The present review investigates the role of the cytoprotective enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in human diseases and explores strategies for its clinical use. In recent years, there has been a growing evidence, for the beneficial effects of some phytoconstituents via induction of HO-1 expression, contained in commonly used spices, fruits, and herbs, in preventing various pathologic conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. HO-1 catalyzes the rate-limiting step in heme catabolism to generate ferrous iron, carbon monoxide, and biliverdin. HO-1 is reported to play crucial roles in cellular protection, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative and anti-apoptotic effects. These evidences indicate that HO-1 may functions as a potential therapeutic target in various human diseases. The article highlights the current status of the development of the HO-1 modulation pathway using dietary phytoconstituents.