Potentilla plants are still common herbal medicines used in folk medicine. This review provides an update of research undertaken on Potentilla from 2009 until 2020. This comprehensive review considers biological updates, recent advances in phytochemical and pharmacological research, and toxicological reports on Potentilla sensu lato based on available data since 2009. A literature search was conducted using available databases including ScienceDirect, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, China National Knowledge Infrastructure and Google Scholar. Until now, more than 210 new and known compounds, including flavonoids, tannins, triterpenes and phenolic compounds, have been confirmed and elucidated for numerous Potentilla species, i.e., in the underground and aerial parts of this genus. Modern pharmacology studies have revealed that those structures are responsible for a broad spectrum of pharmacological activities, such as anti-neoplastic, antihyperglycemic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, antibacterial and anti-yeast effects. However, in vitro studies must be re-considered due to the discovery of urolithins and their origins, including microbiota, which can lead to different results when applying Potentilla species and their extracts to in vivo conditions. Thus, future research should focus more on in vivo and particularly clinical studies to confirm the validity and safety of traditional uses. Particularly, the use of Potentilla alba extracts in the treatment of thyroid gland disorders should be further explored to confirm the underlying mechanism of their action, efficacy and safety. In addition, more clinical studies should focus on Potentilla erecta rhizome extracts for application as herbal remedies against dysentery, diarrhoea and inflammation of the skin. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.