Abstract In traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, the seeds of the dodder (Cuscuta planiflora) are often harvested and ground into a fine powder, which was then made into tablets or encapsulated and taken to treat osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, general muscular pains. Dodder was employed in Ayurveda as a remedy for jaundice, as a mild laxative and a moderately potent analgesic. The preliminary phytochemical screening showed that Cuscuta planiflora contained polypenols, flavonoid, glycoside, alkaloids, carbohydrates, saponins, glycosides, phytosterols, triterpenoids and steroids. The previous pharmacological investigation showed that Cuscuta planiflora possessed antidepressant, anticonvulsant, antibacterial, cytotoxic and hepatoprotective effects. This review was designed to highlight the chemical constituents and pharmacological effects of Cuscuta planiflora.