Spices and herbs as immune enhancers and anti-inflammatory agents: A review

  • Andrew Garnier
  • Fereidoon Shahidi


Spices and herbs have been used in traditional medicine for centuries, with research starting to accumulate on their beneficial properties. Of these properties, the immune-enhancing and anti-inflammatory capabilities of many spices and herbs have led to promising results. The current review article aims to explore the current research of several spices and herbs as immune-enhancers and anti-inflammatory agents. The spices and herbs examined are African potato (Hypoxis hemerocallidea), allspice (Pimenta dioica), basil (Ocimum basilicum), black pepper (Piper nigrum), chili powders (Capsicum species), clove (Syzygium aromaticum), Devil’s claw (Harpagophytem procumbens), fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), ginger (Zingiber officinale), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), oregano (Origanum vulgare), rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), rosemary/sage (Salvia rosmarinus/officinalis), saffron (Crocus sativus), South African geranium (Pelargonium sidoides), and turmeric (Curcuma longa). All the spices and herbs exhibited immune-enhancing or immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory capabilities through various processes. Rooibos and oregano had the most contradictory results, with some studies finding pro-inflammatory properties, especially at high doses regarding oregano. Turmeric had the most extensive research with positive results.


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How to Cite
Garnier, A., & Shahidi, F. (2021). Spices and herbs as immune enhancers and anti-inflammatory agents: A review. Journal of Food Bioactives, 14. https://doi.org/10.31665/JFB.2021.14266