BACKGROUND : Acute pancreatitis (AP) is an inflammatory disorder of the pancreas that can lead to local and systemic complications. Repeated attacks of AP can lead to chronic pancreatitis, which markedly increases the probability of developing pancreatic cancer. Although many researchers have attempted to identify the pathogenesis involved in the initiation and aggravation of AP, the disease is still not fully understood, and effective treatment is limited to supportive therapy. METHODS : We aim to summarize available literature focused on phytochemicals (berberine, chlorogenic acid, curcumin, emblica officinalis, ellagic acid, cinnamtannin B-1, resveratrol, piperine and lycopene) and discuss their effectiveness and therapeutic value for improving AP. RESULTS : This study is based on pertinent papers that were retrieved by a selective search using relevant keywords in PubMed and ScienceDirect databases. CONCLUSIONS : Many phytochemicals hold potential in improving AP symptoms and may be a valuable and effective addition to standard treatment of AP. It has already been proven that the crucial factor for reducing the severity of AP is stimulation of apoptosis along with/or inhibition of necrosis. Supplementation of phytochemicals, which target the balance between apoptosis and necrosis can be recommended in ongoing clinical studies.