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. A growing body of research has demonstrated that the commonly used herbs and spices such as garlic, black cumin, cloves, cinnamon, thyme, allspices, bay leaves, mustard, and rosemary, possess antimicrobial properties that, in some cases, can be used therapeutically. Other spices, such as saffron, a food colorant; turmeric, a yellow colored spice; tea, either green or black, and flaxseed do contain potent phytochemicals, including carotenoids, curcumins, catechins, lignan respectively, which provide significant protection against cancer. This review discusses recent data on the antimicrobial and chemopreventive activities of some herbs and spices and their ingredients.