Effect of aqueous extract of several herbs on human platelet aggregation in vitro was investigated. Out of 28 herbs/nutriceuticals investigated, camomile, nettle alfalfa, garlic and onion exhibited most significant anti-platelet activity (>or=45% inhibition). Aqueous extracts of alfalfa, fresh nettle, and camomile inhibited ADP induced-platelet aggregation by 73, 65 and 60%, respectively, compared with control (P < 0.05). Camomile and alfalfa inhibited collagen-induced platelet aggregation by 84 and 65%, respectively, but nettle could not inhibit collagen-induced aggregation. In contrast, nettle was the most potent inhibitor (66%) of whole blood aggregation induced by collagen, followed by alfalfa (52%), and camomile (30%) compared with control (P < 0.05). None of these three herbs however could inhibit arachidonic acid or thrombin induced platelet aggregation. Camomile and alfalfa strongly inhibited thromboxane B2 synthesis induced by ADP or collagen, but nettle had no effect. Alfalfa and nettle increased cGMP levels in platelets by 50 and 35%, respectively, compared with the control (1.85 +/- 0.23 nM) (P < 0.005). All these data indicate that camomile, nettle and alfalfa have potent anti-platelet properties, and their inhibitory actions are mediated via different mechanisms.