cancer treatment is associated with number of
side effects. However, plants offer an alternative route for the treatment of
cancer. In fact Traditional Knowledge of using herbs and spices for medicinal
purposes provide promising new leads that could be utilized for developing
new therapies for cancer treatment. The therapeutic properties of spices
is due to bioactive components such as alkaloids, terpenes, flavonoids,
phenylpropanoids and anthocyanins present in them. Many of these spice
derived secondary metabolites have the ability to trigger free radical scavenging
pathway at cellular level and thus protect from various metabolic
syndromes. Some of the spice based active constituents which are widely
known for their chemopreventive action against various malignancies are
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, (black pepper), crocetin,
crocin and safranal (saffron). These therapeutic agents arrest the activity of
cytochrome P450 and isozymes CYP 1A1, cyclooxygenase-2, reducing the
activator of transcription-3 (STAT-3) and signal transducer. In addition to this
they also down regulate expression of cell cycle protein which in activate
caspases killer and suppress Kappa-B activation. Spices also act serve as immunomodulators
and regulate inflammatory disorders. The present review
highlights the role of common spices in combating cancer.
Key words: Cancer, Spices, Allium, Curcumin, Basil, Pepper.