Natural products have evolved to encompass a broad spectrum of chemical and functional diversity. It is this diversity, along with their structural complexity, that enables nature's small molecules to target a nearly limitless number of biological macromolecules and to often do so in a highly selective fashion. Because of these characteristics, natural products have seen great success as therapeutic agents. However, this vast pool of compounds holds much promise beyond the development of future drugs. These features also make them ideal tools for the study of biological systems. Recent examples of the use of natural products and their derivatives as chemical probes to explore biological phenomena and assemble biochemical pathways are presented here.