Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common form of motor neuron disease worldwide, leading to progressive muscle atrophy and paralysis. The limited success of conventional treatment for ALS has prompted investigations into complementary and alternative therapies. Herbal remedies provide good prospects of ALS prevention and treatment, with advantages such as multiple targets, multiple links, and few side effects. Studies in vitro and in vivo have shown that herbs have a great potential for treatment of ALS, with therapeutic effects against oxidative stress, excitatory amino acid toxicity, neuroinflammation, and calcium cytotoxicity. Active monomers or ingredients extracted from herbs are considered promising candidates for ALS. Therefore, we review recent experimental research on monomers and compounds isolated from herbal remedies for preventing and treating ALS. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.