Phytogenic agents have traditionally been used by herbalists and indigenous healers for the prevention and treatment of peptic ulcer. This article reviews the anti-acid/anti-peptic, gastro-protective and/or anti-ulcer properties of the most commonly employed herbal medicines and their identified active constituents. Botanical compounds with anti-ulcer activity include flavonoids (i.e. quercetin, naringin, silymarin, anthocyanosides, sophoradin derivatives) saponins (i.e. from Panax japonicus and Kochia scoparia), tannins (i.e. from Linderae umbellatae), gums and mucilages (i.e. gum guar and myrrh). Among herbal drugs, liquorice, aloe gel and capsicum (chilli) have been used extensively and their clinical efficacy documented. Also, ethnomedical systems employ several plant extracts for the treatment of peptic ulcer. Despite progress in conventional chemistry and pharmacology in producing effective drugs, the plant kingdom might provide a useful source of new anti-ulcer compounds for development as pharmaceutical entities or, alternatively, as simple dietary adjuncts to existing therapies.