Traditional Chinese herbal medicine (TCHM) has been widely used in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) in China. The systematic analysis of clinical research of TCHM against CHB revealed its potential but not confirmed its therapeutic effect. To understand the detailed antiviral effect of TCHM against HBV infection, we systematically analysed the anti-HBV effect of individual Chinese herbs on the basis of the research on individual TCHM in vitro and in vivo, which were published from 1995 to 2012. Among 171 herbal components isolated from 76 Chinese herbs, we found 13 compounds and 9 extracts isolated from 18 Chinese herbs showing strong inhibitory effect on HBV DNA, HBeAg or HBsAg release with low cytotoxicity in HepG2.2.15 cells, and agents from 12 Chinese herbs showing the highest inhibition rates of plasma DHBV DNA of more than 50% in DHBV-infected ducks. In addition, the two compounds chrysophanol 8-O-beta-D-glucoside isolated from Rheum palmatum and wogonin isolated from Scutellaria baicalensis were found to display strong anti-HBV activity. Interestingly, compounds isolated from 5 of these effective anti-HBV Chinese herbs were found to show strong antibacterial or antifungal activity also. This review summarizes and analyses the studies on the anti-HBV effect of individual TCHM in cell and animal models, providing potential perspective in the understanding of TCHM in the treatment of hepatitis B and the development of new anti-HBV drugs from TCHM.