A dusting of spices can do far more than add flavor to your food. They can actually retard microbial growth. Scientists at Cornell University found that allspice and oregano (as well as onions and garlic) killed 100 percent of bacteria they came in contact with, while thyme, cinnamon, cumin and tarragon killed 80 percent of bacteria [source: Cornell Chronicle].
Turmeric, an essential ingredient in curry, is widely known as a rock star of the spice world, thanks to both its bold flavor and antibacterial properties [source: Turmeric for Health]. The spice owes its "oomph" to the essential component curcumin, which research has shown to aid all stages of wound healing. As if that's not enough, curcumin is a known anti-cancer agent, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, to name a few [source: Akbik et al.]. Pretty impressive for a simple yellow powder!