Many plants contain ribosome inactivating proteins (RIPs) with N-glycosidase activity, which depurinate large ribosomal RNA and arrest protein synthesis. RIPs so far tested inhibit replication of mRNA as well as DNA viruses and these proteins, isolated from plants, are found to be effective against a broad range of viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV). Most of the research work related to RIPs has been focused on antiviral activity against HIV; however, the exact mechanism of antiviral activity is still not clear. The mechanism of antiviral activity was thought to follow inactivation of the host cell ribosome, leading to inhibition of viral protein translation and host cell death. Enzymatic activity of RIPs is not limited to depurination of the large rRNA, in addition they can depurinate viral DNA as well as RNA. Recently, Phase I/II clinical trials have demonstrated the potential use of RIPs for treating patients with HIV disease. The aim of this review is to focus on various RIPs from plants associated with anti-HIV activity.