Natural products or secondary metabolites, whether from the microbial, plant or marine worlds, represent the results of evolutionary pressures to preserve and enhance the life of their producing organism. They have evolved into structurally and usually stereochemically complex compounds with specific bioactivities. They thus represent a diverse 'combinatorial library' that may have potential pharmaceutical use. In principle, the combination of this diverse library with the methods of combinatorial chemistry could lead to an unlimited supply of diverse and complex structures, and is recommended as a fruitful approach for future drug development. Examples of the application of combinatorial methods to nature's combinatorial library will be presented and discussed, with an emphasis on the antitumor, anti-infective and pain control disease areas.