Osmanthus fragrans (Thunb.) Lour. has been cultivated in China for over 2500 years. Due to the unique and strong fragrance, O. fragrans flowers have long been added into food, tea, and beverages. Not only the O. fragrans flowers, but also leaves, barks, roots, and fruits possess some beneficial effects such as relieving pain and alleviating cough in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Modern pharmacological researches demonstrated that O. fragrans possesses a broad spectrum of biological activities including antioxidant, neuroprotective, antidiabetic and anticancer activities etc.. A large number of phytochemicals identified in O. fragrans are responsible for its health promoting and disease preventing effects. The components of volatile compounds in O. fragrans are complex but the content is less abundant. The present review mainly focuses on the bioactive ingredients identified from O. fragrans, the therapeutic effects of O. fragrans and its applications in food, cosmetics and medicines.