In recent decades, the polysaccharides from the medicinal plants have attracted a lot of attention due to their significant bioactivities, such as anti-tumor activity, antioxidant activity, anticoagulant activity, antidiabetic activity, radioprotection effect, anti-viral activity, hypolipidemic and immunomodulatory activities, which make them suitable for medicinal applications. Previous studies have also shown that medicinal plant polysaccharides are non-toxic and show no side effects. Based on these encouraging observations, most researches have been focusing on the isolation and identification of polysaccharides, as well as their bioactivities. A large number of bioactive polysaccharides with different structural features and biological effects from medicinal plants have been purified and characterized. This review provides a comprehensive summary of the most recent developments in physiochemical, structural features and biological activities of bioactive polysaccharides from a number of important medicinal plants, such as polysaccharides from Astragalus membranaceus, Dendrobium plants, Bupleurum, Cactus fruits, Acanthopanax senticosus, Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels, Aloe barbadensis Miller, and Dimocarpus longan Lour. Moreover, the paper has also been focused on the applications of bioactive polysaccharides for medicinal applications. Recent studies have provided evidence that polysaccharides from medicinal plants can play a vital role in bioactivities. The contents and data will serve as a useful reference material for further investigation, production, and application of these polysaccharides in functional foods and therapeutic agents.