Abstract The genus Deguelia comprises the American species previously included in Derris Lour. Millettia Wight & Arn. and Lonchocarpus subg. Phacelanthus Pittier. Considering the need of systematic definition to the genera Derris, Deguelia and Lonchocarpus, and also the economic importance presented by several species within these genera, which produces rotenone or deguelin (natural insecticides widely used in the past decades), this review is of great chemotaxonomic importance to corroborate studies of botanical systematics carried out with these genera, and guide the search for new therapeutic agents, since this bibliographic survey, approaches the biological and ethnopharmacological studies described for species of this genera.