Ursolic acid (UA) is a natural terpene compound exhibiting many pharmaceutical properties. In this review the current state of knowledge about the health-promoting properties of this widespread, biologically active compound, as well as information about its occurrence and biosynthesis are presented. Particular attention has been paid to the application of ursolic acid as an anti-cancer agent; it is worth noticing that clinical tests suggesting the possibility of practical use of UA have already been conducted. Amongst other pharmacological properties of UA one can mention protective effect on lungs, kidneys, liver and brain, anti-inflammatory properties, anabolic effects on skeletal muscles and the ability to suppress bone density loss leading to osteoporosis. Ursolic acid also exhibits anti-microbial features against numerous strains of bacteria, HIV and HCV viruses and Plasmodium protozoa causing malaria.