Priyanka Singh1, Nidhi Gauba Dhawan2, Raaz K Maheshwari*3
1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Maharishi Dayanand University,
Rohtak, Haryana, India
2Amity Institute of Environmental Sciences, Amity University, Noida, UP, India
3Department of Chemistry, SBRM Govt PG College, Nagaur, Rajasthan, India
Throughout many periods of history, spices have claimed attention for their mystical properties, either through ingesting or inhaling. What mankind has done throughout time to creatively enhance or elevate the perception of his existence is a fascinating subject. Historically spices have enjoyed a rich tradition of use for their flavor-enhancement characteristics and for their medicinal properties. The rising prevalence of chronic diseases world-wide and the corresponding rise in health care costs is propelling interest among researchers and the public for these food related items for multiple health benefits, including a reduction in cancer risk and modification of tumor behavior.
Since time immemorial, spices have played a vital role in world trade, due to their varied properties and applications. We primarily depend on spices for flavor and fragrance as well as color, preservative and inherent medicinal qualities. Spices are botanically classified as fruits and vegetables. And since they no longer contain the water that makes up a significant part of the fresh produce, spices offer an even higher level of antioxidants. In addition, spices also are rich in phytonutrients, such as carotenoids, flavonoids and other phenolics, all of which possess health-promoting properties. In this article, therapeutic significance of exotic herbs and spices, due to antioxidants and various other phytochemicals occurring in them, is delineated precisely.