Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world. Atherosclerosis is characterized
by oxidized lipid deposition and inflammation in the arterial wall and represents a significant
problem in public health and medicine. Some dietary spices have been widely used in many countries;
however, the mechanism of their action as it relates to the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis
is still poorly understood. In this review, we focus on the properties of various spice-derived active
ingredients used in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis, as well as associated atherosclerotic
risk factors. We provide a summary of the mechanisms of action, epidemiological analyses, and studies
of various components of spice used in the clinic, animal models, and cell lines related to atherosclerosis.
Most notably, we focused on mechanisms of action by which these spice-derived compounds elicit
their lipid-lowering, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory properties, as well as their
involvement in selected biochemical and signal transduction pathways. It is suggested that future research
should aim to design well-controlled clinical trials and more thoroughly investigate the role of
spices and their active components in the prevention/treatment of atherosclerosis. Based on this literature
review, it appears that spices and their active components are well tolerated and have few adverse
side effects and, therefore, provide a promising adjunctive treatment strategy for patients with atherosclerosis.