This paper deals with the topic of herbicides and their various aspects with the support of current research. An introductory chapter discusses the rationale for the choice of the subject and the accompanying need for scientific objectivity. After providing definitions and a short historical background, the different classifications of herbicides and their appropriate use are described. A special emphasis is placed on the various characteristics of herbicides. The next section discusses the sites of action, the uptake and transport of herbicides within plants as well as their modes of action on a molecular level. Furthermore, a comparison between selectively and non-selectively acting herbicides is made, and examples of the respective chemical classes are given. Advantages and disadvantages of the various modes of action are then presented. In the practical part of the paper, the use of herbicides in agriculture along with related aspects needed to be considered for their appropriate use are described. Furthermore, an examination of the very current and important topic of weed resistance against a number of herbicides is presented. Particular attention is paid to the environmental behaviour of herbicides, whereby general herbicide degradation processes are reviewed. Their special effects on surrounding elements such as water, soil and air are shown. In addition, side effects on non-target organisms which play a significant role in regard to current polemics are then demonstrated. A special section describes the herbicide glyphosate in terms of its properties, implementation, effects and side effects on the environment. The concluding chapter provides future-oriented steps for a sustainable herbicide management taking into consideration both the positive and negative properties of herbicides.