Abstract: Spices and herbal plant species have been recognized to possess a broad spectrum of active constituents that exhibit antimicrobial (AM) activity. These active compounds are produced as secondary metabolites associated with the volatile essential oil (EO) fraction of these plants. A wide range of AM agents derived from EOs have the potential to be used in AM packaging systems which is one of the promising forms of active packaging systems aimed at protecting food products from microbial contamination. Many studies have evaluated the AM activity of synthetic AM and/or natural AM agents incorporated into packaging materials and have demonstrated effective AM activity by controlling the growth of microorganisms. This review examines the more common synthetic and natural AM agents incorporated into or coated onto synthetic packaging films for AM packaging applications. The focus is on the widely studied herb varieties including basil, oregano, and thyme and their EOs.