Commelinaceae is a family of flowering plants. It is one of five families in the order Commelinales and by far the largest of these with about 731 known species in 41 genera. Tradescantia is a genus of herbaceous and perennial plants belonging to the Commelinaceae family. More than 80 species within the genus have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. Phytochemical compounds (from various species of the genus) such as coumarins, alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, phenolics, tannins, steroids and terpenoids have recently been characterized and described with antioxidant, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, anticancer or antimicrobial properties.