About 20 species from Callicarpa have reported ethnobotanical and ethnomedical uses, and several members of this genus are well known in the traditional medical systems of China and South Asia. Ethnomedical reports indicate their use in the treatment of hepatitis, rheumatism, fever, headache, indigestion, and other ailments. Several species of Callicarpa have been reported to be used against cancer (e.g., Callicarpa americana root to treat skin cancer and Callicarpa rubella bark to treat tumors of the large intestine). Extracts from about 14 species in this genus have been evaluated for biological activity, including antibacterial, antifungal, anti-insect growth, cytotoxic, and phytotoxic activities. In addition to amino acids, benzenoids, simple carbohydrates, and lipids, numerous diterpenes, flavonoids, phenylpropanoids, phytosterols, sesquiterpenes, and triterpenes have been detected in or isolated from the genus Callicarpa. The essential oils of Callicarpa americana have recently been reported to have antialgal and phytotoxic activities, and several isolates from this species (and C. japonica) were identified as contributing to the mosquito bitedeterrent activity that was first indicated by folkloric usage. Recent bioassay-guided investigations of C. americana extracts have resulted in the isolation of several active compounds, mainly of the clerodane diterpene structural type.