Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the world. Atherosclerosis, characterised by the accumulation of fat and inflammation in blood vessels, is the main feature of CVD. Common spices such as pepper, ginger, garlic, onion, cinnamon and chilli may have effects on the initiation and development of atherosclerosis. In this review, the authors focused on the potential protective effects of spices, in atherosclerosis and CVD. Most studies to date have been carried out either in cell culture or in animals. These have revealed various potential mechanisms by which spices exert their beneficial effects, including anti-oxidant, anti-atherogenic, anti-coagulant, anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties. There are some human studies evaluating the effects of spices on high blood pressure. Although saffron, turmeric, and chilli pepper had no effect on blood pressure, cinnamon demonstrated significant blood pressure lowering effects in patients with diabetes. Garlic has been shown to have the potential to reduce blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure. These studies provide information on the beneficial roles of spices in reducing cardiovascular risk factors. The types of spices consumed vary across cultures, and currently there are no available population studies showing that consumption of spices is associated with reduction of CVD nor any recommendations for the amounts of spices to be consumed. The authors conclude that the consumption of spices should be encouraged across countries to promote good health.