The edible bird's nest is a nest made from the saliva of swiftlets (Aves: Apodidae). It is highly acclaimed as a catholicon and is a comprehensive health food. Increasing desire for the edible bird's nest makes the investigation of the nests urgent. There is a broad and growing interest in knowing more about the components and the nutritional and medicinal values of the edible bird's nest. This review discusses the research on the edible bird's nest currently, especially the research on its bioactivities. The content of water-soluble proteins, carbohydrates, inorganic salts, and various kinds of elements shows the important nutritional value of the edible bird's nest. The reported bioactivities and nutritional value of the edible bird's nest include the potential for mitogenic response, epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like activity, anti-influenza virus, hemagglutination-inhibitory activity, lectin-binding activity, improvement of bone strength and dermal thickness, and hormone content etc. In the future, more scientific work should be done to fully elucidate the biological and medicinal functions of the edible bird's nest. The relationships of components and functions of the nest should be studied more. Bioactive components need to be isolated and purified to make full use of the edible bird's nest.