The genus Jatropha (Euphorbiaceae) comprises of about 170 species of woody trees, shrubs, subshrubs or herbs in the seasonally dry tropics of the Old and the New World. They are used in medicinal folklore to cure various diseases of 80% of the human population in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Species from this genus have been popular to cure stomachache, toothache, swelling, inflammation, leprosy, dysentery, dyscrasia, vertigo, anemia, diabetis, as well as to treat HIV and tumor, opthalmia, ringworm, ulcers, malaria, skin diseases, bronchitis, asthma and as an aphrodisiac. They are also employed as ornamental plants and energy crops. Cyclic peptides alkaloids, diterpenes and miscellaneous compounds have been reported from this genus. Extracts and pure compounds of plants from this genus are reported for cytotoxicity, tumor-promoting, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal, anticoagulant, immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, protoscolicidal, insecticidal, molluscicidal, inhibition AChE and toxicity activities. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.