Insight into the hepatoprotective effects of medicinally important plants is important, both for physicians and researchers. Main reasons for the use of herbal medicine include their lesser cost compared with conventional drugs, lesser undesirable drug reactions and thus high safety, and reduced side effects. The present review focuses on the composition, pharmacology, and results of experimental trials of selected medicinal plants: Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn., Glycyrrhiza glabra, Phyllanthus amarus Schumach. & Thonn., Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge., Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bunge, Capparis spinosa (L.), Cichorium intybus (L.), Solanum nigrum (L.), Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn., Ginkgo biloba (L.), Woodfordia fruticosa (L.) Kurz, Vitex trifolia (L.), Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill., Cuscuta chinensis (Lam.), Lycium barbarum, Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels, and Litsea coreana (H. Lev.). The probable modes of action of these plants include immunomodulation, stimulation of hepatic DNA synthesis, simulation of superoxide dismutase and glutathione reductase to inhibit oxidation in hepatocytes, reduction of intracellular reactive oxygen species by enhancing levels of antioxidants, suppression of ethanol-induced lipid accumulation, inhibition of nucleic acid polymerases to downregulate viral mRNA transcription and translation, free radical scavenging and reduction of hepatic fibrosis by decreasing the levels of transforming growth factor beta-1, and collagen synthesis in hepatic cells. However, further research is needed to identify, characterize, and standardize the active ingredients, useful compounds, and their preparations for the treatment of liver diseases. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.