The root of Hemidesmus indicus R. Br., commonly known as Indian Sarsaparilla, is used traditionally to treat a wide variety of illnesses including rheumatism, leprosy, impotence, urinary tract and skin infections. The anticancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, analgesic, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, renoprotective, neuroprotective and immunomodulatory properties of H. indicus have been investigated in numerous in vivo and in vitro studies. Among these, the antioxidant and antimicrobial activity was well documented. This review details the phytochemistry and therapeutic applications of H. indicus root. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.